- Greg Lappin
The Greatest Miracle
It is beneficial to have answers to the perplexing questions of life. For example, Superman wore a costume that could not be burned by fire, destroyed by acid, or penetrated by a bullet. So, the question is: How could Superman’s mother cut the fabric and stitch it into Superman’s costume? The answer will probably always remain a mystery.
There are much more serious questions that have an answer. The answers you choose determines more than anything else your view of the world. Was Jesus crucified and raised from the dead? Therefore, was He truly the Son of God as He claimed?
When Jesus was captured, tortured, and crucified, his 11 disciples hid in fear. They did not want to be labeled as His followers and receive the same fate. Yet, in a very short period of time they were totally transformed. They all had actual interactions with a risen Jesus after His crucifixion. They talked and ate with Him. Because of personal experience, they all understood Jesus fulfilled His promises that He would be raised from the dead and come back to them. Jesus being raised from dead determined what they did for the rest of their lives. They all spent the rest of their lives living in poverty and preaching the risen Christ. My research states this is how they spent the rest of their lives.
He was martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, since he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
Most historians agree that Andrew was also crucified, and he was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Greece.
He was probably most active in the area east of Syria. Tradition has him preachto what is now the Soviet Union. Christians, there claim him as the first to bring the gospel to their land. He also preached in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, and in Greece. He is said to have been as far east as India, where the ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder. They claim that he died there when pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.
He possibly had a powerful ministry in Carthage, in North Africa, and then in Asia Minor, where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested and cruelly put to death.
The tax collector and writer of a Gospel ministered in Persia and Ethiopia. Some of the oldest reports say he was not martyred, while others say he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
He had widespread missionary travels attributed to him. He went to India with Thomas, back to Armenia, and also to Ethiopia and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of how he met his death as a martyr for the gospel.
James is thought to have ministered in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed to death.
Simon the Zealot
He ministered in Persia and was killed after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
Tradition sends him to Syria with Andrew and received death by burning.
The only one of the company generally thought to have died a natural death from old age. During Domitian's persecution in the middle 90's, he was exiled to the island of Patmos. He did hard labor in a mine.
All these men answered, “I believe!” to the most important questions in life. Was Jesus the Son of God? Did He keep His prediction that he would be crucified and His promise to be raised from the dead? Did He keep His promise that He would be with us? The answers to these provide the key to the identity of Jesus and a guide for how we should live our lives just as it did for the disciples.
The greatest miracle that has ever happened is Jesus being raised from the dead. It never had happened previously. It has never happened since.
A concept that is just as great is the motivation behind the crucifixion. The love God has for us is immeasurable. God promises to have a relationship with us if we are willing and promises to be with us always. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18. We have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with the living God. This makes Easter relevant for us all.