The resurrection of Jesus is amazing. It’s the centerpiece of our faith and hope as believers. As such, there are many lenses through which Christians have viewed the resurrection over the years. We can discuss and think about it theologically, historically, and even politically.
But one thing that many times gets overlooked is how applicable the resurrection is. Jesus was a real person, who physically met with other real people in a resurrected body.
Every time someone encountered the resurrected Jesus in the New Testament, they changed. They did something, they didn’t just think about it.
Although they have very different backstories, Mary, the Emmaus travelers, Peter, and Paul all experienced dramatic life changes after coming face-to-face with Jesus in His new body.
When you look at their stories, several themes begin to emerge. There are consistent responses after a person encounters the resurrected Jesus. These themes also serve as a self-diagnostic as we consider our own response to the resurrection.
People who encounter resurrected Jesus talk about Jesus
Mary, the travelers, and Peter all go a tell people that Jesus has risen from the dead and what their own experience with him was like (even if the listeners didn’t believe them). They go and tell their friends and family that He’s alive!
If you believe in and have surrendered your life to the resurrected King Jesus, are you talking about Him?
Even as Christians, we tend to talk in vague spiritual language. We know enough “Christianise” that it seems like we’re talking about Jesus…but we’re really not. We’re talking about church, the faith of our friends or family, what a Pastor said, self-help, mindfulness, or something else. My question is:
How explicit and frequent is “Jesus” on our lips?
In conversations with lost friends and believers, in our groups or micro-churches, are we talking about Jesus, His death & resurrection, and how we’re being changed by Him?
People who encounter resurrected Jesus use their gifts
After his resurrection, Jesus would immediately give people a job to do — “Go and tell…”, “Go and make disciples…”, “Stay in the city…”, Feed my sheep…”. In Galatians, Paul grounds his apostleship and mission to the Gentiles in the fact that God was “pleased to reveal his Son” to him. In His resurrection, Jesus proved to be the King of the universe. And by His Spirit, He uses us to advance His Kingdom.
When you pledge loyalty to the King you’re immediately mobilized on the King’s mission.
If Jesus has risen, it means everything you have and everything you can do has a Kingdom agenda. How are you using your money, home, skills, job, and network for the Kingdom?
People who encounter resurrected Jesus endure suffering
Jesus tells Peter that he’ll die in the way that glorifies God. Paul goes from inflicting pain on the church to enduring immense suffering on its behalf. All the disciples except one are eventually martyred for the faith. Why? The resurrection.
When we have hope for a new body, it frees us to endure pain in this one.
We obey Jesus, even when it’s costly.
People who encounter resurrected Jesus take immediate action
I love how the Emmaus travelers travel right back to Jeruselum after they recognize resurrected Jesus. After Jesus appears to him, Paul immediately obeys and enters Damascus.
What is the action Jesus is calling you to take? Do you need to surrender your life to Him? Do you need to be obedient and be baptized? Do you need to share your testimony with a friend or family member? Do you need to disciple someone or start a micro-church in your neighborhood or network of relationships?
If Jesus has risen there’s no time for procrastination.
The resurrection is great news because it guarantees us that those who place our faith in Christ will be made new. “If ANYONE is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Let’s not just dwell on the fact that Jesus has risen. Let’s act because He is alive.