“God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” Acts 2:36
Mary Mitchell Slessor (2 December 1848 – 13 January 1915) was a Scottish missionary to Nigeria. A simple sentence without emotion; factual and brief. Her actual story is filled with powerful examples of trials and tribulations of a small (5’ tall) woman overcome with desire to spread the gospel in Nigeria, Africa at a time when women did not do such things alone. This red-haired Scottish woman faced down fierce tribal chiefs, witch doctors and others to show the love of Christ through teaching the Gospel while living in primitive huts.
Mary quickly learned the local language and spent her life showing Jesus to Africans who had never seen an outsider before. She risked her life daily, rescued and raised rejected children scheduled to be killed while trudging through the jungles to share God’s love.
Mary also fell victim to the ravages of malaria more than once and had to return to Scotland for recovery. She gave up convenience, comfort and congeniality to serve God according to His plan for her life in a remote and dangerous land.
As for her rewards, she had but one question: “What would I do with starry crowns except to cast them at His feet?”
Jesus was so very real to Mary Slessor. Her Lord and Savior was the beacon whose light shined on a path He carved out for her; a path she determined to follow until her final breath.
Compare the sacrificial life of Mary Slessor to those of wealthy, influential, powerful megachurch pastors in America. Men who command six and seven figure salaries, immense wealth from book royalties and exert mind control over many thousands through sermons, devotionals, and conferences around the world,
Currently, Mark Driscoll, the senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle is waging a battle to maintain his position in that church. Driscoll began with a sincere desire to spread the Gospel, change lives and heal the broken and wounded people who may hear and read his messages.
Time, comfort, fame, loads of money and thousands of followers have tarnished Driscoll’s legacy and brought him to a place of regret and shamefulness. The megachurch is crumbling, the flock has been fleeced and God’s Word has been trampled. Is Jesus real to Mark? Or has his desire to feed from the trough of fame and fortune skewed his vision and replaced his love of Christ with personal satisfaction. Satan is smiling as Mars Hill Church falls into ruin.
Acts 2:32-36 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”’
“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
Colossians 1:13-23 He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven.
Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things. For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven.
At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel. It is of this gospel that I, Paul, became a servant—this gospel which has been preached to everybody in the world.
Is Jesus real to us or a fascinating person, Son of God and Savior who lives in my mind? Have I given Him free reign over my life? Am I willing to follow whatever path He chooses for me?