Christianity had a humble beginning indeed: from 12 to 120 to thousands upon thousands. And now? The largest religion in the world.

But when we take a close look at its beginning we ask, “How did it even get off the ground?” And when we look at its internal problems we ask, “How has it survived and flourished for 2000 years?”

Resurrection power, that’s how. The power of God that was not expected has been unleashed. And it changes everything.

It changed the first followers:

  • Prior to their experience of the resurrection, some of them had vague notions of a bodily resurrection someday far off in the future but they had no idea of how a future resurrection and judgment radically alters one’s life here and now.
  • Prior to their experience of the resurrection, they may have had a conception of another world “out there” but they did not fully appreciate the implications of another world, a New Creation, breaking in on and radically changing this one.

Once they experienced that in-breaking, once they witnessed the empty tomb, after they had handled the resurrected Lord of Heaven and Earth, their new perspective changed them and they changed the world.

Take Peter and John for example. In Acts 4 we read,

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Act 4:13-20, NIV).

Peter and John had been radically changed by their experience. After their brush with the resurrection, when they had seen God’s New Creation in action, they knew that the so-called rulers of this realm are as illegitimate as the leader of the rebellion in that world, Satan.

And this new knowledge organized their new life in Christ. It allowed them to conquer this age, even if that meant being put to death.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They overcame [conquered!] him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

In Christ we are all “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). May God empower us to live as such!

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