The Church: Remarkable People
Acts 4:13 "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Luke 1: 38 “I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."
What a difference Jesus makes in the life of ordinary men and women. Mary, an ordinary Jewish girl, who, because of her love, devotion and obedience to God the Father, gave birth to the very Son of God. What a remarkable event and what an extraordinary person is Mary, the mother of Jesus. To this day, we revere her faithful obedience and servant heart. She obeyed and trusted God.
Several years ago, I was having lunch with a pastor from Australia. He was new to this church and he preached the gospel with great conviction. He told me a remarkable story of a lady in the church named Mary. One Sunday, Mary called him for an appointment. She explained how after being in this church a long time, she finally understood the message of salvation and had received Jesus as her Saviour and Lord. Mary went on to say that the Lord had clearly called her to be a missionary to China. The pastor’s heart fell. He said to her, "Mary, it is wonderful that you love Jesus, but you can't go to China. You are eighty years old and the doctors have diagnosed you with terminal cancer." Later, upon reflection, he said to her, "Mary, if God has called you to Himself and to China let's wait to see what He will do."
Several months later, this pastor conducted Mary's funeral. To his surprise, two front rows on the right side of the church were filled with young Chinese people. After the service, he spoke with them inquiring about their connection to Mary. The spokesman said that they were international university students from mainland China. This was his story: Each day he would stop to look at the roses that cascaded over the wall of Mary's house. One day, Mary came to the gate and spoke with him. Embarrassed and fearful, he apologized, explaining that the roses reminded him of his mother's house in China and that he missed her so much. Mary invited him in for tea and a talk. Mary shared her story of coming to know Jesus and the new life she now had. She invited him to visit whenever he wished and told him to bring his friends. The result was that many young Chinese intellectuals came to know the Lord. Imagine the impact they had when they returned home to China.
Do you see the common theme? Throughout the book of Acts, in the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus and through this amazing testimony of Mary who had a heart for the Chinese people ... we see ordinary people, filled and empowered by God’s Spirit, who became remarkable people and accomplished great things for His Kingdom.
May God bless you this Christmas Season,