Easter Changes Everything!
Acts 1:3 (Pastor Heo)
1:3 “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
사도행전 1장 3절 “예수님은 고난을 받아 죽으신 후 40일 동안 때때로 제자들에게 나타나 자기가 살아 있다는 확실한 증거를 많이 보여 주시며 하나님의 나라에 관해서 말씀하셨다.”
Christianity is the only religion that boasts of the death of its founder as “Good news of great joy for all the people, eternally.”
Why? Because he is risen from the dead!
Christianity is the only religion that bases its foundation on the resurrection of its founder.
Jesus suffered so much for us. His incarnation in itself is great humiliation, degradation, etc. God became man, creator like creation, infinite being to finite being, perfect to imperfect, righteous to sinner’s status. Imagine, if a KING became a beggar – or if we became animals – how shameful would that be.
God’s becoming a man is much lower than man becoming a cockroach.
“For he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But he made himself in human likeness. Being found in appearance as a man, he became obedient and humble to death – even death on a cross.”
At that time, death on a cross was a VERY dishonorable death. He was despised and rejected by man, “a man of sorrows” – familiar with suffering. The punishment that was meant for us was brought on him and by his wounds we are healed. Each of us has gone astray – turned to our own ways – but God has laid on him the iniquities of us all. (Isaiah 53?)
- Jesus paid the whole price for our salvation. We should pay, but we cannot.
- Jesus fulfilled all the requirements for our salvation. We should, but cannot.
- Jesus met all the demands for our sin. We should, but cannot.
- Jesus received all the penalties of our sin on the cross. We should, but cannot.
- Jesus suffered all suffering on earth for our sins that we should suffer but cannot.
- Jesus died the death we should die for our sins.
- But then he rose again from the death for our salvation and justification, and righteousness.
Romans “He was delivered over to death for our sin, but was raised for our justification.”
He rose again from the dead
After the resurrection, he appeared to them for a period of 40 days. In the Bible, 40 days is a spiritually significant time period for when God wanted to prepare someone for a specific purpose:
- Noah – 40 days of flood,
- Moses – 40 days on Mt. Sinai,
- spies (Caleb, Joshua) – 40 days in Canaan,
- Elijah – 40 days of strength from a single meal,
- the whole city of Nineveh – 40 days to repent,
- Jesus – 40 days fasting in the wilderness before beginning his earthly ministry,
- Jesus – 40 days giving convincing proofs of his resurrection – appearing to his disciples many times)
- Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene
- The other women at the tomb
- Peter in Jerusalem
- 2 travelers on the road to Emmaus
- 10 disciples behind locked doors (minus Thomas)
- 11 disciples (including Thomas who had doubted)
- 7 disciples while fishing on the Sea of Galilee
- 11 disciples on the Mt. of Galilee
- 500 people at the same time
- James, his brother
- To those who saw him ascending into heaven
- they were the first eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection
Who is a witness?
One who saw with his eyes, heard with his ears, touched with his hand, experienced with his life.
Sometimes you can see signs on the street that say, “We are looking for witnesses of XYZ car accident, etc.”
- In court, even 1 witness is enough to establish a car accident or murder.
- 2 are enough for high treason.
- 3 are enough for the execution of a will.
- 7 are enough for the execution of an oral will.
Imagine, there were more than 500 eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection at that time. So, we should listen to their witness / testimony.
If someone says, “I’m a witness that there was NO car accident because I, personally, didn’t see it” then he is just foolish. He has no right to become a witness of an accident he didn’t see. He just must be silent in this matter and must listen to the true witnesses if he wants to know what truly happened.
- 10 people say, “I say a tiger on the mountain – I saw him yesterday.”
- 10,000 people say, “No, sorry, I didn’t see him. There must not be one.”
10 vs. 10,000 – whose witness / testimony is trustworthy? Whoever saw the tiger and didn’t get eaten – the 10 people.
These 10 people have the RIGHT to become witnesses of this event because they SAW this event. But 10,000 people have no right to become witnesses of the ABSCENCE of the tiger because they didn’t see it.
Jesus gave many convincing proofs of his appearance. History records that he appeared in bodily form many times after his death and resurrection, proving that he was alive.
His resurrection TOTALLY, COMPLETELY changed their lives.
- At Jesus’ death – all of them scattered, abandoned, betrayed him – even with a curse. At his death, they were disillusioned, fearful, disappointed – total losers.
- After seeing the resurrected Christ, they were fearless and risked everything to spread the good news of Christ all over the world. They faced even imprisonment, beatings, sufferings, martyrdom. Yet, they never compromised their mission to preach the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.
- Nobody and nothing could stop them after the resurrection. These men would not have risked (and given up) their lives for something they knew was a lie / fraud. They KNEW he had been raised from the dead because many of them had SEEN him.
- Many of the early church members were filled with a holy fire and passion to tell others about this event. Even many of the eyewitnesses gave up their lives for their loyalty to the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
- Would they have sacrificed their lives for what they believed to be untrue? No. They proclaimed the resurrection of Christ at the risk of their lives. The disbelieving disciples believed when they saw the effectiveness, drive, passion of those who had seen him.
We can have confidence in their witness / testimony. 20 centuries later (today) – we can know that we have a faith based on a historical fact.
One of the keywords of ACTS = witness.
In this book, this word appears 29 times – in either verb or noun form. Out of 66 books in the Bible, the word “witness” appears the MOST in this single book.
Please, if you believe in the resurrection of Christ, if you have experienced his resurrection power in your life – changing your attitude, values, interests, purpose, you are a witness of his resurrection. You are TO BE a witness of his resurrection.
Remember, believing and NOT witnessing (keeping silent) is impossible and self-contradictory. If you do not believe in his resurrection, then you have no right to say, “He didn’t rise because I didn’t see and I don’t believe.” Rather, you must keep learning and listening to the testimony of the witnesses of the Word of God.
Jesus ascended into heaven not to leave us, but to be with us always, anytime, anywhere. Jesus went to heaven – not to say, “Goodbye, see you later, live well” – but rather to BE WITH US everywhere, anywhere, all the time, every time – through his Holy Spirit.
Do you not feel that Jesus is still alive and still appearing to you, in the very place where you are? Jesus rose again from the dead and is still alive. Jesus is not the one who was in the past alone, but:
- HE WAS
- HE IS
- HE WILL BE
Are you Christian?
- Christians are those who carry on the life of Christ in this world though your own lives.
- We are witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.
God bless you to be witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.