If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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The change in the disciples following the resurrection is one of the most dramatic elements to the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is found in John 20:19 and 20
Following Jesus’ Death
We begin with their state at the time of Jesus’ resurrection.
John 20:19 That Sunday evening* the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! "Peace be with you," he said.20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!21 Again he said, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you."22 Then he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
The change that occurred was not gradual, nor surprisingly did it come as a result of seeing Jesus alive. The change happened at Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover and so 51 days after Jesus’ death.
Acts 2:1 On the day of Pentecost* all the believers were meeting together in one place.2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages,* as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. 5 At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem.6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. 7 They were completely amazed. "How can this be?" they exclaimed. "These people are all from Galilee,8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!
The disciples had preached before, but now there is a new sense of power to the preaching, reminiscent of Jesus’ preaching.
Ac 2:14 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, "Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.15 These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o'clock in the morning is much too early for that.16 No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel:
17 'In the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. …
22 "People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene* by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. ...
Ac 2:37 Peter's words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" 38 Peter replied, "Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles*—all who have been called by the Lord our God."40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation!" 41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.
The disciples heal a man at the temple gate. This leads to quite a stir and the religious leaders arrest them. They are then brought before the supreme court of the Jewish council.
Ac 4:5 The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem.6 Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest.7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, "By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?" 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of our people,9 are we being questioned today because we've done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed?10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,* the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
'The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.'*
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." 13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say.15 So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber* and conferred among themselves. 16 "What should we do with these men?" they asked each other. "We can't deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it.17 But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus' name again."
The disciples, though warned continue to preach and heal as before. The leaders want to have them killed but are struck by the fact that something unusual is happening in their midst.
Ac 5:17 The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.19 But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them,20 "Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!" 21 So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching. When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council*—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial.22 But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So they returned to the council and reported,23 "The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!" 24 When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end.25 Then someone arrived with startling news: "The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!" 26 The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them.27 Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them.28 "Didn't we tell you never again to teach in this man's name?" he demanded. "Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!" 29 But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority.30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross.*31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven.32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him." 33 When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them.34 But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while.35 Then he said to his colleagues, "Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men!36 Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing.37 After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered. 38 "So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!" 40 The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.
One of the key factors concerning the behaviour of the disciples following Jesus’ resurrection is their readiness to die for what they believe. There are not many who are ready to die for something, but how many would be ready to die for a lie?
Ac 12:1 About that time King Herod Agrippa* began to persecute some believers in the church.2 He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword.3 When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration.*)4 Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.5 But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
6 The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate.7 Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, "Quick! Get up!" And the chains fell off his wrists.8 Then the angel told him, "Get dressed and put on your sandals." And he did. "Now put on your coat and follow me," the angel ordered. 9 So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn't realize it was actually happening.10 They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him. 11 Peter finally came to his senses. "It's really true!" he said. "The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders* had planned to do to me!" 12 When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer.13 He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it.14 When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, "Peter is standing at the door!" 15 "You're out of your mind!" they said. When she insisted, they decided, "It must be his angel." 16 Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed.17 He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. "Tell James and the other brothers what happened," he said. And then he went to another place. 18 At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter.19 Herod Agrippa ordered a thorough search for him. When he couldn't be found, Herod interrogated the guards and sentenced them to death. Afterward Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.
AFTER THE RESURRECTION