Week 11 Devo – FRIDAY

Nothing We Endure Compares to All That Is Ours in Christ

On Good Friday night, the day of the Crucifixion, the disciples ran, scared. A few days later, they were more than willing to endure ridicule, imprisonment, mistreatment and even death.

As we have learned in this Bible study, the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is a realistic claim. Christianity is unique from other religions because the claims and beliefs can be tested. After all, they are confirmable. We can trust in the Resurrection of Jesus because of – not despite – the evidence. Antony Flew, the late non-Christian philosopher of religion, said, “The evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity.”

In the Greco-Roman world, death meant the end. There was no hope, only sorrow. The miracles performed in Jesus’ name after His Resurrection drew many converts. But it was the Resurrection and what it meant for humanity that the Roman world found especially compelling. This is why Jesus’ ministry was utterly remarkable. He not only predicted His own death and bodily Resurrection (Mark 9:31), but he charged His disciples to preach the kingdom of God and to “raise the dead” (Matthew 10:8). No wonder we read in the Gospels about large crowds following Jesus.

What message from Jesus makes Him most compelling to you?

It’s not hard to imagine why the early Christian movement spread so rapidly around the Mediterranean world. Jesus’ disciples were passionate eyewitnesses to the abundant life and resurrected body He promised. Peter and John said, “We are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

Most Romans had no confidence in an afterlife; none believed in resurrection. Even in mythology, stories of a return to life were rare and did not reflect beliefs concerning mortals. A common motto found on epitaphs in Roman late antiquity reads: “I was not, I was, I am not, I care not.”13 [Roger: Need footnote] If nothing else, it is an expression of hopelessness. But the Resurrection of Jesus changed everything. With His Resurrection, the promise of an authentic, verified afterlife for the followers of Jesus gained a whole new degree of gravitas. Jesus offered not “pie in the sky” but a promise grounded in an actual event – an event witnessed firsthand by several witnesses, not all friendly.

But the mockery, misrepresentations, caricatures, persecutions and occasional martyrdoms could not stop the Christian movement. Its message of a loving God, the example of a caring community in which every man, woman and child was wanted and valued, and the hope of life in this world and beyond, thanks to the Resurrection of Jesus, were irresistible. Many mocked but far more believed. They believed because they discovered that the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). That power of God is available to all who will turn from their sins and trust in Jesus. The Resurrection is for all who believe in the Gospel that saves.

What hope has this study given you in the Resurrection?

How are you being challenged to make a rooted belief in the Resurrection more central to your faith?

What passage of Scripture from this week has been most helpful and why?

1 Peter 1:3

Romans 8:18

Romans 5:5

Proverbs 4:18–19

Ephesians 2:12

Galatians 1:11–20

1 Corinthians 15:12–58

Acts 4:13–20