If you work for a big company, sooner or later you will experience the pain of being phased out. Sometimes this may be certain positions or an entire department that are eliminated to reduce cost and save money for shareholders. Industries like coal may be phased out in my lifetime by cleaner, more efficient energy. Meanwhile, other famous companies file for bankruptcy due to a lack of vision. Richard Sears began using printed mailers in 1888 to advertise watches and jewelry. This eventually gave birth to the Sears Catalog in 1943. However, when Amazon was established in 1995 using the internet as an online catalog, Sears didn’t change their business model in time to save their company and customers.
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place, Acts 12:16-17.
When Herod Agrippa I gave orders to have James the brother of John executed, Peter became a marked man. According to Luke, religious leaders encouraged the king of the Jews to arrest and put Peter to death following the Passover celebrations. While imprisoned, an angel of the Lord led Peter to escape. However, based upon the passage above, Peter went into hiding, keeping a low profile. It was during this period that the Lord rose up a godly man who would surprise Peter spiritually. Saul who changes his name to Paul in Acts 13 is used to phase Peter out. When the Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria heard the gospel message, Peter was no longer needed as God raised him up to reach a Jewish audience. A new voice was necessary to introduce the Gentiles to the good news about Jesus. Thus, Peter is replaced by Paul to start the final phase, taking the Bible to the ends of the earth.
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” Acts 1:7-8.
According to the book of Revelation, Jesus will not return until every land, nation and tribe has a chance to either receive or reject Jesus as Savior, Romans 10:9-10. This final phase is approaching 2,000 years and no one knows how much longer the Great Commission will take to complete. Sure, there will always be guesses, projections and speculation, but only Jesus knows when this mission will end. No one likes to be phased out, especially when you are forced to sit on the sidelines as someone else takes your place. Nonetheless, if you aren’t gathering for God, you are likely scattering by leading others astray. If this occurs, don’t be surprised if God sends someone else to finish the job that you were assigned. This might result in being phased out by a believer who is more spiritually prepared than you. However, failure does not mean the end. Learn from your past mistakes so that the Holy Spirit will inspire you to be ready the next time God calls.
by Jay Mankus