Doing Good

“…Jesus of Nazareth … went around doing good…”

What if you decide to do good? If you want to, you can have Jesus as your model. What was his method? His friend, Peter, wrote this: “God empowered Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and so he went around doing good…” Jesus promises this same Holy Spirit to his followers: “…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”

Did that happen? Not long after Jesus said that a strange event took place. On the day called Pentacost, they were all together. Suddenly a sound like a violent wind was heard. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw fire above each others heads. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in different languages that they had never learned.

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Peter explained the phenomena as one predicted by the ancient prophet Joel. The apostles expected the Holy Spirit to fill everyone who believed the message of the gospel they spread as charged to do so by Jesus. So the same power Jesus relied on is available to all his followers.

So if we do good as empowered by the Spirit everything will go smooth. What? Not so? The message clashes with the common view of life. Jesus had mixed reviews on his actions. Those opposed to him arranged his death by crucifixion. The story did not end there.

Ignoring his detractors, Jesus revealed himself alive and well after his death to his surprised followers. After convincing them of his remarkable return to life, he told them to spread his message even if they receive similar opposition.

What if we find this same reception. Yes, we speak to the Master: they reacted badly to my good act! He says, “I know, I had the same thing happen to me.”

That is the test. If you go on doing good as well as you can, you find God at your side. Why? He is all about doing good in a bad world. If you quit, then you lose your purpose because your purpose is to do God’s kind of good in a bad world.

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We get general direction from the words of Jesus. Let’s be clear about this: not the Bible in general, but specifically the words of Jesus. He is the focus of everything. And we get more specific help from the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes this help is quite clear. Sometimes it is just a friendly push in a direction. You understand more as you go along. What I am saying is this: if you are trying to do the will of God as spoken by Jesus, God will not let you work alone. He will be right there beside you. Sometimes you will feel it. Other times, not so much. But he will direct you and he will redirect you if you go wrong.

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What? I could go wrong? Of course, you could go wrong. Or something goes wrong and you don’t understand it. In fact, something will go wrong. Then what? Quit? Okay, but this is not faith. Faith goes on even when you don’t understand it. There will be opposition against the good you do. You will be tempted. You will get discouraged. You will have a setback.

But your very weakness is your strong point! Be weak toward God. I don’t understand this. I don’t know why this is happening. You told me to go in this direction and it has gone wrong. Guess what? It was always going wrong for Jesus. Read the story closely. Things were always going wrong. He was criticized for doing good. A lot. But be of good cheer, Jesus kept going. He never stopped.

If he couldn’t do good in this town, he went to the next one and did good there. He fixed things that didn’t work right. Like arms. Or eyes. Or legs. He gave us the clearest words of God ever spoken by a man on earth. That is why we can trust him always. He loved people. And some people loved him. Is that you? Is that me?

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