Now that Easter is past, some will have packed away their religious views until Christmas, but an annual nod to the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, while not allowing this miracle to change their lives, is a far cry from what happened following the first Easter.
These early believers had been given a charge to change the world and now that Christ was risen their real work would begin.
The task given by the risen Lord to His followers in their post-resurrection meeting with Him must have seemed an impossible assignment. And there were many reasons to expect failure.
Peter, soon to be their spokesman, had recently denied he knew the Lord three times and women in the group had so doubted his promise of resurrection that they had come to his tomb with spices, hoping to preserve His body.
After the resurrection, Thomas couldn’t muster enough faith to believe it had happened, so for millennia he’s borne the dubious distinction of “Doubting Thomas.”
The survival of these weak ones as a group, let alone any hope of success in their mission, must have seemed doubtful indeed, but more than two thousand years later, millions continue to live by the fact that Christ arose.
Those first-century believers should be examples to all churches. They had none of our present day tools for outreach and worship but they were far more effective in multiplying their numbers than we are today. Without printing presses, radio, television and internet ministries or even church buildings, they effectively planted churches and by the end of the first century their number had increased from 120 to approximately 10 million.
In some areas, now considered essential, the infant church was powerless.
These early believers were without financial power. The members had to sell their belongings and pool their resources just to survive but they didn’t allow this money shortage to keep them from moving ahead by faith. If the church had waited until it was financially able, their work would never have begun.
Members of a local church needing to enlarge their building voted to go ahead with the project. A Christian family in the next county heard of their faith and later told me they had set aside a sizeable amount of money to donate to the needy church as soon as construction started.
But meanwhile, the faith of the members of the church had faltered, so they called another business meeting, took another vote, and rescinded their decision to build, not knowing about the waiting gift. These faithless ones still don’t know what their unbelief cost them.
The first-century church was also without political power. Neither the apostles nor members of their following could pull strings in high places. Their Master had said His kingdom was not of this world so they left politics to the politicians and set out to change society one person at a time. They soon became known as world changers. (Acts 17:6)
Be a world changer. Faith moves mountains. What mountains do you need to move?
Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” a book containing over one hundred of his best columns, is now available at your local or online bookseller.