“When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:20 NKJV).
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, they now understood 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 Testament 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 Testament. We should now be able to see Christ clearly in the pages of the Old Testament. 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 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!
Find out more about the impact of Christ’s resurrection on His early disciples in the next piece.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I ask today for a personal and deep revelation of the resurrected Jesus Christ. My Dear Holy Spirit, open my eyes of understanding to the glory and power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.