PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART LII (52)
The Risen Christ allotted a special appearance to Thomas in the upper room. Then Jesus had a family reunion at the Lake of Tiberias in Galilee, and a transfer of leadership from Himself to Peter, after they had dinner. The transfer of leadership required a threefold pledge of Peter to serve the Risen Christ until death. The fact that the Risen Christ took out special time for Thomas is significant for every believer and follower of Jesus. The Risen Christ never leaves or forsakes us (Matthew 28:20).
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said o them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of he nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in he presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; bu that night they caught nothing.
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of he fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went abroad and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me” (John 20:24-21:19).
THE APPEARANCE OF THE RISEN CHRIST ACCORDING TO PAUL
Paul knew of Jesus special disclosures to Peter, his brother James, to Paul, and to more that five hundred witnesses at one time. It was an amazing accomplishment in forty days.
For I have delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more tha five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I but the grace of God which is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, the Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied (I Corinthians 15:3-19).
JESUS BELIEVED! JESUS WAS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
God is Spirit and Truth, and therefore cannot die! Neither can man die whose body houses the “Breath and the Spirit of God.” Jesus set the example that life does not end in a grave! Therefore, all life must face the Judge on Judgment Day. The power of Christ over death was demonstrated in the return of Lazarus from the dead. The dead man clearly heard the voice of the Son of God calling him back from the dead.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works that these will he show him that may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.
Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombe will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:19-29).
Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “You brother will rise again.” Martha said o him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (John 11:17-27).
When Jesus saw Mary weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” Could not he who opened the eyes of he blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth, Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11:33-44).
THE CLAIM OF PAUL, THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES, SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY
Paul believed that everyone will appear before the “Judgment Seat of Christ.” And everyone will give an account for what they have done (II Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:6; Matthew 25:45-46; Revelation 20:11-15). Paul never saw himself as having finished the race for his own reward (I Corinthians 9:24-27). Paul, too, like everyone else, worked out his salvation with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2-12). Paul has made some predictions, which have not happened! And we must remember that Paul was not the Savior (I Thessalonians 4:17). Paul believed in partnering with the Holy Spirit and with his fellow evangelists. Also, every member of his disciples was responsible for building a solid spiritual and social life.
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who give the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. For we are fellow workmen for God; you are God’s field, God’s building.
According to the commission of God given to me, lie a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble — each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the ork which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? I any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.
Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows that he thoughts of the wise are futile.” So let no one boast of men. For all things are ours, whether Paul or A-pollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s (I Corinthians 3:5-23).