It is always amazing for me to think about the change which occurs among the disciples after Jesus has been raised from the dead. In many ways, their transformation is astounding. Initially, the disciples are locked away and in hiding after Jesus has been executed. They are fearful for their lives. But in a short period of time, they go from being in hiding to putting their lives at risk for the sake of the good news of Jesus’ Kingdom. They go from heading back to their former ways of life (fishing for example) to risking living counter culture lives (See Acts 2:43-47). Even more, they go from being afraid of Caesar, as well as the Jewish leaders, to being defiant proclaiming there is only one Lord who is Jesus. (Just read some early church history and you will discover such defiance led to many of their own deaths). All to say, there is an astounding transformation. The resurrection and its promises become the lynchpin, the anchor, the deciding factor that transforms the disciples.
Such a sudden change is a rarity. It may take years for someone to change their minds or to get through a traumatic experience like the disciples had experienced. And yet, their experience of the Resurrected Christ altered their outlook on life, what mattered, and how they spent their time. They were willing to let go of their previous thoughts and understandings and lean further into the Kingdom mindset. Most of the early disciples didn’t keep one foot in one world and another foot in Jesus’ new world. Rather they lived with a deep seated conviction as to the veracity and reality of Jesus’ resurrection.
What would it look like to live with the same conviction today? How might our lives be different if the resurrection took full control in our lives? What would it require of us to let go? What fears hold us back? Even more so, what is the nature of Jesus’ resurrected kingdom? What are the characteristics we would live into and seek to sustain in the world? How does it look different from the world around us? These are all questions worth pondering and even answering with our lives. The Resurrection and its effects are world altering. The early church understood its power. May we grasp it and continue to strive toward it also!
Rev. Nathan Kilbourne