The Resurrection Accounts [Continued]
By Bob Myhan
On the first day of the week following His crucifixion, and over a period of forty days, Jesus was seen by His disciples, alone and in groups of two or more. Not one of them believed on the testimony of the others that He had been raised. The willingness of both Matthew and John to acknowledge this adds to the credibility of their accounts. If they were creating a fiction, surely they would have tried to make themselves look more heroic. But they do not seem to be concerned with looking like heroes; they are only writing what they have seen and what others have testified to having seen.
The Lord’s 8th Appearance
After appearing to the seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus appeared to the eleven remaining apostles on a Galilean mountain.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. (Matt. 28:16-17)
After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:6)
The Great Commission
At some point, probably while still on the Galilean mountain, Jesus commissioned His apostles to preach to all nations. It is “the great commission” in contrast to that which was limited “to the lost sheep of house of Israel” (Matt. 10:1-6).
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matt. 28:18-20)
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:15-18)
The Lord’s 9th & 10th Appearances
There were two apostles named James (the son of Alphaeus and one of the sons of Zebedee). Jesus had a half-brother with that name, also. It is not known which James is meant.
After that He was seen by James then by all the apostles (1 Cor. 15:7).
Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:44-49)
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:3-8).
His Ascension into Heaven
We are told specifically that this event took place on Mount Olivet, just outside of Jerusalem.
So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. (Mark 16:19-20)
And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luke 24:50-53)
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. (Acts 1:9-12)
Many think Jesus should have stayed on earth and appeared publicly in order to convince more people that He was the Messiah. But it was necessary that He return to heaven, about which more will be said in future articles. &
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN A SKEPTIC AND A BELIEVER
Skeptic: “The Bible is a failure for there are only a few that will be saved.”
Believer: “Infidelity is a much greater failure; for by it nobody at all will be saved.”
Skeptic: “According to the Bible account of things, the devil is more powerful than God.”
Believer: “Better wait till the fight is over, before you decide who whips.”
Skeptic: “If the Bible is true, it would be better not to have been created.”
Believer: “But you have been created; so you had better make the best of it.”
Skeptic: “None but the friends of Jesus testified to his resurrection.”
Believer: “Of course not; for honest men could not testify to his resurrection till they knew it to be a fact, and that knowledge made them his friends.”
Skeptic: “The witnesses of the resurrection were all interested witnesses.”
Believer: “Yes; they were interested to the extent of receiving imprisonment, scourging and death for testifying.” &