Confusion descended upon those who followed Jesus.
He was dead.
Their own lives were in danger.
The hope they felt as they were with him, was crushed.
Then, on walking on the road to Emmaus, a man joined them. They conversed about the current events, about a prophet believed to be the long awaited Messiah, but now he was dead at the hands of the Romans. Defeat may have laced their words, perhaps there was despair, maybe their heads were hung low as the dust kicked up beneath their feet.
In response came words of strong rebuke from this strange traveller, "He said to them, "How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken!"(Luke 24:25)
With all that is going on in the world the last few weeks, surely we have felt similar to the disciples. Uncertain about the future, plans we made are dissolved, and the danger of anxiety and panic can fall over us.
We can find ourselves hanging our heads in defeat and despair.
Do we find ourselves unwise and slow of heart to believe?
The disciples each had their own personal experiences with Jesus. They had their own thoughts and feelings; some were pummelled by doubt, another with guilt.
They each walked their own path to belief; a question repeated three times, a time of teaching along a dusty road, hands that felt the marks.
But believe, they did. With eyes opened by the Holy Spirit, who then empowered them, these men went out into the world, proclaiming a resurrected Christ; a Gospel born in suffering and sacrifice, sustained in a life resurrected, and, even now, is awaiting completion.
The resurrection has changed everything.
In his new book, Alive: How the Resurrection of Christ Changes Everything, Gabriel Fluhrer shares with the reader the importance of Jesus' resurrection and what it means for us today.
In 7 chapters, he walks us through the historical reality of Christ's resurrection, what Scripture teaches us about resurrection- from the Old Testament and the New- and how a resurrection life is a spirit-filled life.
He reminds us that we live in a time when miracles and the supernatural are pushed aside. Difficulty believing in life after death is a challenge, and it is easy for the 'enlightened' world to reject truth. Knowing the truth and the evidence provides us a foundation for the challenges of unbelief we may face, either our in own doubts or those of others.
He takes us through the Scriptures, where we see that resurrection was taught, of both our souls and that of the coming Christ. Eyewitness testimony written in the Gospels assures us that the resurrection was verified by others. The Acts of the Apostles convict us of the implications for believing, as we meet the first martyrs. The Word of God that we hold to carries the beauty of the Gospel and the hope of resurrection.
And, he points us toward living a resurrected life, a spirit-filled life. As believers, we are united with Christ by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This unity we have with Him embodies the reason why life is so hard, because "the irreversible pattern, both for Jesus and His followers, is suffering, then glory."
Before we experience resurrection, we will experience suffering.
This is the place where we can be empowered with the Spirit, "for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:10).
I am no stranger to suffering, neither are you. You know what it's like to sink in that valley. Even right now, skeptical and unsure what the future holds, life is hard.
So, will we hang our head in defeat, or will we choose to believe?
The resurrection of Christ changes everything, how we live and how we believe. My prayer is that we acknowledge God in our weaknesses, even in our unbelief at times, and hold on to the truth we have in the Word of God; that we seek Him in all of our life right now, in the pain, the loss and the sorrow; that our eyes would be opened to see the Traveller beside us, teaching us and walking with us.
What does His resurrection mean to you?
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to post an honest review!