By Bruce Green
When we dip ourselves in the waters of the fourth chapter of the book of Acts, we get a look at disciples who were living out the resurrection. Here are some of the things we see:
1. Some people were inspired to be courageous (v. 13). A couple of months before, Peter was denying Jesus and John was running and hiding. Now they are standing before the authorities and proclaiming the risen Christ. What made the difference? An empty tomb and a risen Lord.
2. Some people couldn’t stop talking about the resurrection (v. 18-20). It was not simply that they weren’t going to stop talking (as in a matter of submitting their will to that of the authorities), it was that they couldn’t stop (due to the change that had come upon them). John was later exiled to Patmos while the other apostles went on to martyrs’ deaths rather than be silenced about what they had seen and heard.
This is the transforming power of hope that we need now more than ever. When we begin to grasp what happened in the resurrection, we understand that there is nothing too big for God. The One who brought His Son back from the dead can deliver us from all bondage.
3. Some people had their prayer life changed (v. 29). Again, a couple of months before Peter and John couldn’t stay awake with Jesus in Gethsemane. Now they can’t be kept from prayer. And their prayer isn’t that God will keep them from harm, it is that God will help them to speak boldly. Their prayer life had been resurrected!
Hope isn’t hope without the resurrection! In our culture, where truth floats up from the bottom, people’s expectations tend to be tied to what they can see in the future. When things look dim, their expectations plummet. In God’s kingdom, where truth comes down from above, our future is tied to what we can see through hope. And what we can see through hope is the power of God to bring victory out of defeat, good out of bad, and life out of death. We understand that whatever hills or valleys might be in our future, they are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). What we see through hope transcends our circumstances and transforms our lives. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,” (Ephesians 1:18).