Many Infallible Proofs (1:3) INTRODUCTION 1. Luke begins the sequel to his gospel with a reminder... a. That his gospel described things Jesus both did and taught - Ac 1:1 b. That it covered events leading up to His ascension - Ac 1:2 c. That Jesus presented "many infallible proofs" of His resurrection - Ac 1:3 2. The importance the resurrection of Christ cannot be overemphasized... a. It was the keystone of apostolic preaching - 1Co 15:14 b. It is the foundation of our faith - ibid. c. If it did not occur, our faith is empty! [We can be thankful that our faith in the resurrection of Christ is not "empty". It is based upon "many infallible proofs"! What were these infallible proofs? They involved...] I. THE APPEARANCES OF CHRIST A. TO MARY MAGDALENE... 1. Described in Mark's gospel - Mk 16:9-11 2. Expanded upon by John in his gospel - Jn 20:11-18 -- She saw Jesus and talked with Him B. TO THE OTHER WOMEN... 1. As revealed in Matthew's gospel - Mt 28:9-10 2. Where Jesus reiterated what the angel had said - ibid. -- They touched Jesus and worshiped Him C. TO TWO DISCIPLES WALKING IN THE COUNTRY... 1. Described in Mark's gospel - Mk 16:12-13 2. Elaborated by Luke in his gospel - Lk 24:13-32 -- They walked with Him, talked with Him, and ate with Him D. TO PETER ALONE... 1. Reported after the testimony of the two disciples - Lk 24:33-35 2. Mentioned by Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians - 1Co 15:5 -- He saw Jesus E. TO THE APOSTLES WITH THOMAS ABSENT... 1. Described in detail by Luke - Lk 24:36-43 2. Also by John - Jn 20:19-25 -- They saw Jesus, He ate food in their presence F. TO THE APOSTLES WITH THOMAS PRESENT... 1. A week later, as described by John - Jn 20:26-31 2. Mentioned by Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians - 1Co 15:5 -- Convincing Thomas, who would not believe unless he could see and touch Jesus G. TO SEVEN DISCIPLES BY THE SEA OF GALILEE... 1. Including Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John - Jn 21:1-2 2. While they were fishing, and then eating together - Jn 21:3-25 -- They saw Him, ate breakfast with Him, talked with Him H. TO FIVE HUNDRED BRETHREN AT ONCE... 1. Recorded by Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians - 1Co 15:6 2. Possibly in Galilee as directed by the angel and Jesus - Mk 16:7; Mt 28:10,16-17 3. Possibly when the Great Commission was first given - Mt 28:18-20 -- A large number, ruling out any vision or hallucination I. TO JAMES THE LORD'S BROTHER... 1. Recorded by Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians - 1Co 15:7 2. Who previously did not believe, but then became a disciple - Jn 7:5; Ac 1:14 -- Convincing a brother in the flesh who had his doubts J. TO THE DISCIPLES WITH ANOTHER COMMISSION... 1. Recorded by Luke in his gospel - Lk 24:44-49 2. This time in Jerusalem, shortly before His ascension - Ac 1:3-8 -- They studied with Him for days, as He taught them from the Scriptures K. TO THOSE PRESENT AT HIS ASCENSION... 1. Recorded in Mark's gospel - Mk 16:19-20 2. Also by Luke in both of his books - Lk 24:50-53; Ac 1:9-12 -- They looked steadfastly as they saw Him ascend [The number of appearances certainly qualifies as "many". But in what way can we say these appearances qualify as "infallible proofs"? Consider the strength of...] II. THE DISCIPLES' TESTIMONY A. THE NATURE OF THEIR TESTIMONY... 1. Their testimony appealed to empirical evidence a. I.e., evidence derived from experiment and observation rather than theory b. They refused to accept second hand evidence - Mk 16:11,13; Jn 20:25 c. They saw, heard, and touched Him - 1Jn 1:1-2 d. They ate and drank with Him - Ac 10:40-41 2. There is no way they could have been deceived or deluded a. If all they had were individual dreams, visions, or hallucinations...perhaps b. But they testified that Jesus appeared to them in groups as well as to individuals -- Such eyewitness testimony is the same sort of proof used in court today B. THEIR TRANSFORMED LIVES... 1. Prior to the resurrection, Jesus' disciples were afraid and without hope a. They fled at his arrest - Mk 14:50 b. Peter cowardly denied Him three times - Mk 14:66-72 c. Women mourned His crucifixion - Lk 23:27 d. His disciples were sad - Lk 24:13-17 e. His disciples hid behind closed doors in fear - Jn 20:19 2. After the resurrection, they fearlessly praised God and proclaimed Jesus! a. Praising God in the temple - Lk 24:52-53 b. Proclaiming Christ despite persecution - Ac 5:28-32,41-42 3. This transformation is strong evidence for the resurrection! a. "If the disciples were totally disappointed and on the verge of desperate flight because of the very real reason of the crucifixion..." b. "...it took another very real reason in order to transform them from a band of disheartened and dejected Jews into the most self-confident missionary society in world history." - Pinchas Lapide, former Chairman of the Applied Linguistics Department at Israel's Bar-Iland University (TIME, May 7, 1979) -- Their transformed lives is strong evidence of the resurrections of Jesus C. THEIR HIGH MORAL STANDARD... 1. They taught others to live holy lives - 1Th 4:1-7; Ep 4:25 2. They lived their own lives in an unimpeachable way - 1Th 2:3-12 -- Does this sound like people who propagated a lie? D. THEIR PERSONAL SACRIFICES... 1. The apostles endured much suffering because of their testimony - 1Co 4:9-13; 2Co 11:23-28 2. All but one died martyrs' death because of their testimony 3. Even Jesus' brother, James, was thrown off the temple and then clubbed to death for his testimony! -- There was no motive (fame, power, wealth) for them to persistently lie! CONCLUSION 1. Jesus gave His disciples "many" proofs... a. He appeared to them many times during forty days b. He spoke with them, ate with them, let them touch Him c. He met with them in groups, large and small, as well as individually 2. Such proof was "infallible" for them... a. Not a single eyewitness recanted his testimony of the resurrection b. They endured great hardship throughout their lives because of their testimony c. They were willing to die for their testimony, and many did! 3. We too have "many infallible proofs", because of... a. The nature of their testimony b. The transformation that took place in their lives c. The high moral standard they taught and lived d. The personal sacrifices they made Why not allow such proof to transform your life as it did those disciples in the first century...? - cf. Jn 20:30-31
1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up [to heaven,] after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over [a period of] forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.