How many times have you brought an electrical device home, only to find that it didn’t work? You tried everything and then finally saw a little message in three languages: “Batteries not included.”
I remember years ago bringing home a beautiful new calculator for my son. He was so thrilled. He’d be the first in his class to even hold, let alone own, his own personal calculator. He tore off the wrappings and started to work it..and nothing happened. His bright light dimmed: “Dad, what did you pay for this? It doesn’t work!”
“Of course it works,” I said. “It’s made by the great company: Casio!”
“Dad, somebody tricked you.”
“OK, give it to me. Let me see.”
And sure enough, there it was in plain English, Spanish and Chinese: “Batteries not included.”
It looked perfect. It felt perfect. But there was one problem: no power.
Don’t laugh. It happens to big people, too. I, like the editor, never took Typing in high school. Typing was for girls, with Home Economics, baking cakes and applying make-up. Men, not boys, took Shop, basketball, baseball and worked on motors.
Now I’m sorry I didn’t take Typing because the yuppie baby-boomers and Generation X-ers and the 8-year-olds are way ahead of me.
So I bought a beautiful software program: “Mavis Beacon teaches Typing.” I asked my wife Lila to drive for the next 30 miles so I could learn to type, to catch up with these young rascals.
Here comes Mavis to teach me typing on my battery-operated Powerbook Mac 1400/.cs. I’m probably at the bottom of the class because she says, “Congratulations! You have now increased your typing speed to seven words a minute.”
Just as I was getting up to at least 10 words a minute, the little battery on top of the computer face said, “Battery going down.” And then without any warning, “This computer will automatically shut off in less than a minute.” And there went my beautiful typing lessons.
This time the battery was included, but it ran out of power!
Do you ever feel like your batteries were not included, or if they were, they ran out right in the middle of something important? Jesus, on the cross, felt that way when He hung between heaven and hell and cried out to His Father in heaven after six hours of agony, between darkness and light, salvation and damnation, eternal life and eternal death. The weight of the entire world’s sins—yours and mine—were upon Him. Six hours later He said, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
“He could have called ten thousand angels…but He died alone for you and me.”
His battery ran out.
That would be the end of any hope for you and me. But what happened? His battery was recharged. For three days and three nights He lay dead in that cold, damp, dark tomb. He was wrapped in perfumed cloths so His death smell would not permeate. His friends gave up. Peter said, “I’m going fishing….going back to where I came from. This is the end.”
And you’ve been there, haven’t you?
But then God Almighty reached down from the battlements of heaven and confirmed what He said before, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”
That he “arose” meant that the battery was not dead. It was recharged and Jesus came roaring back to the scene that was the end of the road. Hopeless. Black despair. Jesus turned the world’s darkest moment into the world’s brightest light. Jesus came back to life and said in His newest self-introduction:
“I am the resurrection and the life; He that believeth in me, though he be dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
That’s the message of Easter….the message the early Christians heard when the risen Jesus commanded them:
“You go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature and I shall be with you until the end of the age….and my power is in you.”
With that power the early missionaries went out to every country, preaching one message: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died on the cross for your sins and then rose again. Therefore you can have the power of an endless life. Take it. Believe it. Receive it and be made spiritually alive.
I don’t care how far down you’ve slipped, there’s hope. There’s life. There’s power waiting for you. Untapped. Undeserved. Batteries. If you’re not a Christian, remember that there’s a battery in every life: it’s called a conscience. It may be worn down, or you don’t think its even there any more, but there’s hope.
There’s hope for you. Don’t despair. He’s right there. Jesus, the Gentleman, is waiting in the shadows, knocking on your heart’s door.
If you’re a born-again Christian, but your battery has gone down, it can be recharged, renewed, revived…today. He was dead and now He’s alive.
Here’s an amazing story from the Jan. 31 airline crash off the California coast:
“John Hernandez talked with an Alaska Airlines pilot involved in the investigation of the horrific crash of Alaska Flight 261.
“The pilot listened to the cockpit voice recorder from the downed plane. He reported that for the last nine minutes of the flight, the wife of a pastor from Monroe, Washington, is heard sharing the Gospel with the passengers over the plane’s intercom system. Just before the final dive into the Pacific Ocean, she is heard leading the sinner’s prayer for salvation.
“The pilot also said that the flight data recorder indicates that there is no good explanation for how the plane was able to stay in the air for those final nine minutes, until the pastor’s wife shared the Gospel with the very attentive passengers and presumably led many to salvation in Christ.
“So, in the midst of tragedy, nearly 90 people had an extraordinary opportunity to get right with their Maker just pior to meeting Him.”
After an Indonesian flight I preached to 1,200 people gathered in the city auditorium in Bali. It was titled, “Music and Message” in an Islam territory where they had burned Christian churches before. The churches never retaliated. Before I got up to speak, an 82-year-old man pulled me aside and said, “Be very careful. The majority here are Moslem men. Just repeat this clearly and fully: ‘My dear Moslem friends, welcome! I’m so happy that you follow the words of Mohammed who said two important things: 1. Study the law, and 2. Study the Gospel. If you don’t study the law and the Gospel, you are less than nothing.”‘
“My dear Moslem friends,” I said, “the law is plain. It is called the Ten Commandments.” I read them. “Every Moslem, Christian, Jew, reformed, Orthodox, Shiite, Ultra-Orthodox, fundamentalist—all believe the Ten Commandments.” I continued, “Now those are the Ten Commandments, but the other part of Mohammed’s words were to study the Gospel. So here is the second part,” and I gave it to them using my overhead projector in this big auditorium. I could see the men’s faces which were belligerent, angry, mean, become like roses blossoming. They sensed that this man was talking about Mohammed: to study the law and the Gospel. They believe that Jesus was one of the world’s greatest teachers, only that Mohammed is the greatest.
And so it came to the jugular. “If I followed a dead Christ I would be the biggest fool in this auditorium. Every Christian here would be a bigger fool than anyone else because the Bible says that ‘if only in this life you have hope you are the world’s most miserable creatures.”‘ But I said that the Bible clearly states that after Jesus died for our sins on the cross, He rose again and proved Himself alive by eating and drinking 40 days and 40 nights.
This is the “power of an endless life.” Included in the resurrection. It doesn’t matter how rich, how powerful, how conceited we are, we’re nothing more than a watch. The faces are different. You can buy one for ¥450. The battery costs ¥500. You can buy the world’s most expensive watch, something like $75,000. But they’re all the same; they all have 12 numbers. Only one problem. No matter how beautiful your face or how expensive, are there batteries included? If not, go buy some…and start over again.
You’ll find this at the cross and the empty tomb….battery included!