ALIVE FOR EVERMORE
A double miracle
Do you believe that Jesus is alive today?
Many people would say, "Of course".
But surely, "Of course" is not the expression to use? You will know that Jesus was put to death by crucifixion. If then he is alive today, an amazing miracle must have taken place. He must have been brought back from the dead. Hardly a matter of course, is it?
That is not all. If Jesus is alive today, he must be nearly two thousand years old — twice as old as Methuselah I He must, in fact, be immortal. Another amazing miracle!
So if Jesus is alive today, a double miracle has taken place: a dead man has been restored to life; and the restored man has been made immortal. The Lord Jesus himself spoke of this double miracle in these words:
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore" (Rev 1:18).
He followed this up by saying that he was in possession of two keys. With these he could do for others what God had done for him. He could bring others who died to life again, and he could make them immortal. But that is another story...
Do you believe that Jesus is alive today? There was a time when it took a brave man to say, "Yes", to this question. People were despised, persecuted and even killed because they believed in Jesus. Yet they were willing to suffer and to die, because the things that had seemed important before, no longer mattered. "If God be for us", they said, "who can be against us?" The resurrection of Christ had changed everything.
Saul of Tarsus
Take the case of Saul of Tarsus. To this angry young man, the story of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth had been a pernicious lie. Feeling so strongly about it, he had decided to direct his energies to the work of stamping out this dangerous heresy once and for all. With a rare enthusiasm, he had thrown himself into this self-imposed task of smashing up the Christian communities, until...
Until he was confronted by this man who was supposed to be dead: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus actually spoke to him.
What a difference it made! Basically an honest man, he found the logic of this new situation irresistible. So Jesus was alive after all! He had been raised from the dead. This was God's doing. This meant that God was behind Jesus, and all his claims were true.
Jesus had claimed to be the Son of God. Incredible though it seemed, this was true I He had claimed to be the Saviour of the world. It was true I He had claimed that he would return to the earth to raise the dead and establish a kingdom. It was true!
Saul of Tarsus did the only reasonable thing. He surrendered unconditionally to the authority of Jesus. From that moment he exerted himself mightily for the cause of Christ. He built up that which he had vainly tried to destroy.