The arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus were shocking and devastating news and experiences for His disciples. Their joy, confidence and hope were suddenly terminated, crushed and shattered. They were completely disoriented, perplexed, and frustrated!
After Jesus’ arrest, the confused and fearful disciples scattered everywhere, seeking for where to hide their shameful faces (John 20:19).
Even Peter, the bravest one among the early disciples of Jesus, who dared to follow Jesus during His trial, could only follow at a distance. Moreover, according to Jesus’ words, before a rooster crowed, he had denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62).
That period was indeed the darkest hours for the early disciples of Christ. This was simply because they chose not to believe Jesus’ prophecies about His suffering, death, and resurrection.
How many terrible things we also suffer and go through today because we choose not to believe God’s promises and words!
At first, the good news of Christ’s resurrection brought by Mary Magdalene, who was the first to see the risen Lord Jesus, were considered as idle tales and discarded by the fearful and doubtful disciples (Luke 24:11). That clearly showed their ignorance and unbelief!
John testifies, “For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” (John 20:9 NKJV).
However, all things changed dramatically when the risen Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples where they were hiding for the fear of the Jews, and “He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.” (Mark 16:14 NKJV).
Having seen their risen Master and being fully persuaded that He had conquered death, the early disciples of Christ never remain the same. The impact of Christ’s resurrection on the early disciples was enormous and marvellous!
If the resurrection of Christ does not have the same tremendous effects upon our lives and faith today as Jesus’ disciples, then something is definitely wrong with us.
Let us consider some of the tremendous effects of resurrection of Christ on His early disciples.
First, Christ’s resurrection gave the early Disciples of Christ a new perception and revelation of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of Christ gave His disciples a new and deep understanding of His divinity, glory and power. It radically and permanently changed their knowledge and understanding of who Jesus truly was.
As never before it now dawned upon them that Jesus was more than just a prophet, a healer, a miracle worker or a teacher. But that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world, the great High Priest, the Prince of Life, and the Lord of lords and the King of kings (John 20:26-28).
All that the disciples of Christ had before was just a mere mental knowledge of Christ, but the resurrection gave them a true revelation or experiential knowledge of Christ.
Similarly, the resurrection of Christ should deepen our spiritual knowledge of Christ. It should bring to our understanding a new dimension of Jesus’ glory, dominion and power.
Second, Christ’s resurrection gave the early disciples of Christ fresh perspectives and insights into God’s redemption plan for mankind.
After the death and resurrection of Christ, the early disciples now saw the Old Testaments in a new light. They could now see and understand clearly that Jesus Christ was the perfect antitype of all the sacrifices and offerings for sins under the Law, and how He had completely fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies.
Beyond any doubt, after the resurrection of Christ, the disciples now clearly understood Christ’ mission on earth, the unique role He had played and accomplished in the redemption plan, and also their God-given role and responsibility in God’s redemption plan.
Similarly, Christ’s resurrection should give us fresh insight, revelation, and understanding of the Old Testaments. We should now be able to see Christ clearly in the pages of the Old Testaments. We should also now have a clear and deep understanding of God’s redemption plan and be able to locate our unique place and role in the plan.
Third, the resurrection of Christ also revived and increased the faith, confidence and boldness of the early Disciples of Christ.
The appearance of the risen Lord Jesus to His disciples in their hiding place delivered and brought them out of their depth of despair and bondage of fear.
Now that the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead and thus demonstrated His authority and supremacy over death and grave, there was nothing left to fear. Death, their greatest fear, had been swallowed up in victory publicly, perfectly, and permanently!
After the resurrection of Christ, the early disciples were no longer afraid of dying for Christ’s sake. Why would they anymore, having now realized that their Lord now hold in His hands the keys of Hades and Death?
As a result, they became powerful, bold and fearless witnesses for Christ, going everywhere and proclaiming that Jesus was indeed the Christ – the Messiah. No persecution or threat could silence them.
They boldly replied those who threatened them, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20 NKJV).
Beloved, if you are still in the depth of despair and in bondage of fear of death, it means you have not caught the revelation of the resurrected Jesus. If you are still a timid witness of Christ, it means that the risen Lord Jesus Christ has not yet been revealed to you.
Why not ask the Holy Spirit today to reveal to you the risen Lord?
What you need to have as a believer is not a mere intellectual knowledge of the risen Lord, but a revelation or experiential knowledge of the risen Lord Jesus.
Nothing delivers from the fear of death, despair or hopelessness as a true revelation of the risen Messiah!
Fourth, the resurrection of Christ gave the early disciples a new sense of their calling and purpose.
Though the Lord Jesus had given them various assignments to do during His earthly ministry, they were yet to fully comprehend their divine calling, purpose or mission in life.
But the resurrection shone great light upon their hearts and their mission in life. They now understood that they were not called only to be followers or disciples of Christ, but also to be His witnesses and apostles (Luke 24:46-48).
When the risen Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples, His words clearly expressed their new calling and mission. Jesus said to them, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21 NKJV).
Jesus also commanded them, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Matt. 28:19-20 NKJV).
If you are not a passionate witness of Christ, you have not truly and personally encountered or known the risen Lord Jesus Christ!
Fifth, the resurrection of Christ completely and permanently changed the early disciples’ mentality, mindset, and outlook to life.
The revelation of the risen Lord Jesus to the early disciples revolutionized their thinking, perception, interpretation and response to persecutions, tribulations and challenges of life they faced. It undoubtedly deepened their love and passion for Christ and His Kingdom.
Apostle Paul states, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor. 5:14-15 NKJV).
“For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom. 14:8 NKJV).
The resurrection of Christ should also change our attitudes to life and death. If you are still living only to please or satisfy yourself, then your eyes have not seen the risen Lord Jesus. If you are still afraid of persecution for Christ’s sake, then you have not known the risen Lord Jesus.
Lastly, the resurrection of Christ greatly helped the early disciples to re-set their affections and their priorities in life.
Having been fully convinced by Christ’s triumph over death and grave that their hope in Christ transcended this present life, the disciples of Christ now set their minds and affections on things above and not on things on the earth (Col. 3:1-3).
Knowing that they would live and reign forever with their risen Master after death, the early disciples of Christ gladly poured out their lives as a drink offering to God. They endured affliction, persecution, and hardship, and fought the good fight of faith, fulfilled their ministry, and kept the faith till the very end (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
If your mind or affection is still set on the fleeting things of this world, and if you are still living for now and not for eternity, then you need a fresh revelation of the risen Messiah.
If you are still holding back your life, time, strength, money, talents, gifts or any resources from the Lord Jesus and His service, then you are yet to have a clear and personal revelation of the risen Lord Jesus.
Beloved, when you have a personal revelation and encounter with the risen Lord Jesus, like the early disciples, your life and faith will experience a radical change to God’s glory, and nothing will be too dear or precious, not even your life, to offer to the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit today for a fresh, clear and deep revelation of the risen Lord Jesus Christ!