It’s good to read about Jesus. It’s time well spent to look at the gospel stories and pay attention to what the Savior did and said during His days on earth.
I am especially stirred right now by some things that we read in chapters 10 and 11 of Matthew. Jesus selected His Apostles. He chose out 12 men and gave them power to stand against dirty spirits, to cast them out, and to heal people (see Matthew 10:1).
These are remarkable abilities given to men whose only qualification was that they knew Jesus. Soon they would be sent to demonstrate these things in towns throughout the region. They would return home with marvelous stories of how God worked through them.
Jesus cautioned His men not to get too hung up on these displays of power, however. Those works were definitely exciting. People were blessed for sure, and the devil and his collaborators were put in their places. What’s not to like about stuff like this?
But there was something far greater about these men, Jesus insisted. The greatest joy of all, Jesus told them, is to know that your “names are written in Heaven” (see Luke 10:20).
This reality is the key to everything about us and about the mission of Jesus. We must learn to rest in this fact: God has called us by name. He has chosen us in the same way that He chose the Apostles.
We answer His call and so we become people under authority and with authority, His authority. We are sent out in the power of His Name. His authority goes before us wherever we go – at the workplace, in the grocery, at the gas station.
Those who receive us receive Him. We speak in the Spirit of the Father, as prophets and preachers submitted to the Great Prophet and Preacher. We answer an atmosphere set against us with words from the throne of God. We live and tell the truth – that’s all that’s expected of us. Such truth shall be rejected by some, and that rejection may be hurtful to us at times.
Still, we must remember that we are what He says we are: “little ones” and “babes.” Our faith is like that of children and by this we are Kingdom citizens. We are righteous people serving the Righteous One. Those who respond to our words and works are blessed by Him. Those who refresh us with so much as a cup of cool water are rewarded; for in helping us they recognize the presence of the Lord who is with us, living inside of us.Heaven’s aware of everything about us as He is aware of all things. Not a sparrow falls to the ground outside of the knowledge of the Lord. Every hair upon our heads is inventoried. Even this minute detail is divinely documented. Click To Tweet
Jesus said these things. He also said that Heaven’s aware of everything about us as He is aware of all things. Not a sparrow falls to the ground outside of the knowledge of the Lord. Every hair upon our heads is inventoried. Even this minute detail is divinely documented.
Is this the way that we see God? If it isn’t, we need to ask Him to enlarge our faith. And this is a very good prayer to pray. It’s a prayer the disciples themselves prayed. They asked Him for this when He told them about the character of forgiveness.
“Take heed to yourselves: If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to you, saying, I repent; you shall forgive him. And the Apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:3-5).
When my faith feels feeble, there are some things I can do. I can listen more to the Word of God for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word (see Romans 10:17). I can take out the Bible and open to the book of Psalms and start reading out loud. This always helps me. I notice that speaking the words from the pages can chase away any weirdness I may sense around me. I can purpose to get together with other believers when I am able. I can talk to Him as if He is sitting in the chair across the table from me.
Seeds of Life
Be careful and please understand that God never despises small things. Just a crumb from the Master’s table does wonders. Just a touch of the hem of His garment does something.
The disciples in Luke 17 imagined bigger faith to be better faith. Jesus corrected them and said faith is not a matter of size. Instead, it is a matter of life.
A mustard seed is as a grain of sand, but there’s something inside of it, Jesus said. That seed gets planted and it rests under the soil. It gets touched by moisture from the showers and the dew. It feels the warmth of the sun through the ground above it. And then comes a taproot reaching down and shoot pushing upward. In time, we see the miracle of Creation in the sight of the blossom.
Like the lilies that Jesus described, the mustard plant does not toil or spin to become what it is meant to become. It is clothed with its own glory, the glory given from God.
The substance of our faith is not found in what we do. Rather, it is our rest in Him who lived and died and was resurrected; it is our rest in the One who now sits ascended above, the One who is our Advocate and Defender and Intercessor.
We are chosen, named, and numbered as His peculiar people, born again into a living hope, drawn into His marvelous light, according to 1 Peter 2:9. This fact is amplified for us in Psalm 87, a song about the glorious, holy city of Zion.
“And of Zion it shall be said, This one and that one were born in her; for the Most High himself will establish her. The Lord records as he registers the peoples, This one was born there” (Psalm 87:5-6).
The earlier verses of Psalm 87 tell us that city’s citizens will include Egyptians, Babylonians, Philistines, Tyrians, and Ethiopians. All these nations were, at one time or another, enemies of the people of Israel. But in this passage God says that even among those peoples are ones named with His Name and written down as belonging to Him.
Rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.