BEFORE the Resurrection
The Disciples were:
- Confused (Luke 9.43, Luke 18.31, John 16.17)
Do you see a pattern here? The Gospel was confusing even to the men closest to Jesus. They never really got it when Jesus told them what would have to happen. The message that Jesus would be crucified and rise again the third day confused the disciples.
- Combative (Luke 9.46, Luke 9.49, Luke 9.51)
So far: they fight with people who are with Jesus, they fight with people who do ministry in the name of Jesus, and they fight with people who reject Jesus. That pretty much covers all of humanity, right? And did you notice this all happens within 5 verses?
- Cowardly (Mark 14.48-52, Luke 8.31-62, John 20.19)
In this pattern I see “fear, fear, fear.” So Jesus gets a bunch of young men to follow him and be His disciples but these guys are not all stars. They’re…ordinary. And their attitudes and character are marked by being confused, combative, and cowardly. Before Jesus rose from the dead, he was shrouded in mystery. But then when He rose from the dead, it all started to make sense. And when the Holy Spirit came upon them, He revealed the power of the resurrection to these men
AFTER the Resurrection
The Disciples were:
- Clear (Acts 2.14-24)
And bout 3,000 believed this message, repented, and were added to the Church that day. Once, they didn’t get it. But now, they not only understand the Gospel clearly, but in a single day, in a single sermon, they explained the Gospel clearing so that 3,000 others would get it.
- Had Camaraderie (Acts 5.17-25)
These men were together. They weren’t arguing over who would be the greatest anymore. They weren’t fighting for their chance to speak. They had camaraderie. They had unity. They were together in purpose. They were together in their message. They were together in persecution. They were together in public. The petty quarrels of young men who didn’t understand the Gospel were gone because the resurrection of Jesus had changed things.
- Courageous (Acts 4.8-13, Acts 5.40-42)
When Jesus was arrested everyone freaked out because of perceived threat and retaliation. But now, even in the face of direct threat and persecution, they never stopped.
HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THIS?
Without the resurrection, Peter’s first preaching was hollow.
Without the resurrection, these disciples would’ve stayed huddled in a locked room until this “Jesus movement” faded into the annals of history.
Without the resurrection, Paul writes, “our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
But we can ascertain, from the personal change in each of the disciples closest to Jesus, that the resurrection not only happened, but had power to change the history of the world.
And we are in the reverberations of that power.
We can rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus. We can have clarity in our lives because of the resurrection of Jesus. We can have courage because of the resurrection of Jesus. We can have camaraderie with other believers because of the resurrection of Jesus.
But we cannot be unchanged. The resurrection is proof that God changes dead things to living things.
And that is the hope and the assurance that we have in the resurrection of Jesus.