Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. — John 2: 22
We believe the testimony of Scripture and experience the potency of the word of the sermon.
There had never been anything like it! A human being who had brought the dead back to life had Himself risen from the dead. Even though there had been no eyewitnesses of this unique occurrence, all the gospels report about it in impressive fashion. What was dismissed as a lie at the time, and is today called into question by many, is an irrefutable truth and the foundation of the Christian faith. Unbelief and incomprehension can do nothing to negate or invalidate the resurrection.
Belief in the truth of Scripture
Scripture makes reference and attests to the resurrection of Jesus Christ in many passages (Luke 24: 46). The words, “according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15: 3, 4) show that nothing has been able to prevent God’s plan of salvation from coming to pass. Both the Old and New Testament attest to this. Only through Scripture do we know that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. It is for this reason that belief in the truth of the biblical testimony is so important— not only for its testimony of the past, but also for its references to the fulfilment of the plan of salvation in the future (1 Corinthians 15) .
Belief in the word
A special dimension of God’s word became a reality with the birth of Jesus (John 1: 14). Not only did the Word of God come to dwell among mankind in the flesh, Jesus also unlocked a whole new understanding of Scripture for His listeners: “But I say to you” (Matthew 5: 22, 44). At the same time He thereby made it clear that He possessed greater authority than the Scriptures. He is the centre and Lord of Scripture. This knowledge is also imparted in the proclamation of the word today. It must be possible to measure everything that is said against the standard set by Jesus Christ. Thus the present word of preaching attests to the life of Jesus, His sacrifice, His resurrection, and His imminent return.
Our belief in this requires constant reinforcement through the word proclaimed to us. It is also the task of the Apostles today to bring the resurrection of Jesus to remembrance and keep the hope of our own resurrection alive (2 Timothy 2: 8–11).
Belief in Scripture and the word in our day
Belief in the truth of Scripture and the word of preaching has always been called into question. However, those who believe in it will also experience the potency of God’s word. The following events attest to this.
- When the women arrived at Jesus’ grave they were perplexed because His body was missing. But the words of the angel comforted them and they returned to the disciples with confidence (Luke 24: 1–12). Bad news can at times unleash sheer dread within us. But when we believingly accept the word of God, peace and calm enter into our hearts once again.
- The words of the women seemed like nothing more than idle tales to the disciples. Peter, however, gave credence to their words and set off to verify their testimony for himself at the empty grave (Luke 24: 11–12). Only faith will allow us to recognise the truth of the word proclaimed to us.
- The hungry disciples believed, and cast their nets out on the right side of their boat (John 21: 5–6). Those who hunger for comfort—and believe—will experience the fulfilment of the word of God grasped in faith.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted service held on Sunday, 12 April 2015 at Midrand Congregation