Life: God’s Forever Gift

The ResurRection

“I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live,
even though he dies; and whoever lives
and believes in me will never die…
“O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?”
JOHN 11:25, 26 and CORINTHIANS 15:55

The Resurrection of Christ
“The Resurrection” by Nathan Greene, ©, All Rights Reserved, Used by Permission

Had the colossal crime of Christ’s savage crucifixion,
followed by His resurrection and ascension into heaven
been myth, His followers would have cut and run. Instead,
they put their own lives on the line, and summoned
courage from their wrenching loss, they prayed for Divine
guidance and launched a global mission, sharing a life-
transforming message, opening doors to a better today
and a forever tomorrow.

Men of faith dropped their nets and abandoned their boats to follow Him. They walked at his side; were transformed by His words; saw his agonizing crucifixion; and witnessed His resurrection and ascension into heaven. 

“After his suffering, he presented himself to them 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.

“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: 

‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.’

“Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?

“He said to them: 

‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” 

“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’ Excerpts from Acts 1.

Skeptics who viewed followers of Jesus nothing more than a sect of Judaism, were quick to charge Christ’s resurrection as nothing more than a sham, suggesting His body had been stolen away in the dark of the night, despite the Roman guard.

Instead of ascending directly into heaven following his resurrection, the risen, living Jesus remained on Earth for forty days to be seen by hundreds as witnesses to the reality of a living Savior. 

“Christ died for our sins…was buried…He was raised on the third day…He appeared to Peter, and the to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time.” I Corinthians 15:3-4

Followers of “The Way” had eyewitness evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Jesus, the only begotten Son of Almighty God, not only lived but offered salvation and eternal life to all who remained faithful to His promises. 

Had the resurrection been myth, no way would devout, intelligent humans have voluntarily put their lives on the line as martyrs to a fraud. 

Now, apparently leaderless, that apprehensive, handful of believers didn’t run for cover but assembled in an upper room, praying for Holy Spirit guidance. At that moment, sincere hearts, from sixteen diverse regions of the world, had gathered in Jerusalem to worship. 

They heard the once fearful Peter, now a courageous champion of “The Way,” speak with eloquent power. Other apostles joined in persuasively preach the gospel of the Kingdom to listers, assembled from 16 regions of the world to learn the truth about God. Des[ote the multiple languages represented in the audience, every assembled listener heard the gospel of the kingdom, miraculously, in their own language. 

In response, 3,000 new believers were baptized. The foundation for the Christian Church had been laid!!!

Inspired by Apostles like Peter and Paul, what had been seen as a small sect within the Jewish community, Christ’s message of peace, hope and abundant living, spread globally. No longer viewed simply as followers of The Way, “The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.” Acts 11:26 Powered by the Holy Spirit, the Christian Church had been born!!!

Christianity

“For John baptized with water, but in a few days
You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:5

John baptized Jesus by immersion in the River Jordan.
Early Christians followed Christ’s example by being baptized
in a church baptistry like this one in Provence, France.

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