Following the resurrection, Jesus appeared on many occasions to His disciples and He also appeared to as many as 500 people at the same time. Paul testified to these events and eventually gave his own life refusing to deny his eyewitness testimony to the risen Savior. Paul had formerly persecuted Christians and had even given approval for the killing of some of them, Then Paul met Jesus and discovered He had indeed risen!
Paul stated the truth of the resurrection in his letter to the Corinthians in this way: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
At the end of Jesus’ ministry here on earth, He met with the disciples on a mountain near Galilee for the last time before ascending into heaven. Jesus gave the disciples some final instructions at this meeting. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20)
Notice that Jesus did not say to do this, “if you feel like it”, or “if it’s convenient”, or “if you are a good public speaker”, or “if you will be treated well”, or “if you are perfect. Notice that this is a command to those who believe in Christ, not an option to excuse yourself from doing.
That is to say that Jesus knew the disciples:
a. wouldn’t always feel like it.
b. wouldn’t always find it convenient.
c. weren’t all great public speakers.
d. wouldn’t always be treated well.
e. and … were never going to be perfect.
In fact, Jesus knew they would be terrified at times, travel great journeys to find a willing ear, would be jailed, persecuted, tortured at various times and ways, and would eventually give their lives for making such a bold proclamation of truth.
Now in America like no previous time in human history, the message of Christ is shunned. The good news of Jesus payment for our sins is rejected more and more … even though more people than ever in America call themselves Christians. Isn’t this a bit odd?
Perhaps calling yourself a Christian and really believing in Christ are two very different things.
If you were driving home late at night in a winter storm on a 2 lane highway and you saw several cars approaching you flashing their lights like crazy …
You might say to yourself, “Hmmm, I believe there is danger ahead” and yet you might continue on your way approaching the danger exactly the same as before.
You might slow down, tell anyone in the car with you that there may be danger ahead, turn on your flashers, drive with your foot gently over the brake, turn down the blaring music, stop drinking your mug of coffee, end your phone conversation … and even stop texting.
Hey, here’s another quick question to think about. Would you be angry at the guys flashing their lights at you from the approaching cars in the storm or would you be glad they cared enough to do so? Just a question!
I believe that both of these drivers could say they believed there was danger ahead. But I believe that really only one of the drivers believed. Would you agree?
Perhaps, it would interest you to know that the Bible teaches there is a difference between these two “believers”. We all know talk is cheap … but somehow we might think we can fool God with lip service.
Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-23).
WOW! Powerful statement. Jesus said that. Who cares what I think! Nothing I think really matters but Jesus Christ made that declaration. I submit to you that THAT matters and that we ought to be mindful of His words.
I guess I am saying this:
First of all, I care enough to risk saying this to you (maybe I’m the guy flashing my lights). And IF I say I really care … and IF I say I really believe there is danger ahead … shouldn’t I be flashing my lights?
You could be sitting in a house that is on fire.
You might smell the smoke.
You might feel the heat.
You might hear the crackling furniture in the next room.
You might even see the brightness of flames flickering off walls in that room.
But I don’t think you really believe the house is on fire unless you move on your instincts and get out.
This means that belief without action is dead.
The Bible declared this is a similar way. In James 2:14, it says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?
I believe this can be applied by saying … something like, what good is it to say you believe the house is on fire if you are unwilling to do something about it?
If you know that deep down in your heart, your faith in Jesus Christ isn’t changing the way you live in any way, then I pray that you would consider these words and seek to change that. I pray that you would commit yourself anew or perhaps for the very first time to actively seek what Jesus would have you do for Him. I pray that when you one day stand before Jesus you are able to hear him say, Well done my good and faithful servant.
Lord bless you and all your family during the celebration of Easter.
He has risen! What glory! What a Savior!