If you have ever had a sense of failure in serving the Lord, or know someone who is struggling with that right now, here’s a quick note of encouragement based on a hidden gem of Bible geography in Acts chapter 1.
After His resurrection and just before His ascension, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to His disciples and commissions them to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. Here’s the hidden gem: This happens on The Mount of Olives. (Act 1:8)
The Mount of Olives – why does Luke bother to tell us about the geography? Why does the location matter?
I had always passed over that detail. But recently as I read Acts, I paid attention and looked back in the gospels. It turns out the last time the disciples were with Jesus on the Mount of Olives, they not only failed to bear witness, they abandoned Him and fled. (Mark 14:26,50)
Standing there with Jesus in the place of their greatest failure, less than two months later, they would have vividly remembered the soldiers, the torches, and the terror. It would surely have stirred up feelings of shame at their cowardly betrayal of the Lord.
In our culture, we have the saying, “If you fall off the horse, get right back on.” But what if you murdered the horse? What’s the saying for those people?
Jesus reinstates the disciples into ministry as their feet are standing on the place where they proved their unworthiness. The message is unmistakable. The past is forgiven. Forgetting what is behind, they can now strive for what lies ahead, this time in His strength instead of their own.
There is so much grace in the geography of this story.
Have you noticed that restoring failures to useful service is a pattern with the Lord?
· Moses (a failed deliverer, sent by God to deliver His people)
· Abraham (produced an heir by human effort, later given an heir by the power of God)
· Isaiah (a man of unclean lips, made fit to speak and write the very words of God)
· Jonah (a rebel who refused the call of God on his life, restored to useful service)
· Peter (a cowardly denier of Christ, preached to thousands on the day of Pentecost)
· Paul (a zealous enemy of the Christian church, became its primary champion)
God resurrects not just people, but their usefulness to Him.
Is the Lord prompting you to accept His forgiveness and His restoration to the area of service you failed in?
The story is the Lord’s to write.
Is He writing you another chance?