On April 26, 1986, in the No.4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (in what was then part of the Ukrainian Republic of the Soviet Union) a late-night safety test was conducted. Simulating a power-failure, safety systems were deliberately turned off, and a combination of reactor design flaws, together with operator errors, eventually resulted in uncontrolled reaction conditions that flashed water into steam generating a destructive steam explosion and a subsequent open-air graphite “fire.” This “fire” produced considerable updrafts for about 9 days, that lofted plumes of radioactive products into the atmosphere, equal in magnitude to those released in the initial destructive explosion. – It kept exploding for 9 days! Practically all of this radioactive material would then go on to fall-out over much of the western USSR and Europe. Below the core of the reactor, escaped fusion fuels continued to radiate at deadly levels through December of that year when it was finally sealed off in the largest civil engineering project ever accomplished.
The city of Chernobyl was a bit bigger than Kenosha, its 116,000 inhabitants were immediately evacuated. Only dozens died in the initial event, but thousands were killed by cancer in the following years. It is still illegal to live in that area, but apparently about 150 people do.
That was the biggest disaster ever, and this may be the strangest comparison ever. The power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was so great that an afterglow of infinite power continues today. Notice the immediate aftermath with Christ’s disciples.
Of Life vv. 1-3 Jesus appeared more than a dozen times after His resurrection, and up to 500 people saw Him. There is a difference between seeing someone and seeing a vision of someone. The Scriptures detail the fact that Jesus was touched, and that He ate with people after His death and resurrection, He was no vision, He was the real thing!
This is of great importance to us, first, as a basic element of the gospel and our saving faith. When you prayed to accept Christ as your Savior, you may not have mentioned your belief in the resurrection, but you could not have been in denial of it and have truly accepted Him. Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
The second importance of the proof of the resurrection is that it is the earnest of our own resurrection. I Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Proof Of Lordship vv. 9-11 Not so long before this Christ had endured a terrible punishment that caused many to doubt that He could be the Son of God. In fact, the Father Himself had forsaken Him for a time there. Now we see that He was “received” into heaven.
He demonstrated the Rapture, that being the next thing on God’s calendar of events for us. The angels said, though, that He had demonstrated how He will come again. That will be after the Rapture of the saints and seven years of tribulation, and at that time His rightful place as Lord of this earth will not only be proven, but taken!
2. PROMISE vv. 4,5
As Christ left He promised the disciples a replacement to convict their consciences and bolster their courage (He had already introduced the “Comforter” to them). The Spirit would come with a “baptism” which would demonstrate His right to total control of the person, and their complete ownership by God. That is the significance of “baptism,” which means “immersion.” As a picture of death and resurrection it is total and complete. We are supposed to die to self, not just occasionally inconvenience ourselves.
(v. 5) John had baptized with water and repentance, but the Spirit’s baptism came with fire and rejoicing!
The comparison between water and Spirit-baptism tells us that it is a one-time event in our lives. The disciples had to wait for their Spirit-baptism, but we do not. The Scripture is clear that since the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost we receive, and always keep the Holy Spirit from the moment of our salvation.
3. POWER vv. 6-8 “Kingdom”
Nuclear power is frightfully great. Its introduction to the world has changed the course of war and peace. We try and sometimes fail to harness it. It was our Lord Jesus, though, Who made everything, “and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”
As incredible as it seemed to those poor Jewish men gathered around their Rabbi, they were about to change the world. Governments had come and gone and they would continue to change, but these eleven were being sent out to introduce a new and eternal Kingdom. They were sent by the King Himself, as are we. King Jesus already told them that He has “all power,” in the sense of authority.
This “power,” for them and us, is “energy.” A.B. Simpson summarized our enabling by Christ: “We have power over sin, self, and Satan, power over the world. We have power to do, to be, to suffer, and to overcome!”
The question and Christ’s rebuff was over the issue of time. Christ’s kingdom is not a matter of “if” but “when!” All of the promises about Christ’s first coming were kept literally, and the Lord will do the same at His Second Coming.
What is the afterglow of Easter? The proof of the resurrection goes on as we live like new creations of Christ Jesus. The promise is still good today and you can claim it today if you have not yet received Christ’s gift of salvation. The power is as great as ever to change us and impact our world, creating a fallout of grace!
Submitted by Dr. Scott Jones
State Missions Director
Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches