Like today, the early church had its doubters and haters. After Christ rose from the dead the Jewish Sanhedrin purposefully spread rumors that it was all one big scam and the disciples had stolen Christ’s body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15). Year’s later this rumor still had legs and was widely circulated among the Jews.
And at times, the Apostle Paul felt a need to point at the evidence of the resurrection, listing the people (such as Peter, the 12 disciples) the crowds (many who were still alive) and others who saw the Lord after His death (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
But these eye-witness testimonies were not the primary evidence for the early church of Christ’s resurrection. They had something else.
During the early days of the church they were under siege from the Jewish authorities and the believers asked for courage and power:
29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
But notice the last verse — the power to heal the sick was their testimony or evidence of the resurrection of Christ. The Greek word “marturion” translated testimony or witness is rooted in the justice system where witnesses were summoned to give evidence in a court case.
For the first Christians, the power of God displayed through miracles and the spiritual gifts was all the evidence they needed that Christ rose from dead.
And though the pharisees opposed the growing influence of the early church when confronted with miracles they were dumbfounded and the people amazed (Acts 4:14-16).
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11 NASV)
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, each of us contain the evidence of Christ’s resurrection and we need to let this evidence out.
The British Broadcasting Corporation conducted a poll this year and discovered that 23% of people who identify themselves as Christian do not believe in Christ’s resurrection and among regular church attenders only 57% believe Jesus rose from the dead.
But the poll conducted by ComRes also discovered that 9% of people who don’t go to church or considered themselves religious nevertheless believed in the resurrection of Christ.
Even today, we need evidence of the resurrection and that is why there is a section on our website dedicated to healings.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Annabel Beam and the Cotton Wood tree
In 2011, Annabel Beam was playing with her sisters in Texas when she fell 30′ down the inside of a hollowed-out Cotton Wood tree. It took rescuers a couple of hours to get her out. While lying at the bottom it appears Annabel passed out. However, when she was finally hauled out and taken to the hospital doctors could find nothing wrong with her.
But a few days later Annabel told the amazing story of what happened as she lie in the trunk of the tree. She went to heaven and saw Jesus who told Annabel that it was not her time and she would be alright. Of course, everyone thought this was the result of a concussion, though there was no evidence she had one.
Then a strange thing happened.
In 2008, doctors diagnosed Annabel with intestinal pseudo-obstruction mobility disorder. This rare and dangerous disorder hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrients requiring extensive medications and a very restricted diet.
Within days of the fall, Annabel’s Christian parents noticed the severe symptoms she experienced were disappearing and took her back to the doctor. Testing found that she had been completely healed of this INCURABLE DISORDER.
Jocelyn healed in face of opposition
Another of my favorite stories involves the healing of Jocelyn Kwan who went from a healthy active baby to full life support within 24 hours due to an infection. Katherine Gagne who tells the story was living in Hong Kong. She and her husband Dean were leading a small home group that was part of a larger church.
The doctors told the family Jocelyn was dying and there was nothing they could do. Katherine and her husband regularly joined the Kwan family in the hospital’s hospice room to pray for their daughter.
However, in their home group was a missionary couple who didn’t believe in Divine healing. They were upset that Dean and Katherine were giving false hope to the parents.
But Katherine and Dean continued to pray with Kwans. As they were praying one night, God showed up. Jocelyn’s father fell down under the power of God and came up speaking in tongues. God had heard their prayers and the very next morning the doctors were stunned by Jocelyn’s remarkable recovery and by the end of the day had completely taken her off life support.
But there was still a problem the infection that had ravaged Jocelyn’s body had resulted in one of her lungs becoming gangrenous and it would need to be removed. Katherine and Dean continued to gather with the Kwans to pray.
Oddly, despite Jocelyn’s remarkable healing, the Gagne’s decision to pray for the lung infuriated the missionary couple even more and they became very vocal about their opposition.
As Jocelyn was being wheeled in for surgery, the surgeon decided to take one last x-ray. Not only was the gangrene gone, but there was not even any scar tissue — SURGERY CANCELLED.
Pray for the sick, Jesus has Risen!
- A quarter of Christians do not believe in the resurrection: The Telegraph