The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

He is alive now! (PDF) PDF version

He is alive now!

This month Christianity is celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I would like therefore to use this opportunity to have a look at this event.

1. Resurrection: Not an event of the past

Most historical events concern actions of men that are not present any longer. In contrast to these, the resurrection commemorates the fact that Jesus Christ, though died on the cross for man’s sins 2.000 years ago, HE IS STILL ALIVE TODAY! Three days after His crucifixion, God raised Him from the dead!

Peter, summarising the events of crucifixion and resurrection, said on the day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:22-33
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves also know – him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; WHOM GOD RAISED UP, HAVING LOOSED THE PAINS OF DEATH, BECAUSE IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE SHOULD BE HELD BY IT. For David says concerning him: “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh will also rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in your presence.” Men and brethren let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God has sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. THIS JESUS GOD HAS RAISED UP, OF WHICH WE ARE ALL WITNESSES. THEREFORE BEING EXALTED TO THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD, HE POURED OUT THIS WHICH YOU NOW SEE AND HEAR”

Jesus Christ is not a personality to be remembered only by history. He is not someone that lives only through his written teachings. In contrast, Jesus is an alive and active personality NOW! He is seating at the right hand of the throne of God NOW! He is pouring out the same spirit that He poured out on the day of Pentecost, NOW! He came to the world to save sinners and He does this NOW! He is in you that believe in Him, NOW! JESUS IS ALIVE NOW AND will be alive forever! AMEN.

2. He is alive now: He is blessing us

In Acts 3 we read:

Acts 3:18-20
“But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all his prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, SO THAT TIMES OF REFRESHING MAY COME FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, AND THAT HE MAY SEND JESUS CHRIST, WHO WAS PREACHED TO YOU BEFORE”

And Acts 3:26
“To you first, God having raised up His servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities”

Jesus Christ is the most important one in history. Yet, He is not just “history”. He is the most significant one to be remembered. Yet, He is not just a memory. Jesus is much more than this: HE IS A REALITY! A reality revealed to everyone that believes in Him. As He was revealed to Paul, in Acts 9:

Acts 9:1-6
“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Paul was armed from top to bottom with one single purpose in mind: to kill the Lord’s disciples. He had never imagined though, that on the way he would meet the Lord himself! He probably thought that he was dead. But HE WASN’T! HE WAS ALIVE, and his revelation to Paul that day turned the once great persecutor of the church to the great apostle we all know.

Turning to us, the same Jesus that was revealed to Paul that day is also revealed to men and women today. As Jesus himself said in John 14:21

John 14:21
“He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I WILL LOVE HIM AND MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM

Jesus is ALIVE AND ACTIVE NOW, MANIFESTING HIMSELF to everyone that loves him.

3. Matthew 28:20

It was only some days after the resurrection, and in a mountain in Galilee, the disciples had an appointment with the Lord. There he gave them what came to be known as “the Great commission”. Matthew 28:18-20 tells us:

Matthew 28: 18-20
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE”

To many of us this commission is something WE have to accomplish BY OURSELVES. But I believe when Jesus gave it, he didn’t mean something like this. For, giving it, he also said: “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE”. In accomplishing the great commission and in serving the Lord, we are partners with him. He is the Head of the church, the one that gives commands and helps us to carry them out. His commands are NOT a missing leader’s commands. In contrast, they are the commands of an alive, active leader, who works together with his people TODAY, TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSES OF HIS KINGDOM.

4. He is alive now: He instructs us

In Acts 9, immediately after the Lord’s meeting with Paul, there is the record of Ananias, a disciple in Damascus. Let’s go to verses 10-18 and have a look at it:

Acts 9:10-18
“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hands on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priest to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake”

The only that Ananias knew about Paul was that he was someone that persecuted the Lord’s saints. It was the Lord himself that arranged for him to go and meet Paul. The Lord knows how to arrange things, though nothing may seem possible to be arranged. He knew how to arrange for Ananias to meet Paul. He knew how to arrange for another Ananias to come and meet YOU, when you called him.

And something else noteworthy: the Lord knows each one of us, as he knew Ananias: by name. He is the good shepherd that knows each one of his sheep, and each one of his sheep knows him. As he said in John 10:

John 10:3-4, 14-15, 27-29
“and he calls his own sheep BY NAME and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. ..I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD; AND I KNOW MY SHEEP, AND AM KNOWN BY MY OWN. As the Father knows me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep…. MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME. AND I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH; NEITHER SHALL ANYONE SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch out of my Father’s hand.”

The same good shepherd of John 10, the Lord Jesus Christ, is in charge of the sheep today as well. He knows us by name. he speak to us as he spoke to Ananias: calling us with our first name. May when he calls us we give him the same reply Ananias gave: “Here I’m Lord”.

5. “Where there are two or three….”

Most of us probably know the below passage of Matthew 18:20:

“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I’m there in the midst of them”

What this passage very plainly says, is that every gathering of believers done in the name of Jesus, brings Jesus in the meeting. Not of course as a passive visitor but as an active member. Do you remember those two that were on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)? They were discussing about the Lord, and the Lord joined them in person, explaining to them the scriptures and opening their minds to understand them. Exactly this happens today when believers are gathered in Jesus name: Jesus becomes an active member of the meeting, opening the minds and the understanding of those who want to learn about him. Through his spirit, he explains the Scriptures, he teaches, he admonishes. And wherever there are two or three gathered in his name, Jesus is there as well. He never misses an appointment.

6. He is alive now: He encourages us

We probably remember from the gospel records, the Lord to give strength and encourage the people. We probably remember him saying: “Be of good cheer”, “do not fear”.

Well, this has not stopped with the gospel records. Jesus is here today and as Hebrews 13 says “He is the same today, and yesterday and till the end of the age” (Hebrews 13:8).

As Paul characteristically said in Philippians 4:13

Philippians 4:13

He didn’t say: through Christ that strengthened me. It is PRESENT. JESUS STRENGTHENS US NOW.

Let’s see an example of the Lord’s encouragement as it is given in the book of Acts. The apostle Paul went to Jerusalem where the fanatic Jews captivated him and put him into prison. Probably no one else was able to reach him there. No-one, except one: THE LORD. As Acts 23:10-11 tells us:

Acts 23:10-11
“Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks. BUT THE FOLLOWING NIGHT THE LORD STOOD BY HIM and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

And later as Paul again said to Timothy:

II Timothy 4:16-17
“At my first defence no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. BUT THE LORD STOOD WITH ME AND STRENGTHENED ME, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion”

THE LORD STOOD BY PAUL AND STRENGTHENED HIM! Paul was not labouring for someone that said nice words and then died and the only that was left was his words. Who could stood by Paul then? PAUL AND EVERY ONE OF US, IS LABOURING FOR AN ALIVE LORD: THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Jesus of the gospels is not a historical but AN ALIVE JESUS, FULL OF THE SAME LOVE AND COMPASSION TODAY, FOR EACH ONE OF US.

7. He is alive now: He is coming back

Closing this short study on the resurrected Jesus Christ, we couldn’t forget the fact that as Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after the resurrection, so also he will come back from heaven. As the angels said to the disciples, who were gazing at Jesus ascending into heaven:

Acts 1:9-11
“Now when he had spoken these things, while they watched, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? THIS SAME JESUS, WHO WAS TAKEN UP FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YOU SAW HIM GO INTO HEAVEN”

Revelation 1:7

and Matthew 24:30-31
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, AND THEY WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY”

Jesus is coming back with power and great glory. To this, we say:

“Yes, come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:21)

Anastasios Kioulachoglou