Every Easter I struggle to comprehend how Jesus was able to wait in the darkness, watching the torches descend from Jerusalem, knowing those soldiers were coming for him. When I am in Israel, the Garden of Gethsemane is the place I most often struggle with tears. I can see the gate in the city wall the soldiers used. Jesus could have escaped, but he chose not to.
Jesus experienced a struggle between his mind and his earthly body, so he prayed for the strength to remain in the garden. His mind, strengthened by God’s, enabled Jesus to wait. That process in the Garden of Gethsemane may be one of our most important lessons of Easter.
According to 1 Corinthians 2:16, “We have the mind of Christ.”
The mind of Christ gives a new perspective
Paul was writing to the church in Corinth. Let’s just say that those early Christians struggled to think and act like Jesus. The culture of Corinth was similar to our own, only worse.
Paul taught the Corinthian church one of the most important lessons in Scripture about the Holy Spirit. He said, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).
When we think with the mind of Christ, we won’t think like the world. We will see things from a spiritual perspective and our views will change. We will understand things like Christ would and perceive situations with his thoughts.
When last did you watch the news and view those stories and images as Jesus would?
The mind of Christ authors our words
All of us have conversations that feel above our spiritual pay grade. I still get caught off guard sometimes. Someone is in great need, and God has given me an appointment to answer. There is a verse I try to lean on and teach others to lean on as well. It should be our prayer and our purpose in every spiritual conversation we enter into. Paul taught, “We impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).
This is a whole sermon, but I will teach that verse like this:
- We don’t want to speak our ideas. Human wisdom will not lead people to know God.
- We do want to pray for, and yield our minds to, the mind of Christ, his Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit will author our words, be our wisdom, and teach the truth that person needs to hear.
- The key: Those who think with the mind of Christ will be able to interpret spiritual truths to someone else. And “you have been given the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Christ doesn’t always change people’s minds
Sometimes your Spirit-led conversations don’t change a person’s mind. That doesn’t mean you didn’t speak the thoughts and words God authored. If you were prayerful and allowed the Spirit to empower your mind and author your words, then “well done, good and faithful servant.”
You aren’t responsible for a person’s response to God’s truth. You are only responsible to speak the truth, led by the mind of Christ, his Holy Spirit. Paul taught the Corinthian church, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one” (1 Corinthians 2:14–15).
Jesus couldn’t convince the Pharisees he was their Messiah. We won’t convince everyone either.
The Easter story doesn’t end with the empty tomb
It may seem like Easter is over and it’s time to move on to other subjects. Christians rarely celebrate Pentecost as a holiday, yet it is the real ending to the Easter story.
The tomb was empty; Jesus was resurrected. But Jesus returned to teach his followers until his ascension. The ending of the Easter story was the beginning of the Christian movement in the world. At Pentecost, the disciples of Christ received his Holy Spirit. They received the mind of Christ.
You can think, talk, and walk with the mind of the Lord
It’s easy to feel like Jesus ascended to heaven and then left his work to his followers. He didn’t. Jesus didn’t leave his work to us; he went to heaven so he could do his work through us. The body of Jesus was resurrected, but then his mind, his Spirit, returned to indwell those who would believe in him.
Human beings don’t teach spiritual truths, speak spiritual words, or love people as Jesus did. Jesus teaches, speaks, and loves through the person who will yield his or her mind to the Holy Spirit.
Paul said, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
This week, maybe today, Jesus will give you a chance to speak to someone, or treat someone, like he wants to. Before you say a word, pray that Christ’s mind will do the talking and caring instead of your own. It could make all the difference.
We have been given the mind of Christ. In gratitude for Easter, let’s use it!