The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances. — Robert Flatt
Information alone rarely changes lives. But when someone experiences the truth, their future is often changed for good. This is certainly the case with Jesus. Sure, people’s lives get changed for all sorts of different reasons, but the transformation that we see in the disciples’ lives is irrefutable evidence that they believed they had encountered the living Christ.
Remember the disciples back in the Garden of Gethsemane? At the first threat of real danger, “everyone deserted him and fled” (Mark 14:50). But then, “Bam!” Just like that, something changed. These guys became radical and fearless, willing to give their lives in the name of Jesus Christ. What happened?
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)
This encounter with the living Christ completely transformed them from men who were hiding behind “doors locked for fear of the Jews” into an unstoppable team. History and tradition show us that the disciples were tortured, exiled, and killed because they wouldn’t shut up about their encounter with the resurrected Christ.
- James of Zebedee was beheaded in A.D. 44.
- Philip was scourged and crucified in Phrygia.
- Matthew was martyred in Ethopia in A.D. 60.
- James was stoned and clubbed in A.D. 94.
- Matthias (Judas’ replacement) was stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem.
- Andrew was crucified in Edessa.
- Peter was crucified.
- Bartholomew was beaten and crucified in India.
- Thomas was thrust with a spear.
- Simon the Zealot was crucified in A.D. 74.
- Judas of James was crucified in Edessa in A.D. 72.
- John was exiled to Patmos.
We can truthfully say that billions of people can testify to the change that the resurrected Christ has made in their life! Yes, I believe that information is important. That’s why we are so committed to telling the truth from the Scriptures. But it has to go from head knowledge to a living, relational experience with the risen Christ.
Risen Christ, I don’t want to just know about You. I want more than just the facts that show You rose from the dead. My heart yearns for You. My heart seeks You. I am open to experiencing You today, on a personal level, in any way that You choose! Amen.