‘On this rock I will build my church.’ Matthew 16:18 CEV
The Christian church is about one-and-a-half times the size of its nearest rival. The odds against that are staggering. Suppose today a group of missionaries showed up in your town and told you that a peasant who’d been put to death was reputed to have risen again. Furthermore, He was no less than the Creator of the universe. Would you buy it? The apostles did in the pagan Roman Empire, and what’s more—they eventually succeeded in overthrowing the Roman Empire. In the face of terrible persecution, Christianity continued to flourish. Even the attempts of Julian the Apostate to overthrow Christianity and re-establish the pagan Roman religions met with no success. When Julian’s onslaught against Christianity was at its worst, one of the emperor’s followers asked a Christian, ‘What is your carpenter’s son doing now?’ The Christian replied, ‘Making a coffin for your emperor!’ It wasn’t long after this that Julian was mortally wounded in battle. Falling to the ground, he picked up a handful of sand mingled with his blood, tossed it into the air, and allegedly declared, ‘Thou hast conquered, O Galilean.’
No, the church is not perfect; that’s why people like us are welcome there! Nevertheless, there are many valid reasons why the church of Jesus Christ continues to triumph. It’s a hospital for the wounded, it’s a family for the lonely, and it’s a school for those being trained in the principles of discipleship. And ultimately, when everything temporal goes up in smoke, it’s the only thing that will be left standing (see 2 Peter 3:10–12). So commit your life to Jesus Christ and join His victorious church!
SoulFood: Mt 5:7, Mt 18:21–35, Ps 103:8–18, Lam 3:22–24
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023