5/16/2018 9:09:09 AM
P James Wilcox
Christ Helps us Help a Hurting World
The Christian church, and the Lutheran church in particular, has a custom called "confirmation." Perhaps you remember the day of your confirmation: whether you were confirmed as a youngster or as an adult, I hope it was a happy day. And it should be because confirmation is a celebration of God’s word. He brought you to faith. He keeps you in the faith. And he will bring you to himself in heaven.
So now what? Sometimes confirmation can seem like such a big deal that we put all this emphasis on it without thinking about the day after confirmation, or the life after confirmation.
Confirmation means strengthening—strengthening for a life of showing your faith. Because whether you are aware of it or not, there is a world out there that hurts. It hurts because it’s lost in sin. And you and I, who have been confirmed or who will be confirmed, have the answer for that world.
The problem is sharing that answer with the world is painful. There was a Christian man named Stephen. And he shared the message of Jesus with a hurting world. And what did the world do to him? It murdered him. Jesus once said to his disciples, "The world hated me and it's going to hate you, too." And Stephen was an example of that. You might look at his story and think, “What a painful thing to go through, what a terrible experience!” But in the midst of all the bad things that happened to him, Christ was right there to strengthen him.
Acts 7:54-58, "When they heard these things, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at [Stephen]. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed up into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He said, 'Look, I see heaven opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' But they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and rushed at him with one purpose in mind. They threw him out of the city and stoned him."
At the moment of their greatest anger against Stephen, Christ knew what Stephen needed. And Christ knows that we need his help if we’re going to be any help in this world. Jesus helps us help a hurting world.
You know what the last thing Stephen did before he died was? He prayed for those who were murdering him. Christ had kept his promise to him, and he will keep his promise to you.