Here is an old riddle for you to ponder.
“What is greater than God, more evil than the devil, the rich need it, the poor have it, and if you eat it, you will die?”
Our analytical minds read the whole question before determining an answer. However, the answer to the riddle can be discerned in the first few words. Nothing is greater than God, so the answer is, nothing. That answer fits all the other phrases in the question as well. Kindergarten kids answer the riddle before college students.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” An angel made that statement to Mary when she was told she would give birth to a son and name him Jesus. She learned that her elderly cousin Elizabeth was bearing a son as well. Since God’s creative power brought worlds out of nothing, he can cause life to form in impossible situations.
Elizabeth did not live to see and hear her son John fulfill his powerful ministry. She only knew what the angel had prophesied to her husband Zacharias. She saw nothing of the amazing results of his preaching thirty years later.
Mary however, saw the first miracle her son Jesus performed. In fact, she facilitated it when she advised the servants, “Whatsoever he says to you, do it.”
The next three years of her life were filled with wonder as she walked with her son and saw the works he did for others. Nothing, it seemed, was too hard for him as he ministered to the needs of people.
Then came the fateful day he was crucified on the cross. A manger of wood held Mary’s baby boy at his birth and now a cross of wood with nails held him as he breathed his last. It seemed nothing could ease the suffering and pain she felt in her heart.
Three days later, nothing could restrain her joy as she saw him alive! His resurrection was a gift beyond any she received. She saw her son alive, and conqueror of death and the grave. She may have thought nothing could be greater than this.
Jesus was with his mother and the others for forty days.
During that time he promised the presence of the Spirit of God. He instructed them to return to Jerusalem to wait for “power from on high.” Their faith and obedience was demonstrated as they prayed and waited.
Suddenly, a sound from heaven like a wind filled the room where they were gathered. Then joyful sounds erupted as they were filled with the Spirit. Others heard what they said as they spoke in tongues of “the wonderful works of God.” It was a gift like no other they had ever received. Nothing up to that point of their experience was like it.
Peter then preached that everyone could receive that gift (Acts 2:38). Thousands more experienced it and continued rejoicing.
In this season of rejoicing, let nothing keep you from the greatest gift of all, the presence of Jesus in your life. Nothing is as great as that present.
Mitch Glover is pastor of the Sterling Pentecostal Church located on Swanson River Road and Entrada. Services on Sunday include Bible classes for all ages at 10:00 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m. Thursday Bible study is at 7:00 p.m. (sterlingpentecostalchurch.com)