Jesus said in Matthew 26:53-54, "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
As Jesus hung on the cross, it was not just an earthly audience of Romans, Jews, enemies, friends, and family who were watching. The demons were dancing and the angles were standing poised and ready for any order to go and help their creator and God in His time of need.
Nails didn’t hold Jesus to that cross. No sir. No Ma'am. It was love for us that held Jesus on that cross. He had the power to save himself, or the power to save us all, and he exercised his power to pay the ultimate price for sin so that we could come back to relationship with God.
We are so imprisoned in the physical realm that we don’t think of the spiritual realities happening at the same time. We picture the soldiers and weeping mourners, but the angels must have been as horrified and shocked as any human. To see the Emmanuel God beaten and dying must have been unimaginable to them, even if God had clued them in on His amazing plan of redemption.
The disciples are conspicuously absent at the scene of the cross. Peter has gone so far as to deny he even knew Jesus.
After the resurrection, Jesus shows himself to his disciples and tells them to go into the whole world with the news of God’s love and willingness to remove all their sins.
The disciples are sitting and discussing the theological implications of the reports of Jesus appearing and then Jesus himself shows up and the discussion is over. It’s that way in our lives as well. We argue in our hearts about who Jesus is and what he means to us, but when he shows up in our lives the discussion is over. When we encounter the risen Christ our perspective changes. Opinions are swallowed up in the presence of the living and risen savior.
I’ll tell you what this means to me. Have any of you really failed God? I mean really failed. Totally blown it? I know I have.
Jesus looks at those men who have totally blown it. Absolutely failed in almost every way and says one final thing: go preach the Word to the ends of the world. Wow. He’s telling them that they are not garbage to be thrown out, but that he still values them, believes in them, and wants to use them.
Second chances to redeem ourselves are rare in this unforgiving world, but our God is a God of second chances. Jesus gave them a second chance and sent them out to change the world. And that is what they did.
33% of our world calls themselves Christians. That is more than the followers of Buddha, Confucius, the Dali Lama, Hinduism, Scientology, Spiritism, Wicca, nature worship, Bahá'í, Judaism, Sikhism, and all the tribal religions of Asia and Africa all combined.
Those 11 men and all the others who had been forever changed by their experiences with Jesus have changed the face of world history in an unprecedented way. Those faithless bumblers, when given a second chance and empowered by God, stood back up and changed the world.
You may feel like you are too far gone. You may feel like a waste of a life. But you are not any worse than those disciples. With a second chance and God’s empowerment, you too can change the future.