Acts Chapter 1-3
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Even as the Lord walked with the two to Emmaus and turned their darkest hour into glorious light so may the Lord walk with us. May we know the joy of His presence and the comfort of His Words May the Lord minister to us by His Holy Spirit to us as we wait upon Him this day.
As Luke was writing the book that is titled “The Acts Of The Apostles” he is writing it to his friend Theophilus. He makes reference to the gospel of Luke that he had written to him earlier. Luke spoke of how Jesus showed Himself alive after His death by many infallible proofs. The fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the central truth and the foundation stone upon which the church is built. If there is no resurrection from the dead then the church has no message for the hopeless dying world and the church would have no reason to exist. Luke tells us that Jesus showed Himself alive after His death by "many infallible proofs…"
Now, Jesus had declared that His resurrection from the dead would be the ultimate sign that He was the promised Messiah. When Jesus first began His public ministry He came to the temple in Jerusalem and He saw how it was corrupted with commercialism as they were selling doves and sacrificial animals right there in the temple precincts. They were hocking their wares and had their own money changers. And as Jesus saw the gross commercialism He was upset and made a little scourge out of ropes and He began to drive them out of the temple; and Jesus said "My Father's house was to be known as a house of prayer for all people but you have made it a den of thieves" And as Jesus was going through the temple the disciples remembered the Scripture concerning the Messiah "the zeal of the Lord has eaten Me up" But the religious leaders came to Jesus and they said to Him and they said "what sign do you give to us to show that You have the authority to do these things."
And Jesus answered "destroy this Temple and in three days I will revive it" They said “We've been years in building this Temple…and You mean you're going to revive it in three days" However, John tells us that Jesus was speaking of the temple of His own body the sign that they asked for, "You destroy this temple (this body) and in three days I'll revive it."
Twice in the book of Matthew we read where the religious leaders again came to Jesus and they asked Him for the sign that He would show them that He was the Messiah. Jesus answered "a wicked and adulterous generation is looking for signs But no sign will be given to it except for the sign of the prophet Jonah for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." The only sign that Jesus said they would see would be the resurrection of Jesus from the dead…
Many times Jesus had told His disciples that He was going to be betrayed and that He would be turned over to the Gentiles and they would crucify Him but on the third day, Jesus said "I will rise again. " Now, we must admit that this is a pretty radical claim telling His disciples "look, they're going to kill Me but in three days I'll rise again." That was an extremely radical claim.
Actually, this was a claim that puts the whole issue squarely on the line. For if after Jesus' crucifixion, three days later His body was still in the tomb, then there is no sign He is not the Messiah. Then He would have been a fraud, He would have been a deceiver, or perhaps He would have been just deluded. But if (since) the tomb is empty and if (since) Jesus has risen again, then all of the radical claims that He made were true. He was (is) the Son of God and that He was sent by the Father into the world to redeem man from their sins and those that would believe in Him would not perish in their sins but would have eternal life in the glory of the Kingdom of God.
It is all on the line. The third day is critical. No resurrection equals no hope. If there is a resurrection, there is the sign that proves that He was the Messiah…
Luke said that Jesus showed Himself alive “from the dead…" with many infallible proofs…
What were some of the infallible proofs of the resurrection?
First, Jesus' appearing unto them, (His disciples) on many different occasions, in many different situations…so that they could bear witness that they had actually seen the risen Lord.
The first appearance was to Mary Magdalene right there at the tomb early that Resurrection Sunday Morning. Then Jesus appeared to the other women who had come to the tomb as they were returning from it. And then sometime later on that morning Jesus appeared to Simon Peter.
We read in Luke 24 of Jesus' appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. And that same evening the evening of the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples as they were there in the room gathered together.
The following Sunday evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples again and then at the Sea of Galilee. Following that Jesus appeared at some time to James. There are over ten mentions of the appearances of Jesus after His resurrection.
The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus appeared to over 500 people at one time who were all witnesses of the resurrection. Paul then declared "and last of all, He appeared to me as one born out of due season" They all bore witness that Jesus was alive they had seen Him they had touched Him they had eaten with Him.
Now if our system of jurisprudence has any validity at all. For in our system of justice if we can get two or three witnesses who under oath will swear that they saw a certain incident, then accepting the testimony of the witnesses we assume that it is a fact that it actually did happen because their witness agrees. And that is the basis upon which facts are ascertained in our court systems today. If there is any validity to that what we have laid out before us in what we see the Bible declare we have multitudes of witnesses. We have people that are saying “I saw the risen Christ I was with Him, He spoke to me" Thus, Jesus showed Himself to be alive after His death by many infallible proofs. But some people say “but we didn't have a chance to cross-examine their testimony, But I believe that we can believe that their testimony was cross-examined. Not like anyone's testimony is cross-examined today but much more severe, They all went thru tremendous torture as the cross-examiners sought to break their testimony. For they were beaten, they were scourged, they were crucified, they were clubbed to death, they were burned at the stake, they suffered horrible deaths, as the cross-examiners were seeking to break their testimony. But all of them did not break their testimony.
As Apostle Peter said "…we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard…." Although they were tortured and suffered violent death they maintained their witness that they had seen the risen Lord Jesus showed Himself after His death "by many infallible proofs…."
“Men will die for what they believe to be true, though it may actually be false: Thy do not, however, die for what they know is a lie.” (Little)
Continued next weeks