When Peter and the rest," after a fruitless night of fishing, cast the net on the other side of the boat, at the words of the stranger on the shore, they found that net soon filling with fish. There was but one explanation. “ It is the Lord” exclaimed Peter, and commenced to make himself presentable in His commanding presence. Then there followed that search ing question, “ Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Repeated twice again it drew from the heart of Peter that avowal of his love, “ Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee” , to be followed by the commission, “ Peed my. sheep.” When Saul of Tarsus, “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” was carrying his persecution to Damascus, he was confronted by One whose radiance was above the brightness of the sun. He was face to face with the Risen Christ, and the result of that encounter was expressed in Saul’s question, “ Lord [he had met his Mas ter], what wilt thou have me to do?” “ Arise, and go . . .” was the reply, and what a journey he made from that moment across the Roman world, sealing his faith and testimony with his life. The Living Christ became his Master, and he was happy to be called a servant, joyfully carrying out his Lord’s commands. Finally, Stephen, in the last moments of his earthly life, as the breath was being pounded out of him by the stones of those to whom he had witnessed, looked up, and bore this testi mony, “ Behold, I see the heavens opened, and thè Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Christ, Risen and As cended, had been exalted to the Father’s right Hand, “ far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” The Risen Christ is thus Lord and Master. He is the Com mander to whom has been given all authority “ in heaven and in earth,” and He sends forth His soldiers of the Cross to campaign across the world against Satan, sin and death. The Companion It was in His name “ I AM” that God sent forth Moses to deliver his people, promising to be with him in all sufficiency. This name, the Lord Jesus applied to Himself, “ Before Abra ham was, I AM” (John 8:58). He is the Eternal One. Death could not hold Him. So as He sends forth His apostles into all the world, He is to be with them in a fuller, greater and closer sense than in the days of His flesh. “ Lo, I am with you alway”—no longer limited to one place by His human body. The Living Christ, by the Spirit, is omnipresent—the constant companion of all those who go forth to do His bidding. One has suggested that the book of the Acts might well be called “ The Acts of the Risen Lord through the Apostles,” for Christ is present not as an onlooker, but a working part ner, to encourage, direct and strengthen. “ And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them . . .” (Mark 16:20). Even after His ascension, Jesus manifested Himself visibly for the encouragement of His servants. Such was the case with Paul at Corinth, where his testimony was met with op position and blasphemy. He was urged to remain, however, for “ Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee” (Acts 18:9). So also when he was in grave danger at the hands of the Jewish Sanhedrin, having been rescued from them by Roman soldiers; for we read, “ the night fol lowing the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11). In the book of Revelation we see John a prisoner and an exile. When about His Lord’s business, obeying the great com mission, he had been apprehended by worldly power and ban ished to the Isle of Patmos, far from kith and kin. But that island became a heaven, as in a glorious and majestic manner the Living Christ was unveiled to him, uttering those ever lasting words, “ Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more.”
The Conqueror John was arrested by the powers of the world, and became a prisoner in their hands, but to him was given that blessed revelation of the final conquest of his Lord and His Kingdom. His also was the high privilege of recording that revelation as the hope and inspiration of all those who go forth to obey the great commission. We stand then with John and hear the mighty chorus of heaven acclaiming the triumphant Lord, “ The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15 R.V.), and the mighty “ Alleluia” chorus, “ The Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (19:6). We see Him as He comes forth at the head of His conquering armies, and upon His vesture we read, “ KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (19:16). And as we survey the innumerable multitude around His throne, we note that they are from “ all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (7:9). So may the Easter season of this momentous year cause us to sense anew His presence, hear again His great commis sion, and play our part in its fulfillment, as in an unmistak able way the world scene is being rapidly prepared for His Coming and His Conquest.
H I S T O R Y ' S
G R E A T E S T
HA P P EN I NG
By Louis T. Talbot, D.D.
wm r T HE greatest single event in human history, displaying at once the most tremendous force and exerting the most powerful influence upon the entire world, was not a mighty military victory. It was not an amazing achievement of the arts. It was not an ingenious invention of man. It was not a stupendous scientific discovery—not even the development of the atom bomb of our day. Honest research into history results in but one conclusion: the world-shaking and world shaping occurrence of all time was the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ in the land of Palestine, nearly two thousand years ago. Since that time, no phase of life upon the earth in any age has been unaffected by the fact that Christ rose again. Wher ever the tidings of this event have reached, they have altered the living and thinking of “nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues.” Every “ good and perfect gift” of civilization is but a by-product of the Gospel of a living Lord. Emancipa tion from every form of tyranny, the “ four freedoms,” and all freedoms, had their origin in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The world may “little note, nor long remem ber” what He did when He offered up His life a ransom for sinners at the “ place of a skull,” and when on that first Easter morn, He shook off the shackles of death in His bor rowed tomb, but it will to the time of the end feel the effects of what He accomplished. Whether or not one believes in its reality, the resurrection of Christ is of vital consequence to every person on earth. It is the “ touchstone of destiny” for all mankind.
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