Alpha Ministries, Inc
|Posted on 8 April, 2021 at 9:45|
History reveals some exciting but also tragic times for the followers of Jesus after his victorious resurrection from the dead. The excitement felt by those who loved Jesus and mourned his death could not be contained when they saw him alive and in his glorified body. They were eyewitnesses to the fulfillment of his promise to rise again from the dead. Luke simply says, “They worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” Although they did not yet fully understand all that it meant, they could not help but share their ecstatic joy with others.
In strong contrast to the disciple’s joy was the fear, guilt, and pride of their rulers. They were afraid of losing their control over the people, guilty because they had violated their own laws in murdering Jesus, and so proud they refused to admit the obvious fact of his resurrection. These fleshly motivations would culminate in their hatred for and persecution of those who believed. In the historical book of Acts Luke describes in detail both the rejoicing of the followers of Jesus and the tragic persecution they suffered at the hands of their government. While the times and culture have changed the battle between good and evil remains the same today.
In anticipation of the conflict between good and evil Jesus gave his followers the key to victory. His promise to all of us who believe in his resurrection is to be with us always amid this battle. To those first disciples he said he would not leave them helpless as “orphans” in this world but would send “another of the same kind of Comforter”, the “Spirit of Truth” to not only be with them but also be in them. Luke records the great audio-visual display of the coming of the Spirit to empower the followers of Jesus in Acts chapter two as well as other historical events through out his account. Clearly, the resurrected Christ has come into the world through his Spirit to continue his work among men insuring his victory over evil through resurrection power.
That same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in us to make our sin-cursed mortal bodies come alive with the very life of Christ (Romans 8: 11). Through his resurrection power the indwelling Holy Spirit is continually leading us, teaching us, guiding us into all truth, and empowering us with the mind and character of Christ. What that looks like practically is not in religious activity, but in the very character of Christ described by Paul as the “fruit of the Spirit”. He produces in us the same love, joy, and peace that Jesus experienced while he was here in this world. He empowers us with the longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness that makes us act like Jesus did in our relationships. And finally, he gives us the faith, meekness, and self-control that allowed Jesus to fulfill his ministry on earth.
It is the fruit of the indwelling Spirit of Christ that gave his followers the name “Christian” meaning Christ-like. The disciples of Jesus not only rejoiced in his resurrection but also displayed his character through the resurrection power of his Spirit living within. It is the display of the character of the living Christ in those who follow him that tells the world today “he’s alive!” In our homes, on our jobs, and in our communities displaying the character of Christ in the power of his Spirit makes each of us witnesses of the fact that he is risen.