Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Jan. 1-15 are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (Ph.D.) who is the AMI Teaching Pastor. He and Insil have been married for 28+ years and they have three children: Christy (teacher), Joshua (grad student) and Justin (college freshman). They live in Philadelphia.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Atheist Sam Harris, in his book The End of Faith (2004), writes, “Religion preaches the truth of proposition for which it has no evidence. In fact… no evidence is even conceivable.” A demand for evidence before believing an extraordinary claim is fair, and Harris would find Christ’s disciples in agreement. After all, upon being told by some women that they saw the resurrected Christ, “they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Lk. 24:11). What they demanded was “proof” as Thomas said, “Unless I . . . put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (Jn. 20:25). And Luke the physician states that that’s exactly what they got: “Many convincing proofs that he was alive.”
However, unfortunately for us, what were empirical evidences (i.e., based on sensual experience) for the disciples are now nothing more than a historical narrative to us, and in the hands of skeptics like Harris, mere myth or fable. So then, what makes resurrection, a scientific impossibility, a plausible event to us without having to check out our brains at the door before entering the sanctuary?
British historian and theologian N. T. Wright puts it like this (1999, pp. 138-9): “The crucifixion of a Messiah did not say to a first-century Jew that he was the true Messiah. . . . It said exactly the opposite.” Then “why [did] this group of first-century Jews . . . not only continued to believe that he was the Messiah after his death . . . but actively announced him as such in the Jewish as well as the pagan world, cheerfully redrawing the picture of Messiahship around him but refusing to abandon it[?]” Wright’s unequivocal answer: They saw a physically-resurrected Jesus!
If you, too, believe in the resurrected Christ, you need to live a radically different life than what middle-class Americans typically go after: comfort, security and wealth. Ask the Lord what small changes you need to start making in order to look like someone who believes that Christ triumphed over death.
Dear God, I thank You this wonderful morning for another day in which I can live in your presence. Once again I am reminded of the certainty of what I believe since my faith is centered on the historical death and resurrection of Christ. Help me, O Lord, to live a life that befits You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Peter 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Eph. 1:18-21: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Question to Consider
- Proving the resurrection of Christ is a great topic for apologetics (See “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell) but for those who already believe it, our focus on this extraordinary event must be placed elsewhere. Based on the above passage, what should be that focus?
- What does it mean that this resurrected power resides in us? What are we supposed to do with it?
- Is there anything in your life that is so dead that it needs resurrective power? Identify it then pray over that situation with the prayer of Paul found above.
- It is truly amazing to find that God’s “incomparably great power” that was utilized in raising Jesus from the dead resides in those who believe. Wow! Christ’s resurrection is not only a historical fact but a transformative power that can raise dead situations and relationships back to life again.
- The “application” of the resurrection in our lives is predicated upon problems and impasses that we cannot overcome humanly; in fact, these situations are dead. We should, first, pray over that situation with faith that the resurrection resides in us. Then, get up and do the things that we need to do within our control, whether it be filling out an application, making a call or going out for a run.
- For some pastors, it could be their ministry; for spouse, their marriage; for parents, relationship with their children; for businessmen, their sagging sales. But the approach is the same (See 2.).
Are you facing a dead situation? Or perhaps your loved ones or friends are facing it? You might pray for them by remembering the prayer of Paul in Eph. 1:18-21. I memorized it many years ago and have used it daily whenever I pray for each member of my family. You could find the same comfort in it.