What did change them? Not the crucifixion or the resurrection but the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Not until these men were filled with the Holy Ghost were they changed. Not until the Spirit had come upon them in power were they changed so that cowardice gave place to courage. Unbelief became a flaming faith and conviction that nothing on earth could shake.
Jealousy was swallowed up in brotherly love. Self-interest was killed and became a ministry to others. Fear was banished, and they were afraid of no man, no threat and no danger.
Changed by the Holy Spirit
Therein lies our hope. We have not seen Jesus as they did nor heard the sound of His voice. We have never seen the sunlight dance on His hair or traced His footprints in the sands of Palestine.
But we have the same opportunity to be changed because the same Holy Spirit is available to us today. He has been sent into the world to lead us into all truth, to convict us of sin, to be our Helper, our Guide.
This is a day when many are inclined to say, "You can't change human nature." It is true. We cannot change human nature; but God can.
It is the modern heresy to think that human nature cannot be changed. Human nature must be changed if we are ever to have an end to war or the situations that make our lives uneasy and our hearts sore.
The power of Jesus Christ is the only force that can change people for good. It is the only power in the world that can give us the right motives to do what God wants us to do.
Nothing else can bring us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33) and to want most of all to be a part of the answer to the world's illsrather than part of its problems.
All that is needed is a sincere desire and willingness to confess our mistakes and our stubborn selfishness and face up to our sins.
When our sins are acknowledged and we ask for His forgiveness, we begin to see ourselves as God sees us, and the miracle begins. Forgiveness can be ours, and we can become new people from that moment.
When you begin to be a new person, there is hope for your problems—whatever they are. There is hope for a solution to the strained relations in your office, for better understanding and a discovery of a new love for your husband or your wife.
There can be a new spirit in your home and a new happiness you thought was gone forever. You can have hope for a new meaning to your life—a new reason for a living hope.
Don't give up; there's still hope. God hasn't given up yet on His world. God hasn't given up on this country, and God hasn't given up on you.
He can still do great things for you, in you and through you. God is ready and waiting and able. What about you and me?
We are, after all, like lumps of clay. We have little shape or beauty. But we need not despair.
If we are clay, let us remember there is a Potter and His wheel. We have only to be yielded, that is, willing and surrendered, and He will do the rest.
He will make us according to the pattern for which, in His love, He designed us. And it will be good--for our own good and for His glory.
Do not despair. If you want to be different, you can be. You, too, can be changed for the better. Therein lies our hope—and the hope of the world.
We, too, are disciples in clay. And there is still the skill of the Potter.
Peter Marshall (1902-1949) was the husband of Catherine Marshall and the father of Peter John Marshall. Dr. Marshall served as the pastor of the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and as chaplain of the United States Senate. His biography, A Man Called Peter, written by his wife, became a best-seller and the basis for a highly acclaimed motion picture.
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