Call Him Benjamin

by Andy Wood on September 1, 2010

in Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Abundance, Waiting, Words

Call him Benjamin. 

Nice Hebrew name for this fictional, but oh-so-real young man who lived outside of Jerusalem in the first century.  Benjamin is 20 years old, and his family raised him in a typical Jewish home.

Until that day.

Following the Feast at Pentecost, Benjamin’s family had experienced a radical transformation.  They had heard the preaching of this fisherman-turned-prophet named Peter about a resurrected Christ who was the awaited Messiah.  They heard that God had made Him both Lord (a Greek term) and Christ (a Hebrew term).

And they believed.  Oh, did they believe.  And oh, how their lives were awakened by this discovery.

Then… came… the other day.  The day the unspeakable news came.  They had killed James, John’s brother.  And we could be next.

Together with new Jewish believers everywhere, Benjamin’s family fled.  They left their homes, their possessions, except the things they could personally carry, and in many cases, family and friends.

And they ran for their lives.

Relocating in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), young Benjamin has the opportunity to take stock of his life, and it isn’t pretty.

  • Defeat.  He has experienced great loss and harsh judgment from the world. 
  • Death.  He has seen people, including friends and distant family, lose their lives because of the gospel. 
  • Despair.  All his hopes for the future have been taken from him. 
  • Displacement.  He has lost everything he once was told he would have in terms of a home and an inheritance. 

Pause here.  Can you relate?  Do you know what it’s like to suffer defeat at the hands of a formidable foe?  To experience great loss or harsh judgment from people in the world? 

Do you know what it’s like to lose people you love dearly – either to death, or some other form of painful separation?

Can you relate to having your hopes dashed on the rocks of circumstance, and have nothing but disappointment and heartache to guide you as to what to expect in your future?

Do you know what it’s like to lose something you thought was yours by right?  To have a position or an identity taken from you against your will and be powerless to stop it?

My guess is, you’re still with me.

Meanwhile, Back in Alienville

Imagine Benjamin’s surprise when he comes home after a very long day at work, and hears his father say that a letter has arrived.  And he’ll never guess from whom!

It was him…  The same man who proclaimed those powerful words about the resurrection of Jesus.  The same man who had led the early church and had become the family’s friend and spiritual mentor.  The man whose leadership they adored, and whose testimony of shame-to-grace they greatly respected.

There was a letter from Peter.  And past the typical greetings, and the reference to the fact that they were “aliens… chosen by God,” Peter said something that may have run cold to Benjamin:

“Yay, God!”

Seriously?

Well, technically, what Peter said was, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Again… seriously?

Doesn’t God know we’re homeless?  Hopeless?  Helpless to do anything about it?

Yes.  He does.

Doesn’t God know we have been rejected by people in authority and forced to redefine our lives?

Yes.  He does.

Doesn’t God know that everything by which we gained our identity has been lost – perhaps forever?

Yes.  He does.

And to that, Peter responds with an exultant celebration. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Benjamin is floored.  What does his relationship with the risen Christ have to do with the fact that he is consumed by defeat, grief, hopelessness, and displacement?

Turns out, it has everything to do with it.

Peter understood something that every believer needs to be reminded of from time to time.  Your faith in a living Christ gives you benefits that no one or nothing can take from you. Ever.

Out of defeat, we have received the great mercy of God. 

Out of death, we have been born again. 

Out of despair, we now have a living hope, alive with the same life that raised Jesus from the dead. 

And out of displacement, we have an inheritance that neither death, sin, nor time can touch. 

There is nothing the world or this life can rob from us that our God has not abundantly provided for us in much greater measure.

No wonder Peter breaks forth in praise!

And so should we.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peggy Jones September 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Life can be really hard, but God can be enough.
Thanks for being you Andy.

Andy Wood September 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

And thank you, Peggy, for your always-faithful encouragement! You are loved!

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