ROMANS 1:4-5 (ESV
“[Jesus] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations”
Prior to Jesus’ arrest, many of his closest disciples had stated that they were willing to die with their teacher if that’s where this movement was headed. However, their attitude quickly changed when the band of soldiers captured Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Only Peter and John kept an eye on their rabbi while he was questioned in the early morning hours. Before long, even Peter had denied his relationship with the Nazarene and went into hiding. Faithfulness to Jesus evaporated for all but John as the cost of discipleship became clear.
That was until after the resurrection. Encounters with the living Lord spurred the once timid disciples into a brand new chapter of life.
Although social pressure from the religious leaders against Jesus’ movement had not disappeared, the disciples were now eager to obey His commands. In fact, their willingness to speak about the resurrection was apparently all that was necessary to assemble the first, formal gathering of disciples in Jerusalem – a group which soon numbered to one hundred and twenty (Acts 1:15). As they sought the Lord and prayed, the Holy Spirit came.
The same spirit which raised Jesus from the dead began to dwell in those who repented of their sin and believed in the resurrection of Jesus. Notice the difference that God’s spirit made in Peter. He proceeded to publicly describe Jesus’ death and resurrection, quote Scripture and encourage others to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38a). His vocal invitation was clear: “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (2:21).
All of this came from a Galilean fisherman who had denied his involvement with Jesus just two months prior! He wasn’t an educated preacher or an experienced evangelist. However, Easter morning and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit emboldened Peter and many others with a new sense of purpose. As a result of their obedience to speak up and reach out, hundreds came to know Jesus and the global outreach of the church began.
Every disciple of Jesus is equipped with the same gracious gifts that were given to Peter. We have the Bible, we know the Easter story, we have access to a living relationship with Jesus and we have the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, we can easily forget that those God-given gifts are not for us alone. Together, they form the seeds of the gospel - seeds which are meant to be sowed within a broken world.
This Easter, let’s remember that the resurrection was just the beginning of the Spirit-led movement which uses ordinary people to reach friends, neighbors, cultures, and countries with the good news that salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
May the memories of Easter morning prompt us into the mission field right outside of our door. Lord, fill us with your heart for the world as we seek to share good news of your resurrection with others. Through Jesus, Amen!