And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was on them all.
In what did this great power consist?
I. IN THE GREAT NUMBER OF WITNESSES. Here were more than were necessary for the fabrication of a cheat, and too many to keep it long a secret (1 Corinthians 15:5, 6).
II. IN THE WELL-KNOWN CHARACTER OF THE APOSTLES. They were poor, timid and friendless; and, therefore, unlikely to devise, and unable to execute, a scheme for imposing a falsehood of this nature upon the world. Above all, they were proverbial for integrity in principle and conduct. Such qualities would render any evidence respectable. Will it be said that their simplicity exposed them to delusion? There were among them Peter, sufficiently acute, and Thomas sufficiently scrupulous. Will it be said that, as followers of Christ; they were interested in the success of this story. Alas! in what way could the story advance the interest of any of them, if Jesus was not risen? It would have been much more natural, as well as reasonable, for them, as indeed they did after the crucifixion, to have shrunk from the public view.
III. IN THAT THERE WAS AMONG THEM CONSISTENCE, BOLDNESS, AND CORRESPONDENT BEHAVIOUR.
1. They were perfectly consistent. Numerous as were the testifiers, there were no divisions, contradictions, or separate interests: and if there were some little variations in their narratives, respecting minute matters, these are reconcilable, and tend rather to confirm their accounts, by evidencing that there had been no combination.
2. They were undaunted. Though before, mortified with disappointment, and shaking with terror, they shunned even the light, they now openly and eagerly proclaimed that He who had been crucified, was risen from the dead.
3. There was also correspondent behaviour. They exhibited that life which the resurrection necessarily enforced. They were animated with that joy which it was calculated to inspire. They manifested that anxiety and diligence to maintain and propagate the religion of their Lord which it could not fail to produce.
IV. IN THAT THEY BROUGHT TO THEIR SUPPORT THE TYPES AND PROPHECIES OF THE WORD OF GOD. The argument was of wonderful power with those Jews who had cherished the revelations which the Most High had vouchsafed to them; and it is of astonishing import, of irresistible force to every man, who considers soberly the wonderful, the supernatural, the connected, the singularly significant nature, of the Jewish economy.
V. IN THAT IT LEFT HIS ADVERSARIES DESTITUTE OF ANY SATISFACTORY OR REASONABLE REPLICATION. Much it behoved the rulers of the Jews to prove to the people, who were many of them struck with the miracles of Christ, that they had not "crucified the Lord of Glory." In their care to secure the sepulchre, they betrayed their anxiety to do so. And, blessed Lord, could they have produced Thy sacred body after the third day, with what triumph would it have been exhibited! But there was no such refutation of the resurrection.
VI. IN THAT IT WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH THE CONFIRMATION AND BLESSING OF GOD, AND PRODUCED GREAT AND EXTENSIVE CONVICTION. The establishment and rapid progress of a religion, whose Author was crucified, and its propagators twelve of the most despised men; of a religion so opposed to the strongest propensities of nature, so different from anything to which man had been accustomed, and so destructive to ancient, venerated, and congenial systems; and this, too, by means so simple, and seemingly inadequate to the object, is of itself a demonstration of the wisdom and power with which its witnesses unto the people spake.
Parallel VersesKJV: And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.