In John 21, after the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we read that Peter announced to the disciples that he was going back out to fish. There is a sense that even though Jesus was victorious, even though He was raised from the dead, that Peter’s failure, his denial of Jesus would bench him. Instead of embracing Jesus’ victory as his victory as well, he either saw himself as disqualified or he didn’t understand how the Resurrection of Jesus could propel him forward. Now, mind you, Jesus had already appeared to the disciples. Peter had seen him at least twice before, but for some reason, Jesus’ resurrection didn’t seem to be something with personal implications for Peter. Instead of seeking to live a Resurrection life, Peter sought to live a regular life. So, Peter tried to go back to what he knew. He tried to go back to life as usual. A former fisherman, he returned to fishing.
Jesus wouldn’t allow him to return to the ordinary. Through yet another miraculous catch of fish followed by a heart-to-heart talk, Jesus reminded Peter what he had been called to do. Jesus’ Resurrection was proof that anyone could follow God’s plan and be victorious!
Peter’s life also shows us that when you embrace the Resurrection your faith moves to the streets. The disciples, along with other Christ-followers, were all together in one place. Suddenly, there was a loud sound, like the blowing of a violent wind that came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2
The disciples heard the sound of Pentecost in a dramatic way, and that hearing, that experience cause others to hear something they had never heard before. There were tons of people gathered in Jerusalem. Acts 2 says they were from every nation under heaven. They were in town for the Pentecost Festival.
6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
Notice something here, the sound the disciples heard was the sound of a violent wind. That sound, however, got translated to those who were in town for Pentecost. They didn’t hear the wind, but they heard the Word of God in their own native language. The way the disciples had been invaded by the Holy Spirit enabled them to invade the streets of Jerusalem with the Word of God.
Jesus’ Resurrection was proclaimed by Peter with such authority, such clarity, such holy boldness that 3000 people got saved! Peter had embraced the Resurrection. How do I know? I know because he realized that the Resurrection was a must-experience for everyone. I know because he didn’t keep silent when people had questions about what they were hearing. I know because he challenged every listener to repent and be baptized. He made a point to say that the Resurrection and Holy Spirit filling were for everyone in verse 39. Peter knew that the law with its rules and regulations and sacrifices and limitations could never save people. He knew they needed a personal resurrection, a heart change, a life change, a purpose change. The 3000 who were saved weren’t in the same prayer meeting that Peter and the other disciples were in. They were in the streets.
People need to hear about the Resurrection in their native tongue. What I mean by that is, you and I need to be talking to non-believers. You have the ability to connect with and reach people in ways that I never will. You speak other languages than I speak. Some of you speak “teenager-ease.” Some of you speak “old-geezer-ease.” Some of you speak “down-and-out-ease.” Some of you speak “Prodigal-son-ease.” Some of you speak the language of pain and hardship that others you know can hear and understand. Let folks know how the Resurrection is changing and challenging you. Let people know how the Resurrection has called you into a new way of living life.
In Acts 4 Peter and John were actually put in jail BECAUSE they were proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead (vs 2). The Resurrection message landed them in jail! Isn’t that ironic? The experience that freed Jesus brought Peter jail time. But as a result, verse 4 says that many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand!
When questioned before the rulers, elders and teachers of the law, Peter didn’t back down. Here it is beginning in verse 7: 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
What I want you to see is that Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered their question and included the Resurrection in his answer. He just worked it right in. He was asked by what power or name he had healed a crippled man. He wasn’t asked anything about the Resurrection. He just steered the conversation. He saw it as an opportunity, and in answering the question, he gave them more than they asked for. He gave them the Resurrection story!
Look at verse 18 of Acts 4:18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” They wouldn’t be swayed. They wouldn’t be deterred. They weren’t backing down. When you live a Resurrection Life there is no backtracking. There is no backing down. When Jesus ran out of that grave, you ran out with Him, and nothing and no one will keep you down, just like nothing and no one could keep Jesus down.
Are you living the Resurrected Life? Here is what I know. A Resurrection can only follow a death. You can only be raised to the kind of life Jesus lived and the kind of life Jesus desires for you to have if you will die to your current way of living. If you are in one day and out the next, you have to die to that. If you are only open to talking about Jesus to a point or only when you know you are in the majority or only when you are in church, you have to die to that. If you allow pressure from other people to deter you from talking about the Risen Lord, you have to die to that.
And if you are still what the Bible calls “Dead in your trespasses and sins” because you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, it is time to die to that. You can only have the grave clothes of sin taken off of you if you will lay your life down. There will be no Resurrection into eternal life without taking that step. Only Jesus can remove your sin. You can’t do it through your own goodness or self-effort. Dying to sin and being made alive in Jesus is the best possible life because Resurrection changes everything. It makes you a new person from the inside out. It places you as a Brother or Sister in the Family of God. It gives you a pathway to God and gives you access to the power of the Holy Spirit, something I wouldn’t ever want to live without.
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. Luke 9:23-24
To embrace the Resurrection you have to be willing to die. Die to sin. Die to the opinion of others. Die to your expectations of how life with Jesus should look. Jesus went all-out for us. Can go all-in with Him?
Let’s not just embrace Jesus. Let’s embrace the call and power of the Resurrection today!