February 3, 2017
I've Fallen, but I CAN Get Up!
By Skip Heitzig
There was a TV commercial some years back about an elderly woman who had fallen in her kitchen. As she lay there, she pressed her little medical alert pendant, and you probably remember what she said: "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" The dispatcher on the other end of the line then assured her that somebody was on the way and that she indeed would get up.
Well, right before the crucifixion of Jesus, His disciples were in for a fall: their faith was about to be shaken to the core. But it would not be a permanent fall. They would get up again, and not only that, but they would overcome the world—and as believers in Christ, we can, too.
Let's look at John 16:29-33: "His disciples said to Him, '…By this we believe that You came forth from God.' Jesus answered them, 'Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'" Let's look at three principles in this text about human failure and divine restoration.
The first principle is that our faith is unreliable. In verse 29, the disciples assured Jesus that they believed in Him: "We believe that You came forth from God." But that strong assertion of faith was faulty, because it was attached to an unrealistic expectation: they believed that Jesus was going to immediately set up His messianic kingdom, not go to the cross and die. They meant well, but their faith was weak and unreliable. Let's apply that to ourselves: You might say you believe in God and know certain theological truths, but do you believe all of His promises? Or do you twist them into something He didn't really say and create unrealistic expectations?
Here's the second principle: our failure is understandable. Jesus said in verse 32, "Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone." The disciples were about to become utterly confused; within hours, Jesus would be arrested, and they would scatter like scared little sheep.
Can you relate to them? Maybe at one time in your life, a pebble struck the window through which you viewed God, and your entire view was fractured. You once could see so clearly, but not anymore. If you're weathering this kind of faith-shaking storm, hold fast and hold on; eventually it clears up at the other end, like the morning that comes after a night of rain. And don't be tempted to run away from God's people like these guys did. Instead, run to the company of those who can help hold up your faith.
Jesus knew His disciples would fail Him, but He promised their recovery and their peace. This leads to the third principle: our future is unmistakable. Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (v. 33). This is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. Jesus still had to go to the cross and conquer sin and bring peace spiritually, but He spoke as if it was already done. In other words, He was saying, "I guarantee it; it's as good as done," which is true; all the spiritual attacks that believers experience today are just the desperate death throes of an Enemy who has already been defeated.
The disciples would experience tribulation in the world around them, but not inside of them, because they were in Christ. Are you in Christ today? You can be in a church, a denomination, or a theological belief system and still not be in Christ. So make sure you're in Christ. And remember, we all fall, but we can all get back up, and we can all find peace and victory in Jesus Christ.
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