I once read this:
Pride is like bad breath–when you have it no one will tell you that you have it; they just stop coming around and they stop listening.
Is pride hindering you from listening and obeying the word of God?
The opposite of pride is humility. Such a heart doesn’t have to announce its presence; a heart of humility just is, and just does whatever God asks because it pleases Him more than self.
Many times God wants us to break through to new places in His kingdom, but our pride hinders us from hearing the simple commands of His voice through His Word.
Often, we are waiting on God to give us some difficult assignment or some impossible task to prove our worth. But all God wants is our obedient response to His voice of invitation.
What is God asking you to do for Him?
Maybe God has been asking you to give Him 30 minutes of your day. Perhaps He wants you to honor Him with 10% of your resources. Or maybe it is to forgive a family member or a friend from whom you have been estranged. None of these are difficult challenges for God, but how often does our pride keep us from hearing them?
By putting away your pride, you can develop a heart of humility that is quick to respond to Jesus and His commands.
Unfortunately, the Jewish religious leaders in Matthew 28 did not have hearts of humility and never took the time to investigate the guards’ claims. They thus chose to believe a lie over the truth.
But we can take heart that this was not the end of the story It was next the 11 disciples who not only believed but acted upon the truth of Jesus’s resurrection.
While the Roman guards met with the Jewish leaders, the others, this small band of women and the disciples, did everything the angel told them to do. The 11 disciples were obedient and went to Galilee as they had been instructed by God to do.
Verse 17 tells us that when they saw Him they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
Jesus eased their doubt by revealing himself to them in the way that overcame their doubts and fears. How sweet of the Lord to meet Mary Magdalene in the garden and call her by name.
And what about the 500 others He appeared to all at one time? What about those He allowed to touch Him and feel His wounds? And Peter and John who ran to the tomb when they heard the words of Mary Magdalene?
John tells us in his gospel that he and Peter ran for the tomb when they heard the good news. It appears that John outran Peter and reached the tomb first, but when John arrived he remained outside looking in. It was Peter, who arrived after John, who entered right in.
After Peter went in, John followed. They found the strips of linen lying there, not as if the body had been taken or stolen, but rather as if the body had just been lifted out of the cloth. And they also saw the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’s head. It was folded up by itself, separate from the other pieces.
It was when John saw this that he finally believed.
What was so important about the head dressing? Why would this cause an unbeliever to believe?
It was this that convinced John:
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew traditions of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the master and servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant waited, just out of sight, until the master finished eating.
The servant would not dare touch that table until the master was finished. When the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard. Then he would wad up the napkin and toss it onto the table, signaling to the servant that his master was done. And then the servant would appear and clear off the table.
But if the master got up from the table and folded his napkin and laid it down beside his plate, the servant would know to leave things as they were, for the master would be returning soon. The folded napkin was the signal to the servant that the master was not done and that he would be back.
John recognized Jesus’s signal! He had indeed risen and was coming back, just as He said He would!
What joy these men and women found as they were confronted by their living resurrected Lord!
And as these men gathered together in Galilee with Jesus, He then commissioned them by telling them that though He would not physically be with them, the power of His resurrection would be.
Because of this they were to go out into all the world, to all people, and tell them the good news of the gospel, teaching and training and baptizing people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He then left them with a promise to be with them always, to the very end of the age!
And each one did as the Lord commanded and became fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. They sacrificed their lives for the cause of Christ in the world.
You and I are the great benefactors of their faithfulness!
His command continues to go out to ALL believers. We are not only to receive the good news of Jesus Christ for ourselves, we are also commanded to go into all the world, to all people, and declare these truths so that others might also be saved.
This leads us to the last principle of this study.
Jesus calls and equips His people to live for Him and to proclaim the good news of the gospel.
Each one of us has a responsibility to God first and then to others to share the good news that we have received and live our lives in that truth.
This is indeed the most important calling in the world! What a privilege we have!
How will you speak and act for Jesus not only this week but throughout the year? Who do you know that needs to hear Jesus conquered death and calls His people to new life?
Who will you disciple for Christ? A disciple is simply one who follows Jesus and His teachings and imparts this to others. Will you ask God to show you who He is calling you to disciple?
Remember that God is faithful to equip you with all you need as you answer His call and fulfill His command.
And like Jesus told His disciples, God is with us always, until the end of the age!