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What are the significances of Christ’s resurrection? First of all, it’s a fundamental Christian doctrine. Moreover, there are other sides to this key belief as well. As to me, there are three key words about the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ: “Reinforce”, “Restore” and “Recommission”.
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to His followers have at least three implications:
first, the reinforcement of their conviction; second, the restoration of leadership; and third, to spur His followers to recommit themselves to discipleship.
Like I said in my previous sermon, God is the Lord of second chances. As Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He wanted to reinforce their faith, as means to give them a second chance to live out their faith.
1) Reinforce (Matthew 26:56; 28:16–17)
56But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. (Matthew 26:56 ESV)
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. (Matthew 28:16–17 ESV)
Reinforcing Their Faith
Let’s talk about the first word reinforcement. The physical post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to the disciples are means of faith reinforcement.
Disciples Go into Hiding
After Jesus was arrested by the Jewish authority, His disciples left Him and fled (Matthew 26:56). For the fear of being persecuted, the followers of Christ went into hiding.
The eleven disciples had followed Jesus for three years but after their teacher was arrested and crucified, their faith was falling apart. Apart from these disciples, the faith of other Christ followers were falling apart as well. If you were Peter, you might have thought, “My teacher that I followed for three years was dead, what should I do now?” Definitely, Jesus had foretold His followers about His violent death and miraculous resurrection, but most of them seemed to forget all about it (Matthew 16:21). In a simple sentence, their faith was crumbling. Without the belief and reality of resurrection, Christianity would fall apart. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His followers on many occasions. One of the reasons is to reinforce their faith. If you like, Jesus was giving them a second chance. Without a firm conviction in resurrection, we simply cannot claim ourselves as Christians.
Faith Being Attacked
How did you feel last winter? Many Canadians have some sort of winter blues or fatigue! It’s understandable because we live in a country with harsh winter months. Winter is long and miserable! Due to global warming, the climate change will be more severe. However, some people don’t believe in global warming. Honestly, you have to be an idiot in order to refute the reality of climate change. Harsh weather will damage your properties. Consequently, you might need new shingles or might have to reinforce your house. Have you heard of shotcrete? Due to heavy rain and corrosion, some mountain slopes would start to fall apart. There is a kind of building material called shotcrete. It is a kind of sprayed concrete. People usually reinforce faulty mountain slopes with shotcrete. Shotcrete is a good way to reinforce weakened mountain slopes. At times, our faith in Christ are falling apart, thus we need Jesus to reinforce our faith. Most probably, Jesus wouldn’t appear to us physically, but He will visit us with His grace and power.
Satan will instigate nonbelievers to attack the core beliefs of Christians. One of the key beliefs is the truth of resurrection. Satanic attacks are like bad Canadian weather – persistent and harsh!
Christ’s Pastoral Work
Pastoral ministry is crucial for a local church. Pastoral work can be categorized into two groups: negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement of pastoral ministry can be in the forms of feeding, strengthening, confirming, healing and instructing. Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd or the Pastor of pastors, appeared to His followers. In the post-resurrection appearances, Jesus definitely reinforced the conviction of His followers.
Head and Heart Knowledge
Let me ask you a question: have you ever finished reading a book on systematic theology? I did. In fact, I have read quite a few theological books. Don’t worry! Most believers don’t like systematic theology! Biblical doctrines can be hard and cold. Jesus told His disciples about His death and resurrection before He was crucified (Matthew 16:21). If you like, this is head knowledge, or rational knowledge. Jesus appeared to His disciples after He had overcome death – to them, it’s heart knowledge. Heart knowledge is experiential knowledge. When Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection, His followers could taste the reality of His resurrection. The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus serve two purposes; He wants His followers to have the head and heart knowledge of His resurrection.
The Evidence of Head Knowledge
A skeptical journalist, attempted to write a book refuting the resurrection of Jesus. After many researches, his opinion changed and he finally became a Christian. In his book, he concluded that no one would have any reason to steal the body of Jesus. The absence of Christ’s body would create chaos instead, therefore the Roman authority wouldn’t steal the body of Jesus because they wanted to keep the peace in Palestine. The Jews would not steal the body because they didn’t want the public to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. The disciples of Jesus had no reason to steal the body and later died for preaching something which was untrue. This book is all about the head knowledge of Christ’s resurrection.
The Evidence of Heart Knowledge
A young Jewish man attended an evangelistic meeting and later poked a question at the preacher, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?” The preacher testifies to the young man that Jesus lives. He is not dead, but lives here and now! He tells the young inquirer that he can prove it by his own experience, and many other Christians can testify to His living presence as well. Later, the preacher wrote a song called He Lives. The preacher speaks of his heart knowledge of Christ’s resurrection. The most important thing about the resurrection of Jesus is not in the past — “Christ rose” — but in the present — “Christ is risen.”
The first Christians didn’t do well in their faith journey. They were unsure of Christ’s resurrection. Jesus gave them a second chance by appearing to them, so that their shaky faith would be reinforced.
iEXP Bible Study
For the past five years, I have spent a great deal of time reading and reviewing my past years. Also, I have spent a great deal of time to study and to write. I am glad to announce that I have come up with a new Bible study method called iEXP. It stands for “I Experience.” It’s a Bible method comprises of head and heart knowledge. It’s a method that you can attain holistic growth and edify others at the same time. If you want to know more about it, you can visit my website.
2) Restore (Luke 22:31–34; John 21:15–19)
31“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,
32but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
33Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”
34Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”(Luke 22:31–34 ESV)
15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
16He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
18Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”
19(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:15–19 ESV)
Restoring Their Faith
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to many of His followers on various occasions. Jesus wants to restore their faith. If you like, the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus serve the purpose of faith restoration.
I like art. I admire skilled artists who repair and preserve paintings, sculptures and buildings. If I have time and money, I think I would learn art restoration. A few days ago, I am saddened to hear the horrific fire at Notre Dame. For sure this historical building needs restoration.
According to the Apostle Paul, Christians are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). Peter is God’s masterpiece and so are we; and because of that, if we failed in our faith journey, God would take the necessary steps to restore our faith. God is a God of second chances. After conquering death, Jesus appeared to Peter. By means of asking Peter a set of questions, Jesus attempted to restore the fallen leader. Concerning pastoral leadership, Jesus offered a second chance to Peter.
Restoring Peter’s Faith
After Jesus was arrested, Peter denied his teacher three times (John 18:17, 25–27; 21:15–19). After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter for a reason, that is, to restore the fallen leader.
Loss of Purpose
Before Jesus was crucified, Peter boldly declared that he wouldn’t forsake his teacher (Luke 22:31-34). In John 21, Peter led his colleagues to go fishing together. As you can see, Peter had lost his purpose to live for Christ. What is the purpose of being on earth? Dear Christians, have you lost the purpose of living for Jesus?
Loss of Direction
Peter had to live. Yes, he needed food and money to survive, but clearly, he had lost the direction to live for Christ. Do you have a direction to live for Jesus? Jesus can give you the direction to live for Him.
Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. What is the key meaning of these questions? In a simple sentence, Jesus is here restoring Peter to his place of leadership after his infamous three denials.
5 Setbacks of Christians
According to a survey, Christians and pastors have 5 common setbacks, namely: a loss of nerve, a loss of direction, erosion from culture, confusion of thought, exhaustion. We are all frail human beings, and we are prone to fail. The good news is we can be restored to full recovery.
Loss of Nerve
What are the symptoms of losing one’s nerve? We would become frightened or timid. The world is a scary place. As human beings, we would experience loss of nerve occasionally.
Loss of Direction
Our lives can be very routine. At times we might lose our direction in life.
Erosion from Culture
Modern culture is very corrosive. Pastors and believers, we should beware of it.
Confusion of Thought
Many people suffer from confusion of thought, and pastors and Christians aren’t excluded from it either.
Physically, spiritually and emotionally, believers would be exhausted at times. Brothers and sisters in Christ, pray for yourselves and pray your pastors on a regular basis.
Losing the Wonder
When people respond to our ministries, we often feel God’s awesome presence, but sometimes we might lose to feel this divine wonder. If you cannot feel God’s presence and power in your service, you would have to ask God to restore you.
Laziness and Hyperactivity
Weak Christians would appear to be lazy or hyperactive. These are signs of losing motivation to serve God. It’s easy to understand fallen Christians of being lazy. But, how come weak believers would become hyperactive? Like a child lost in a jungle, the more lost he or she feel, the faster he or she run.
Although Peter lost the motivation to follow and serve Christ, he appeared hyperactive. He was busy fishing but had forgotten that he should be fishers of people (fish for people) instead. As you can see, Jesus came to restore Peter’s motivation of serving Him.
Reflective Questions. Are you inactive in serving God? Or, are you serving God hyperactively? If we have lost the right motivation of serving Jesus, let’s ask Him to restore us.
3) Recommission (Matthew 10:5–6; 28:19–20)
5These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans,
6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:5–6 ESV)
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20 ESV)
Proclaiming God’s Kingdom to Israel Alone (Matthew 10:5–6; cf. 15:24–27)
In the early chapters of Matthew, Jesus commissioned His followers to proclaim God’s Kingdom to Israel alone.
Discipling All the Nations
For the benefit of the whole world, Christ recommissioned His disciples. It’s a universal mission. Previously, the disciples were commissioned to spread the Good News to His countrymen, and at one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, He recommissioned them to spread the Gospel to all people. Jesus is the Lord of second chances. In short, by means of recommissioning His followers, Jesus gives a second chance to Jews and non-Jews of responding to the Gospel.
London is a special place to me. In this city, I was born-again as a Christian. Also, I received the divine calling of being a preacher. Time has gone by so quickly. Almost forty years ago, I was commissioned to preach the Gospel. Throughout the past years, I was called to serve in various positions and churches. As Christ is so real to me, I am compelled to serve Him with the best of my ability. Five years ago, I sensed God’s calling for me to leave my pastoral position in an institutional church. I waited before God for the next assignment in my life. As some of you know, I started Kenneth Thumb Ministry on October, 2018. My heart and passion are to connect with seekers and disciple Christians. If you are interested to connect with nonbelievers, you are more than welcome to use my material. If you are keen of having head and heart knowledge, that is, growing holistically in Christ, you can use my resources.
Jesus commissions all of His followers to go and make disciples of all the nations, meaning you and I. Christ followers, we all have talents and spiritual gifts. We can utilize our God-given talents and gifts to connect with others, so that they would have the chance of knowing the Gospel. Do you want your loved ones to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ? Let’s try our best to spread the Good News around. Most important of all, we must lead others to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lord of second chances, and He would like to use us to channel His saving grace to all the people around us. At the post-resurrection appearances, Jesus came to reinforce, restore and recommission His believers. Let’s pray that we would have the right direction and motivation to live for Jesus!