Does your heart crave the joy that filled the hearts of the early apostles?
Yes! We are not satisfied with a dull, unenthusiastic, leaden kind of spiritual experience, common as it may be. What did the apostles have that we don't seem to have?
They saw the significance of the cross of Christ! Yes, they also believed the resurrection of Christ; but the resurrection meant nothing without appreciating what He had accomplished by His cross.
Billions of Christians around the world all glibly profess that "Christ died for our sins." But how and why did He die?
To study for the answer is not an exercise in futility or riding a hobby horse. Paul says, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14); and he told the Corinthians that he knew nothing, save Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:1-3). The light which will yet lighten the earth with its glory will be a revelation of the significance of that love revealed at the cross. Something about the cross will yet stir Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, yes those billions of lukewarm Christians.
Did Christ die (1) only as an alien millionaire stepping in briefly to pay our legal debt? The word used to describe this view is "vicarious." It's like someone who might offer to spend someone's time in jail or pay his fine--so he could go free instead. Or (2) did Christ actually become one of us, the second Adam, and die as us? How closely did He identify with us? #(1) is an exchanged transaction; #(2) is a shared experience. #(1) leaves the human heart cold, or at best, lukewarm; #(2) lights the soul with unending joy. According to their testimony in the New Testament, the apostles clearly were fired with #(2).
If you want that kind of joy, know nothing but Christ and Him crucified; then His resurrection will mean new life for you in Him.
Be sure to check your e-mail for "Dial Daily Bread" again tomorrow.