Faith: An Encounter With the Resurrected Jesus
New Creation Church
Jesus is alive! His disciples were shocked when He appeared to them after His resurrection; even though He told them that it would happen.
It can be hard to believe the words of Jesus. When He appeared to them, He rebuked them for their hardness of heart because they were slow to believe His words. “Surely His words are not more powerful than death,” they must have thought when they saw him crucified and laid in the tomb.
Saul of Tarsus was not one of the disciples that Jesus appeared to in that 40-day period after His resurrection and before His ascension to heaven. He was a pharisee and a persecutor of Christ and His church.
On the road to Damascus, he walked with his companions carrying letters of authority to arrest those who believed in Jesus. He must not have believed that Jesus had arose from death, though certainly rumors swirled after his body was missing from the tomb. He was still convinced that His best service toward God lay in persecuting the church.
He was blinded by that spirit of religion that pervaded the pharisees. It is prevalent yet today. Jesus appeared to him as a light brighter than the noon sun. From this light, a release of power knocked Paul to the ground. He encountered the resurrected Christ.
That glory encounter revealed his own blindness. He was left that day unable to see at all for a few days as God was working in his heart and opening his spiritual eyes to see clearly and accurately. The blinding spirit of religion had been removed from his heart by an encounter with the resurrected Christ.
God’s power hit Saul so hard it not only knocked him down, it knocked the S off the front of his name and put a P on there. That shockwave of resurrection power completely changed not only his vision and his name, but his entire life.
Lying on his back under this living power, He said: “Who are you Lord?” and “What would you have me to do?” Paul spent the rest of his life in pursuit of the answers to these two questions. He took the resurrection fire of Christ that filled him and began throwing it everywhere he went.
One theologian has said no great preacher has arisen to bless the people of God who has not lighted his torch at the flame kindled by Paul. Martin Luther said of Paul: “His words are living things with hands and feet.” Even after 2,000 years, Paul is preaching every week in a thousand languages, in a hundred thousand pulpits all over the world.
Paul’s ministry to the churches he established was marked with this same glory fire that he encountered on that road. It didn’t just knock him down and turn him around, it got inside of him.
To the Corinthians, he said my preaching was not with the wisdom and eloquence of man, but in the power and demonstration of the Spirit of God. He didn’t want their faith in man’s intellectual prowess, but in God’s power. His prayers for the church at Ephesus stress the need for an inner revelation and understanding that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is living inside of every believer. This unlimited power in the believer is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask, think, or even imagine! Let Paul’s example and prayer lead you to an encounter, not with religion, but with the resurrected Christ.
Jason Haskell is pastor of New Creation Church in Craig and a missionary to the nations. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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