"People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip .... God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”’ So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!" Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?" Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Acts 2:22-24, 32-39
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. Ephesians 1:18-23
We have been emphasizing the need for followers of Christ to understand and enter into the full outcome of the resurrection. When this happens a follower of Christ moves from the resurrection merely being an announcement he believes is true to his being one who is in a life changing relationship with the Risen Savior and Lord who dwells in the core of his being. Picture this: you are walking through a park on a Spring day and a man is sitting on a park bench saying repeatedly, "I am married, I am married." On his lap he has the wedding invitation, an album of wedding pictures, and the marriage certificate. As you are about to pass in front of him he holds up a picture of his bride and says again, "I am married, I am married." You say to him, "Your bride is beautiful, where is she?" The man replies, "Oh, she went back home right after the wedding, but she promised she would come back some day."
Unfortunately, this little story depicts the Christian experience of many us as followers of Christ. We believe that Jesus died on the cross for us and have received the forgiveness of sins. We believe that Christ rose from the dead and in celebration of his resurrection we say with great enthusiasm, "He is risen, He is risen." But where is he? We may be able to give the right answers (he's in my heart; he's with me always) but our experience says otherwise. If truth be told we see ourselves left here as good soldiers who must "occupy" until Christ returns. We seek to do our best to live for him and fulfill his purposes with the Bible as our guide and a vague sense that somehow through the force of the Holy Spirit the needed strength and help will be provided.
As followers of Christ how desperately we need to move from being ones for whom the resurrection is merely an announcement we believe is true to being ones who are in a life changing relationship with the Risen Savior and Lord who dwells in the core of his being. It is in the inner sanctuary of our hearts that we come to our Risen Savior and Lord over and over again for times of sweet communion with him where we know his presence, we enter his rest, we experience his peace, we enjoy his mercy and grace, and we find his help for all our needs (from Sat and Mon). As the reality that we walk with Christ in this kind of a relationship is seen by others we become an announcement to them that Jesus is alive and well. The difference he makes in out lives becomes evident as well. The powerful presence of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit wonderfully touches the lives of people around us and gives us opportunities to tell them about the "hope" within us, our Risen Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. This is the full outcome of the resurrection (from Tues).
In the Acts passage above it says, "Peter's words pierced their hearts." In the Ephesians passage above it says, "I (Paul) pray that your hearts will be flooded with light." Lord, pierce my heart and flood it with light. Awaken me to your wonderful, amazing, and powerful presence within the core of my being. Grant me a rich and overflowing relationship with yourself that pours out into the lives of others who need to respond to you who are alive and well in my heart and life.
Posted on Wed, April 8, 2015
by Alan Porter