According to factsandtrends.net Easter is the number one highest church attendance day of the year. Whether you are a regular attendee or once-in-a-while goer Easter is the day you get all dressed up in abnormally bright colored clothing and head to church. We celebrate the incredible story of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.
What I find so interesting about the accounts of this story is the fear and absence of His disciples during His crucifixion and the lengths He had to go to convince them of His resurrection. Which begs the question, “What did they believe about Him?” We learn the answer to this question from Peter in John 6:68-69.
…we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.John 6:69
This term, “the Christ” is repeated many times in the gospel of John. Jesus and Martha’s conversation tells us what it means.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”John 11:25-27
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Being the resurrection and the life means Jesus will bring those who believe in Him back from the dead and keep them alive forever. He’s claiming to be the giver of eternal life to all those who believe in Him for it.
So what the disciples believed before Easter was Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God; which means they believed in Him for everlasting life they could never lose. But, what did they not believe?
Long before Easter, the disciples had believed in Jesus and received eternal life. As Easter approached, Jesus told His disciples He would die and rise again, and they flat out refused to believe it. On Easter, all of His disciples huddled in a room mourning His death because they did not believe He would rise again. On Easter, an angel sent word to Jesus’ disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead and they did not believe it. On Easter, Mary Magdalene saw Jesus risen. When she told the disciples the good news, they did not believe her. On Easter, Jesus showed Himself to the disciples. He let them feel His wounds. They did not believe He had risen until they saw Him eat. Until Easter, the disciples did not believe Jesus would die for their sins and rise from the dead. Despite their unbelief concerning the resurrection, they were already saved!
The Disciples’ Belief Timeline
- They believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 6:69)
- They do not believe Jesus will die and rise (Matthew 16:21-22)
- They believe Jesus is dead and will not rise (John 20:19, Mark 16:10)
- They do not believe an angel said Jesus rose (Matthew 28:1-8, Luke 24:9,11)
- They do not believe Mary Magdalene saw Jesus risen (Mark 16:9-11)
- They do not believe Jesus has risen when He appears to them (Luke 24:36-41, John 20:20, Mark 16:14)
- They believe Jesus died for their sins and rose again (Luke 24:42-47)
Millions of people today believe Jesus died and rose again for their sins but, millions among those millions do not believe Jesus gives eternal life that can never be lost to those who believe in Him for it. It is possible to believe Jesus died and rose, but not have believed the single most important truth: the saving message. If a person believes in Jesus for eternal life they have it. It starts at that moment. It will last forever no matter what.
Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’John 11:25-26
Maybe you believe a handful of things about Jesus, but have not yet believed the essential saving message. Do you believe in Jesus for everlasting life? He is offering you eternal life, believe in Him for it, and you have it forever.