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An Empty Tomb and a Risen Lord

When we dip ourselves in the waters of the fourth chapter of the book of Acts, we get a look at a church that was living out the resurrection. Here are some of the things we see:

1. Some people were disturbed (v. 2). The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection while others thought it was something that would happen only on the last day (John 11:23-24). They definitely didn’t want to think the itinerant preacher from Nazareth they had executed had been resurrected. 

Did Jesus rise from the dead? All the enemies of Christ had to do to stop the movement dead in its tracks was to produce the body of Jesus. Do this and it’s all over, everyone goes home. But they didn’t because they couldn’t!

2. Some people were inspired to be courageous (v. 13). A couple of months before, Peter was denying Jesus and John was running and hiding. Now they are standing before the authorities and proclaiming the risen Christ. What made the difference? An empty tomb and a risen Lord.

3. Some people couldn’t stop talking about the resurrection (v. 18-20). It was not simply that they weren’t going to stop talking (as in a matter of submitting their will to that of the authorities), it was that they couldn’t stop (due to the change that had come upon them). If the history and traditions are accurate, all the apostles except John went to a martyr’s death rather than be silenced about what they had seen and heard.

This is the transforming power of hope. When we begin to grasp what happened in the resurrection, we understand that we can be anything that God wants us to be. Through His power, we can transcend things that have previously stifled us.

4. Some people had their prayer life changed (v. 29). Again, a couple of months before Peter and John couldn’t stay awake with Jesus in Gethsemane. Now they can’t be kept from prayer. And their prayer isn’t that God will keep them from harm, it is that God will help them to speak boldly. Their prayer life had been resurrected!

Hope isn’t hope without the resurrection!  In our culture, where truth floats up from the bottom, people’s “hope” tends to be tied to what they can see in the future.  If the economy’s in the tank, health issues are on the horizon, then their hope tends to be downsized accordingly. In God’s kingdom, where truth comes down from above, our future is tied to what we can see in hope. When we see in hope is the power of God to bring victory out of defeat, good out of bad, and life out of death, then we understand that whatever hills or valleys might be in our future, they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). What we see in hope transcends our circumstances and transforms our lives.

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,” (Ephesians 1:18).

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