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Entry 25-03-2013: Prevailing Against All Odds
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know. Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” Acts 2: 22-24
The story of Easter is the story of ‘Prevailing against all Odds’. As a matter of fact, the entire life of Jesus is one big testimony of prevailing against all odds. If there was nothing else that Jesus came to establish through his life, his death and his resurrection, it was this: there is no such thing as an impossible situation or reaching the end of the road. There is no such thing as something that God cannot turn around. Nothing is so badly broken, that God cannot fix it. No one is so far gone that God cannot redeem or restore.
If you look at your life today, and you feel that the odds are stacked against you, and you feel you are swimming against the current of life; if you feel you are climbing uphill with a weight tied around your neck, I want you to pause for a moment and examine the Easter story with me – to take in the testimony of Jesus.
1. Looking at his birth; what were the chances that a virgin will give birth? Absolutely none, Zero. When Gabriel, the angel came to announce the birth of Jesus, he said to Mary ‘With God, nothing shall be impossible’ (Luke 1:37). In his birth, Jesus prevailed against all odds.
2. Jesus’ Childhood: In his childhood when Jesus was about two years old, King Herod ordered the execution of all male children who were in Bethlehem and its surrounding districts, in order to get to get to Jesus. What were the chances that Jesus would escape the murderous plot of Herod, considering that he had a mighty military machine behind him? The chances were very slim. But at the time of this massacre, Jesus was safe in Egypt with his parents. During his childhood, he prevailed against all odds.
3. Jesus’ ministry: What about his ministry? What were the chances that a man will work on water, feed five thousand people with a little boy’s lunch, cleanse lepers, open the eyes of the blind, and raise the dead? – next to none. Yet, Jesus did all those things in fulfilment of prophecy.
4. Prophesies about Jesus: The prophecies given about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection had been prophesized literally hundreds of years before he came. His birth – where he will be born, grow up, his betrayal, the other disciples forsaking him, the false accusations, the beatings, the mockery, the fact that he will be killed with criminals; that his clothes will be gambled for, that none of his bones will be broken, where he will die, even where he will be buried. As a matter of fact, there were 332 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. What are the mathematical probabilities that all of those prophecies will be fulfilled in the life of one man? An analysis concluded that it witll take 1 in 84 X 1097for this to happen. Every one of those prophecies were fulfilled to the detail that God described.
5. His death and resurrection: Looking at the odds that were stacked against him against him after his death? Firstly, a soldier stabbed him in the side to make double sure that he was dead (John 19:34). Secondly, two of his secret disciples came to embalm him in hundred pounds of spices, wrapping him up tightly in grave clothes. Thirdly, his body was placed in a tomb and a great stone was rolled against the tomb entrance, sealed with Pilate’s seal with guards set to watch over the tomb. Guess what? Jesus prevailed against all those odds (Acts 2:24).
He raised him to life again - and indeed there was nothing by which death could hold such a man. (JB Philips).
As Jesus prevailed against all odds, so can you. The same power that brought Jesus out from the grave resides in you (Romans 8:11).
What are the odds that are stacked against you today? I want to submit to you that you can prevail against them. The ‘mere’ fact that you were born is already proof that you can prevail against odds. The chances that your conception will happen in a specific way that it did were one in 30 million. The same resurrection that brought Jesus out of the grave, gives you the power to prevail against the odds of life – the past, the present and the future.
Today, you may be a victim of a traumatic past. Perhaps you grew up in a dysfunctional home; maybe your family is not one that you are necessarily proud of; maybe something got broken inside you while growing up and now you’ve concluded that what is broken cannot be fixed. Maybe you’ve lost something many years ago – your dignity, self-esteem, peace, security, or stability and you’ve concluded that what is lost can no longer be found.
You may look at your life today, and you feel like damaged goods. You have suffered so much shame, abuse, manipulation and control that you do not believe in yourself anymore. Today you can tap into the resurrection power of Jesus and prevail against those odds.
Remember that Jesus is not only Lord of your past or present; He is also Lord in your future. If He prevailed against all odds, you too can.
Now, you have a part to play. When we take a closer look at the word ‘resurrection’ in the New Testament, it is always referred to in two tenses – the passive and the active tense. In Acts 2:24 and Romans 6:9, the bible says that God raised Jesus up - this suggests that the resurrection was God’s prerogative. However, if you look at other passages, like Romans 14:9 or 1 Corinthians 15:20, the bible says Jesus rose from the dead. In one sense, the resurrection is passive effected by God, in another sense it is active, that Jesus did.
If you must prevail against all odds, both must be present in your life. God will raise you up, but you must also arise. I challenge you today, as we approach another Easter – arise from your grave of an ugly past, a turbulent present and of an hopeless future - The decision is yours.
The ultimate expression of hopelessness in the future is an eternity without God. The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, if only in this world we have hope, we are of all men most miserable. During this Easter period, I want you to pause and reflect on this: When I die and leave this world, where am I going? Will I truly experience the resurrection that Jesus talked about in John 11:25? Jesus said if you believe in him you will never die, if you die, you will live again. Do you believe in Jesus? Have you made Jesus Lord of your life? If not, open the door of your heart and ask Jesus to come in. That same resurrection power that caused Jesus to prevail against all odds can be yours too.
Jesus prevailed against all odds; you too can experience the same this Easter Season.