CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Christ is Risen!
Personally Experiencing the Resurrected Lord
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
The evidence is in (since the 1st Century), and it's undeniable! Jesus really did die on the cross, and He really did resurrect!
Well, almost all of the evidence is in.
Yes, there's more than enough proof that Jesus Christ was crucified to death for our sins, was buried, and then on the third day raised Himself from the dead. But also, there's one more important step we should take to confirm it.
Let's say you're convinced by all objective evidence that your best friend has bought you a ticket to your favorite sports team's next game. That objective evidence — the ticket — is saying loud and clear, "Put on all your Lakers paraphernalia, get in the car, and go to the game!" If you believe it and you're able, why not actually fully enjoy for yourself what all the evidence is inviting you to experience? What practical good would it do for you if you only believed it but didn't also take the next step and redeem that ticket at the Staples Center door?
Okay, forget the Lakers' dismal record this season! Don't miss the point! The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (p. 345-347) suggests that, since all the objective evidence points to the fact that Jesus really did conquer death and that, therefore, He really is God Almighty as the Bible claims, then our next step is a final confirming test of that objective evidence — namely, our own personal interaction with our living, Risen Savior.
Of course, Jesus is Lord whether any of us personally experiences Him or not. But still, all the overwhelming proof that "He is risen! He is risen, indeed!" screams out for us to not just believe it to be true but to then take that truth further and experience it firsthand ourselves, even in the 21st Century.
But how? Especially 2,000 years after His death, resurrection and then ascension to the right hand of the Father in Heaven?
Well, as we consider the answer, let's first keep in mind that the Bible, not our personal, subjective experiences, is really the only final authority on who and what Jesus Christ is to us in our lives. It is the objective Word of God, not our experiences, that is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16) and more sure (2 Peter 1:15-21). In support of this fact, and measured by it, are our authentic experiences with our living Lord. Examples include:
— noticeable changes in our attitudes, behaviors and habits
— specific answers to our prayers
— specific confirmations of the truth of God's Word in real-life situations
— miraculous blessings, events or encounters at just the right time in just the right way
— an uncharacteristic sense of strength or peace through hard times
— that special sense of brotherly love among fellow believers, even if they're strangers
— an enduring hope and comfort in the midst of an increasingly evil world around us
In this sense of experience — experience that lines up with the Bible, experience that confirms truth and doesn't try to redefine it — we can see why it's something to desire, something that is safe for us to apprehend on a personal level for our own individual selves.
The Apostle Paul prayed for something similar for believers: "that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17b-19).
If we are convinced by the overwhelming evidence outside of ourselves that says loud and clear that Jesus is risen, we should be eager to take the next step and seek to relate to the resurrected Christ on a personal level every day. How? In obedience. In prayer. In praise and worship. In personal Bible reading. In ministering to others. In allowing others to minister to us. In sharing the Gospel with the lost. In expectation of Christ's Second Coming. And, in expectation of eternal life in Heaven with our Risen Savior.
Or maybe you are convinced but don't know if you have or don't feel that you have enjoyed the fullness of God that Paul was talking about, or like having a ticket to that game but deciding to watch it on TV instead. Jesus' resurrection from the grave is all the objective proof needed to know that He is Lord, no matter what you decide to believe or do in light of that proof. Just don't miss out on all the fullness of Him that you can experience in your own life.
Image Credit: Gustave Dore; "The Resurrection"; Public Domain
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Christian-Life
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Published on 3-30-15