We hear a lot of talk about how bad the Church has gotten today. Small mainline churches that have kept their integrity are dying. Mega churches have sold out integrity for showmanship. When Jesus started His church, the Pastor (Jesus himself) was being executed. The chairman of the board (Peter) was out cursing and swearing that he had never even been a part of the church. The treasurer (Judas) was committing suicide after embezzling the funds. Most of the rest of the board members (the apostles) had run away. A few ladies from the Women’s Fellowship were about the only ones who showed much faithfulness. Is there hope for the Church?
On the first day of the week, Sunday, becomes the day of the resurrection of Christ. Think about it. Three years Jesus has been their leader and now He is dead. They had heard Him say that He would be killed but that death couldn’t trap Him. Now the news is out that He is alive, or has someone simply stolen the body?
The doors are locked after the believers have gathered. The city was in an uproar as the news of Jesus missing body and the visit of the angel was spreading like wildfire. The disciples, having received the message from Mary, now had their first opportunity, as a group, to be together and talk about his news. Had Peter and John lost their minds? It had been a turbulent week and now they were without any leader. What were they going to do?
There were two churches in a small community in Nebraska, a Methodist church and a Baptist church. The Baptists were temporarily without a pastor when a deacon of the church died. The family asked the Methodist pastor if he would conduct the funeral service. This was his first year in the ministry and the Methodist pastor felt he needed approval from the bishop of the area. So he sent a telegram asking” “May I have approval to bury a Baptist deacon?” The bishop quickly replied with a telegram reading: “Bury all the Baptists you can!”
Something happened that evening that changed the lives of every person in that upper room. The implication is plain that Jesus passed through the closed doors.
There is no evidence that he came into their assembly in any miraculous manner.
But as if He had the power to dematerialize his body He was there. Peace be unto you.
The word of peace had relieved fear. He showed unto them his hands and his side.
Didn’t they recognize Him? But He was dead! There is nothing like seeing it for yourself to believe!
When I look at all the “resurrection” in the New Testament I wonder how it changed the lives of those individuals and their families? Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out. The only son of his mother, and she was a widow. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk…. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!”
Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
What makes a Church a Church anyway? It is not in the training. After three years the disciples still had difficulty believing. It is not the building. It is not the programs. It is not the music or the preaching. All of these things are important, but what really makes the Church the Church is believing that Christ is real and in our mist. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.””