The Living Christ

The disciples’ salvation depended on the fate of the Lord Jesus. All their hopes were based on Him. When He died on the cross, everything seemed lost to them. How sad and sorrowful the disciples were! To all appearances, Christ’s three-year teaching ministry had ended in a tremendous failure. They could no longer have fellowship with Him. The enemies rejoiced, and it seemed that the disciples had no choice but to return to their former occupations, discouraged and broken-hearted.

They could not preach a dead Christ. Who would have believed in such a Savior? Who would accept a Messiah who had pretended to help others and who could not, in the most crucial hour, help Himself? Could one assume that such a Savior possessed saving power? What could He now do for others? No, people would not trust a dead Messiah. 

But Christ’s resurrection changed everything. It gave them a living Christ. This glorious resurrection confirmed the truth of all His statements and teachings. It awakened a living hope in the disciples, as Peter himself testified. It gave them back their beloved Lord! He was not weakened by death and the grave but clothed with immortality and power as King of kings. Now they did not need to be ashamed to preach about Him. A living Christ was now working with them, a Christ who was exalted to the right hand of the living God and who had the power to save from sin and to keep from sin.

Yes, the great difference between Christ and others emerged at the Resurrection. When a teacher dies, his disciples only remember his teachings. But with the Lord’s disciples it was quite different. Their teacher had been restored to them. They knew His teachings, but He had been given back to them.

Just as Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets, and John the Baptist had died and remained in the tomb, they expected the same of Jesus. That is why they also went to the tomb. But here the angel asked them: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). Jesus was not in the tomb; He had risen! This Jesus wants to meet us on our journey through life, because we have a living Christ.

We are told that the disciples did not know the Scripture about Jesus having to rise from the dead. According to Scripture, they were well aware of this. Even Jesus had told them, but they had not understood it. 

Don’t we sometimes deal with the well-known story of Jesus’ resurrection in the same manner? Is this recorded historical fact in the Bible all we know about it? Or have we grasped and experienced its significance and importance in our own hearts? Is Jesus alive for us and in us? Does He reveal Himself to us? Is He known to us? Do we walk with Him? Has He become our inheritance, or are we merely content to know His teaching?

We may zealously represent the written Word. Our intellect may grasp it. If our love for Jesus wanes and only human energy spurs us on, we will experience loss! Only in fellowship with Jesus will we find the satisfying riches of lasting peace and eternal life. Only in Jesus is life. He is the living Christ, and He wants to have a living relationship with us. Christ is the core of Christianity. True life and true spiritual food are at its core. Doctrines, rules, and ordinances only serve their purpose if they help bring us into a more intimate relationship with Him. Having this intimate relationship with Christ truly makes us Christians. 

On that first Easter evening, after meeting their risen Lord on the road to Emmaus, the two disciples returned to Jerusalem with joy to bring the good news to the other disciples. The distance between Jerusalem and Emmaus was about twelve kilometers. Although the disciples were tired from the journey, we read: “And so they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem” (Luke 24:33). They had seen Jesus again and wanted to tell the other disciples.

Have we recognized Jesus in His fullness so that we are driven to bring the message to others? The revelation of the risen Lord moved those two disciples to act decisively. The revelation of Christ in our hearts will also spur us on to act.

The first day of that week was the beginning of a new experience, a new time. Before, the disciples had only known Jesus in the flesh, and when He died, their hopes were gone. But now they began to get to know Him according to the Spirit. Death lost its power. They were now united with a living Christ. Through Jesus’ resurrection, their sorrow was transformed into joy, their weakness into strength, and their defeat into victory. “The Lord is risen indeed!” was now their song of triumph. From that time on, Christianity was a power crowned with success, destroying the kingdom of Satan and planting the kingdom of God in the hearts of men.

 This can also happen to you, dear reader. When Jesus becomes a living reality in your life, sadness can turn into joy, death into life, and defeat into victory. 

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