To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days…
To whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God.
I. THE WITNESSES.
1. Prepared and trained for the work. Not shown to all, but to those who could look at the miracle in its spiritual aspect, who could see the fulfillment of God's Word.
2. The certain knowledge of Christ's resurrection a solemn responsibility which all were not able to bear. Nothing secret but that it may come abroad. Not to the wise of this world, who know not how to use Divine secrets, but to the babes in disposition, simple, humble, self-forgetful, waiting on God.
3. The main work of Christ's servants is witnessing, not theorizing; not building up ecclesiastical structures; not seeking dominion over the faith of others; but "showing forth" the great facts. Our, preaching should be of the nature of witnessing. "Add to our seal that God is true. Although apostles had distinct duties as leaders and founders of the visible Church, they share with all the Lord's people the office of witnesses. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord." See to it that we speak as those who "know the certainty of the things."
II. THE PROOFS. The Resurrection must be proved infallibly (τεκμηρίοις); that is, beyond all reasonable doubt. We must build on a foundation of fact and testimony. Our first teachers must be those who could say that they had tasted, handled, felt of the Word of Life (1 John 1:1-4). Now the proofs were:
1. Appearances of the risen Jesus, thirteen in number, in various circumstances, to different kinds of witnesses, and with amply sufficient tests of reality.
2. Coincidence of the facts with-the words of our Lord himself and the promises of the Old Testament.
3. Distinction of the signs and proofs of the Resurrection from any other facts; from the possible misapprehensions or illusions of disciples. It was unexpected; proved against unbelief; with growing assurance; and with concurrence of many sincere and faithful men who knew their responsibility as witnesses.
4. Jesus showed himself alive after his resurrection. The fact to which apostles testified was not the mystery of the Resurrection itself, but the simple fact that Jesus was alive. No one saw him rise, but they saw him after he was risen. They might mistake what occurred at the sepulcher; they could make no mistake in talking with a living man, handling him, eating with him, and that for forty days and on many occasions, in one another's presence. Necessity that we should set the proof of the Resurrection and risen life of Jesus first and foremost in our defense of Christianity. It is the key-stone of the arch.
III. THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST. The forty days and their influence on the first disciples, and through them on all future ages.
1. The personal presence of Jesus lifted up into a more glorious fact. The infirmities gone. The fact of his victory shining in his face. The influence of his condescension; the risen Jesus still the Friend and Companion of his people. The expectation of his return to heaven: "I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God" (John 20:17). The effect on Thomas: "My Lord and my God!" The necessity that disciples should cease to "know Christ after the flesh." Henceforth they felt his presence spiritually.
2. Forty days of special instruction "concerning the kingdom of God." The history which follows corrects the view sometimes put forward that the risen Savior imparted to his apostles any body of ecclesiastical laws. Had they received them they would certainly have referred to them. He spoke of the kingdom itself, which is not meat and drink, not external ordinances and regulations, not creeds and shibboleths; but "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." He called to remembrance what he had preached. He opened their understandings to the meaning of the Old Testament. He corrected their worldly views. He showed them the relation of the gospel facts to the kingdom; that is, that he could reign by the power of these facts. "The Messiah ought to suffer, and to enter into his glory." He led them back to Calvary with new faith before he took them to Olivet. Jesus was a Teacher to the last. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: