Think about the impact that Christ’s stepping out of that tomb had on the “inner circle”. If there were 500 plus witnesses as Paul speaks of in 1st Corinthians 15, then there were 16 that were those closest to Jesus.
Think of what happened to ALL of them.
What changed that whole group of 16 who were each recorded in God’s Word as being the inner circle or Christ’s personal supporters? Here they are as we know them from the Gospels:
The eleven surviving apostles.
Mary the mother of Jesus.
Mary, the wife of Cleophas.
Salome, the wife of Zebedee.
Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward.
Every one of them was touched by the common belief that Jesus had conquered death and was ALIVE after He had died.
“Now the peculiar thing about this phenomenon is that, not only did it spread to every single member of the party of Jesus of whom we have any trace, but they brought it to Jerusalem and carried it with inconceivable audacity into the most keenly intellectual center of Judea, against the ablest dialecticians of the day, and in the face of every impediment a brilliant and highly organized camarilla could devise. And they won. Within twenty years the claim of these Galilean peasants had disrupted the Jewish church and impressed itself upon every town on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean from Caesarea to Troas. In less than fifty years it had begun to threaten the peace of the Roman Empire.”
What happened to the formerly fleeing and fearful band of disciples? What did they see and experience that forged them into a “dynamic force? Think of what they were. The disciples after the Garden of Gethsemane could be described as consisting of:
• a habitual doubter like Thomas,
• a rather weak fisherman like Peter,
• a gentle dreamer like John,
• his ambitious and easily angered brother James
• a practical tax-gatherer like Matthew,
• a few seafaring men like Andrew and Nathanael,
• and those other four we know so little about.
And made them such a dynamic force? ONE THING:
THEY SAW HIM!
Look at their confession on the Gospel by John 20:
v. 8 John saw and believed
v. 18 Mary confesses “I have seen the Lord!”
v. 25 Then the gathered disciples tell Thomas, “we have seen the Lord”.
v. 28 Finally Thomas says, “My Lord And My God!”
The great defining passage on the Gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Here, the Gospel is defined as the good news that –
• “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
• And that He was buried,
• and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
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