Saturday, April 14, 2012

Resurrection Life

Read I John 1:-2:1

As the Apostles met in that upper room on the first day of the week(Jn. 20),  they were scared out of their wits.  "the doors were locked...for fear of the Jews".   Jesus had been executed and they thought they might be next.  They were afraid despite the fact that the women had reported that Jesus' tomb was emptyMary Magdalene, and two other disciples had told them that they had talked with Him, Peter and John had also seen the empty tomb, and Christ had predicted that He would rise from the dead!  

Jesus suddenly stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."  This wasn't the first time that Jesus had brought peace into a difficult situation.  After all, He is the Prince of Peace.  I suspect the disciples thought back to the time they were in a boat on the lake when a storm came up.  Jesus was sleeping, they awakened him and said, "Master, don't you care that we are perishing!"  He rebuked them for lack of faith and said to the storm, "peace, be still!"--and it was!  Whatever troubles we may be having, Jesus wants us to relax and trust Him.  He not only gives peace, He gives us something to do.  In that upper room He breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."  He was giving them, just as He gives us, His resurrection life.

Later, John would write, "We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked at, and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life--this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us--we declare to you what we have seen and heard...This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him there is not darkness at all."(I Jn. 1:1-5)  They must have said something similar to Thomas who had not been present at that meeting.  Thomas said would not believe unless he could see and touch Jesus himself.  One week later, Jesus came again and let Thomas touch His wounds.

In that encounter, Jesus said that the most blessed ones were those who did not see and still believed.  He knows that if we will just hear the word of the gospel and believe, we will be blessed beyond measure.  Let us understand that God is all about bringing light into our darkness.  When we take John and the other New Testament writers at their word we begin to discover that "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all."   The root cause of almost all of our problems is sin--either ours or someone else's.   John reminds us that we have an advocate in the risen Christ who is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.(I Jn. 2:1)  The cross of Christ is a constant reminder that our sins are forgiven and He is on our side.  His blood atones for our sins, and His resurrection life brings us salvation.  Remember, John speaks of experiencing life("what was from the beginning, the word of life, eternal life") and this is what he declares to us.  We can have Christ's resurrection life as we receive His word(a word spoken is a breach breathed) by faith.

Those first disciples were constantly bearing witness to the resurrection of Christ.   Early on, after some very trying times (Acts 3 & 4) they prayed and we are told that they were "filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the word of God with boldness and testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ."  

The secret to the victorious Christian life is hearing with faith.  We hear the word about Christ and receive it by faith(Eph. 1:13).  When that happens my life is changed and I begin to demonstrate resurrection power as Christ, via the Holy Spirit expresses Himself through me.  The proof of the resurrection is a changed life.  The disciples' changed lives changed the world!  It's our turn.  There is a world to change--lets go!

I have this idea in my mind that after the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached that great sermon and 3,000 people got saved, the next day they all showed up to find out more about this Jesus.  In my mind I see Peter, seeing the throngs of converts, asking John, "Look at all those people!  They're expecting me to say something.  What do I say?  John says, "Hmm----- I know. Tell them this:  "We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we heard, what we saw with our eyes, what we looked at, what our hand handled, concerning the word of life--this life was revealed and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us--we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.  This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."  Amen!

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