Well, yesterday we took a last look (for a while, at least) at the story of the Passion. Today I just wanted to make a couple of points about the Resurrection before we leave it behind as well.
As I said a month ago, I think one of the strongest arguments for the veracity of the Christian faith is the Resurrection of Christ. All the other religious figures who've walked this planet are now worm-food. There’s only One who’s alive and will be forever. And one of the strongest pieces of evidence for the Resurrection is the change that came about in the lives of the disciples.
We read a couple of days ago about how Peter was afraid to be associated with the name of Christ and denied that he even knew him. But forty days later he stood in front a crowd and boldly preached a sermon that A) Indicted them for the crucifixion of Jesus, and B) Led 3,000 of them at one time to faith in the Messiah and public baptism. Each one of the Twelve (minus Judas, plus Paul)--with one exception--died a martyr’s death.
What changed in that brief span of time? There are two answers to that question. The first, as I said, was the raising up of Christ from the dead. What in this world could possibly threaten them if their Master had power over life and death and demonstrated that power in such a dramatic fashion?
Let me one more point about this issue before we move on. The disciples were all gathered together in a single room. Suddenly Jesus “stood among them.” Just prior to this he had disappeared right in front of two other disciples and appeared instantaneously in another area. He was able to eat food, so he wasn’t a ghost or a phantom. This was his new body after the Resurrection, and now everything had changed. When he comes back, each of us is going to have a new body like his. Please read this carefully, so there’s no misunderstanding: Everything Jesus is able to do as a man, I will be able to do. This will be a body that will never experience sickness, sin, pain, or death. Along with that, apparently it’ll be able to do some pretty amazing stunts, like we read here.
But there was one other reason for the 180 degree change in the disciples over such a short time. It’s mentioned here, and it’s a great segue into the next few months as we delve into the book of Acts.
I was in the U.S. Army for six years, and while I’ll always be grateful to it for the opportunities, it was frustrating at times. One of the phrases which we learned pretty quickly and which captured several situations was “Hurry up and wait!” We were expected to be at a certain place at a certain time, and then sit around.
That’s what the disciples were told to do, in essence. Jesus had risen, and the story of the Good News was complete, or so it seemed. There was a world lost and dying out there. What were they waiting for? The one last piece of the “puzzle,” as you’ve undoubtedly guessed, was the Holy Spirit. We’re going to spend some time in a few days on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, so I won’t go too much into why he (not “it”) was so essential that the Savior told them to wait.
So how does this apply to us? Unlike some dear siblings in Christ, I thoroughly believe that each child of God has the Holy Spirit within him. It’s not an question of “Do I have the Holy Spirit?” so much as “Does the Holy Spirit have me?” But we have to have his empowering presence. We have to wait for his timing. And we have to be willing to do what he’s told us to do. I know, it’s frustrating at times. But if he tells us to wait, it’s worth it. Trust me.
Lord Jesus, may I never get over the fact that you’ve conquered death, sin, hell, and the Devil. They are all under your feet. And I share in that victory. Wow.