Jesus in 2017: Resolution to Revolution

Happy New Year!

Look forward—that’s the general theme of January. Many of us make resolutions we can’t keep, promising to be more forgiving, and/or throwing out old habits and junk. I quit making resolutions a few years back. Why? Because I never kept them.

The most profound resolution I’ve ever made was over three decades ago. I resolved to try and be the hands, feet, eyes, the very spirit of Jesus on earth. Oh, yes, I’ve failed miserably. But I’ll keep trying.

Why? Because I’m hooked, fascinated, Holy-Ghost filled. Because the premise seems too good to be true: Some two-thousand years ago, Christ incarnate walked the earth as an ordinary man named Jesus. Sent by a holy God, His own Father, who wanted to redeem us, His creation, from sin and death!

The Bible tells us that nothing about Jesus’ appearance was outstanding. He was only thirty years old when He started His ministry, a carpenter prior to that. Probably strong from walking and from his trade. His face was likely ruddy, his hands rough. No one would have pointed to him and said, “Oh look, the Son of God!” Even his name was ordinary for the time.

Today it’s this very ordinariness that makes many people take notice. Because how could someone so nondescript, so common, become the most influential, most celebrated man to ever live. If I were to argue for Christ, I wouldn’t point to his miracles, His amazing sermons and parables, or even His love. No. I would just say, “How could such an ordinary person change the world in such an extraordinary way unless He was who He said He was—the Son of God.” And close behind, how could twelve men, His disciples, mostly laborers, common and uneducated, take the gospel to the world? Further, why were these men willing to be martyred for him?

And if that ancient truth isn’t enough, two-thousand years later, lives are still being transformed because of the Gospel of Christ. Peace, joy, and love transform hearts and minds. A spiritual dimension once unknown opens eyes to the goodness, the mercy, the love, the very person of God. You see your “neighbors” in a new and enlightened way. Supernatural experiences become a reality. Even dying isn’t an issue.

Witness the twenty-one Christian Egyptian martyrs beheaded by the madmen of ISIS. Not one of them renounced Christ. Why? I mean, really. . . Why? They could’ve lied. Thinking about it, I wonder if I might’ve considered lying. There’s a lot of pre-Pentecost Peter in me and I fear I might’ve denied Him, might’ve said, “Okay, I’ll convert to Islam.” And then after the flogging for indecent dress, after the burka and the baptism from hell, I would’ve tried to hold Jesus in my heart as they scrutinized my every whisper. But, not these young, brave men.

I will never forget their images: twenty-one orange-clad heroic souls, their faces calm, some praying, their hooded, cowardly captors dressed in black, leading them as though they were dogs on a short leash. I wish I’d turned away.

How I prayed for their families, and hold that thought . . . how I prayed for their murderers. No, I didn’t pray they would be blessed. I prayed God would reveal Himself to them. (Which actually is a blessing) That He would convict them and they would see themselves the way God sees them. That the Almighty Creator would allow them a glimpse into the hearts of these decent Christ followers and it would haunt their nights and change their own hearts.

So, why did these martyred Christians not convert to Islam? Because the resolution they made to serve Christ is part of the revolution that Jesus began. People in Islamic countries know the risks, but even at the point of death, they know the benefits are greater. They/We are part of a bigger plan.

We, as Americans, must especially develop a determination, a resolve to be more like brave Christians around the world who stand up to ISIS, other terrorists, and hostile-to-Christian governments. More like those who work tirelessly to spread the Gospel of Christ, to feed the hungry, the thirsty, the poor. Even more like those who pray for those in ministry and in turmoil, and those who are especially forgiving, thoughtful, kind, and generous.

And my resolution, coupled with yours and others becomes the revolution that will eventually change the world and restore Christ to His throne. We don’t all have to die for Christ, but we should all live for Christ.

So as you make your New Year’s resolution, I hope you’ll remember God’s love, His Grace, and His promise: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Think about what this promise must mean to Christian martyrs, now at an all-time high, around the world. Think about what it meant to those rag-tag disciples of old who followed in the footsteps of Christ, eleven of them martyred.

Most of all, remember the one Man, Jesus, who left a throne in the kingdom of heaven to walk the dusty earth in cloth and sandals, unshaven, unkempt, and at the end, unloved. He died brutally for you and for me and we owe Him everything. Like those disciples who’ve gone before us, let us resolve to be part of the revolution, to spread the Good News of Christ’s coming and of His return.

In January 2017, and always, that’s a resolution worth making. Worth living for. And many think, worth dying for.



12 Responses to " Jesus in 2017: Resolution to Revolution "

  1. I love this! I have always thought of the ordinary lives of the 12 men who followed Christ. When I was working daily on my Lydia story, I read how each of them – except John – died. They were burnt, beheaded, skinned alive, and Peter was crucified – upside down at his own request. These were ordinary men who lived extraordinary lives, and joyfully suffered and died rather than renouncing their faith. Only Matthew and Luke were professional men – probably prosperous men. Most of them were stevedores – men who worked the docks and who worked on boats – hard men given to manual labor. Thank you for reminding me that it was the very ordinary lives of Christ and the disciples that draw us to them. If those 12 men – mostly poor and uneducated would do so much for the world, what are the rest of us waiting for? Lovely way to start a new year! Thank you.

  2. Candi Riggs says:

    Thank you for sharing your faith and commitment to Christ, especially as we begin a new year. A beautiful reminder of His love for us!

  3. Cheryl Slater says:

    What a wonderful message Karyn has given us to really think about as we enter a New Year -2017! May everyone be blessed with the message Karyn has to share with us.

  4. Tina Hague says:

    Another wonderful message, Karyn! Reflecting back on my childhood, I’m so thankful I had parents who loved our Lord, and knew the importance of raising their children to come to know Him too!

  5. Carol Maynor parsley says:

    Karen you always have such a wonderful message to share.

  6. My dear Karyn…what strikes me about this beautiful piece is the ‘ordinary’ that you point out. It struck home. We all are ordinary people in so many ways. And, we can make huge differences w/our faith. Thank you for reminding me of this. Each of us has a meaning and purpose using His divine guidance…while we’re ordinary, we’re truly extraordinary as we touch and influence others. So, I will make this my continued ‘resolution’ for 2017…well, along w/each day ‘de-cluttering’ something in the house!! Love you dearly, my DR Keep inspiring, writing, and using this magnificent gift God has give you…xoxox

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