Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Rest of the Story!

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.

Acts 1:3

For most of my life I have thought about a question which I have never asked anyone. For me that is rare. This is the question: When Jesus was making His forty days of appearing to His disciples and others after the resurrection what did He do between appearances? There is no record of Jesus staying with anyone overnight. He did spend some time with the two He met on the road to Emmaus but then He disappeared.

There were no “Jesus is alive come and see Him” statements after the resurrection. His appearances were all initiated by Him and choreographed by the Lord Himself. It is easy to see how even those who saw Him might come to believe that the resurrection was simply some kind of a vision and not a real bodily resurrection.

The answer to this dilemma is this: Jesus was not resurrected like His friend Lazarus was resurrected. Lazarus came back to life only to die again. Jesus came back to life never to die again!

The resurrection of Jesus was not a mere mortal having life restored to his dead body. The resurrection of Jesus was the first resurrection like the bodily resurrection His followers will experience when He returns. Jesus was alive again, but He was much more than alive. Jesus was not just alive He was “life.” During those forty days He proved that He was alive, but He also exhibited the fact that He had broken free from the dominance of this physical world over His body. He walked through walls. He disappeared and generally was not constrained by the “laws of nature.”

When the Bible speaks of our resurrection to walk “in newness of life” as we come out of the grave of water that is called baptism are we raised like Lazarus or like Jesus? If we are raised like Lazarus then our new life is temporary and we will once again come under the power of death. If we are raised like Jesus we will never again be “dead men walking” and we will no longer be constrained by the world around us. Does this mean that you will disappear or walk through walls like Jesus did? Well, if God’s purpose for your life will be fulfilled best by your disappearance or by allowing you to walk through a wall, prepare yourself for that experience. Whatever God has planned for you will happen if you continue to submit yourself to His will.

After the resurrection Jesus was different, very different. After your resurrection as a follower of Jesus you too will be different, very different. That is indeed the Rest of the Story!

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