December 11 I Tuesday
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” —2 Corinthians 4:7
Jerusalem. Judea and Samaria. The ends of the earth. Of these four places that Jesus told the disciples to evangelize, we might think Jerusalem would be the easiest. It was one city, and the disciples were already there. But given recent events, they would have probably preferred to start anywhere but there.
Jerusalem was the site of the disciples’ greatest failures. Forty days earlier, when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, each of the disciples went into hiding for fear of reprisal from the Jews. Peter followed Jesus at a distance to where He was being tried, but after denying knowing Jesus three times, he fled and wept. John followed Jesus to the site of the cross, but he would eventually leave as well. With this so fresh in their minds, we can imagine what the disciples thought of Jesus’s instruction to preach in Jerusalem first: “Why would they listen to us here? These people know what we’re like. They’ve seen us at our worst moment.” But often, it is exactly in the place of our brokenness that Jesus wants us to be a witness.
Brokenness is God’s tool for our good. God will often bring us to brokenness so we recognize our bankruptcy and turn from dependence on ourselves to dependence on Him. This is what happened on the Day of Pentecost. Hidden in an upper room, the disciples discovered the power of the resurrected life of Christ living in them and working through them. Completely changed men, Jesus sends them back to the place of their greatest failures so they might turn the city upside down with the Good News.
Until God has broken us, experiencing the power of His Holy Spirit will be mainly theory. This is not something that can be humanly orchestrated; only God can bring us to the point where we utterly despair of ourselves. Though brokenness is painful and often catches us unaware, it is in being broken that we most clearly experience God’s comfort, power and freedom in our lives.
What is our Jerusalem? What is the place of our brokenness where people have most clearly seen our failures? For some, this will be our homes, where our spouse or children have seen the worst of our temper, selfishness and ingratitude. For others, it will be our workplaces, where we have been caught up in gossip or dishonest business. We may think it impossible for God to use us where people have seen us at our worst, but when we humbly go to our Jerusalems admitting our faults and letting God work through us, our lives become a testament to His amazing grace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity in brokenness. Though there is pain in the struggle, it is where I am broken that You show Your sufficiency most clearly.