By Julian Wells
“But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” (Acts 13:30-32 NIV)
An encounter with the resurrected Christ transformed Paul overnight from the chief persecutor of Christ’s followers to his most fervent proclaimer. The reality of the resurrection transformed the disciples from cowering cowards after Jesus’ crucifixion to bold witnesses after he later appeared among them.
Christ’s resurrection was central to Paul’s preaching and is the foundational pillar of our faith in Christ. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul went so far as to say that “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14 NIV)
As Christians, the resurrection is the source of our hope, the antidote for our grief, the confirmation of the deity of Christ, and the promise of our own resurrection to live eternally with Him and one day be reunited with loved ones who share our faith.
After Paul’s first message in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch from which the lead passage above is taken, Acts 13:44 tells us that “on the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” People respond to the Gospel when it is delivered plainly, purely, and with the Spirit’s power- especially when that message is delivered by someone whose life reveals the kind of transformation that people observed in Paul after his encounter with the resurrected Christ.
Lord, like Paul, I want to experience the transformative power of your resurrection. (Philippians 3:10) May its reality and the promise of my own echo in my writings and resound in my testimony that I may be a more effective witness for you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NIV)
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26 NIV)