Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Rhema, and Being Cut to the Heart

Since my last update was probably a bit of a downer, I wanted to let you all know that I am on the mend spiritually. I have a thirst for God's Word again--I am excited to sit down with it every day. I feel like a disciple, a learner, again, thanks to Him.

Rhema is a Greek word meaning "that which is or has been uttered by the living voice." Perhaps it's my background talking, but when I think of rhema I think of what a commenter mentioned at Kim's:

God'll grab ya by the throat just when you think you're only looking up how something was said.

Indeed! I'll be reading something I've read many times, and WHAM!, God shows me something I hadn't thought of before, or convicts my heart, or touches me deeply. That is one of the most awesome experiential things about reading the Bible.

Something like that occurred the other day while I was reading Acts 2:

Acts 2:22-36
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know--this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,

"'I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'

Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

"'The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.'

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

It hit me as I read that, really hit me, how it must have felt for those Jews to hear that Messiah, the One everyone had been waiting and looking for, had been put to death. What despair they must have felt at that moment! What would God do to them, they might have wondered, if they killed the very Messiah He had promised them? How could this situation be redeemed?

Acts 2:37
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

And then the amazing, amazing part. I am without words to describe such a God:

Acts 2:38-41
And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

No wonder there were so many who repented that day! I am so thankful to worship a God who would not only NOT REJECT the people He had chosen after they killed His Son, but would redeem them and give them a gift of unquantifiable value.