To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days…
The resurrection of our Lord is declared to have been a literal and historical fact, of which satisfactory proofs could be given - such proofs as men are accustomed to accept. Here it is stated that our Lord "showed himself alive;" that he "appeared -unto the disciples" (see Revised Version), that the proofs he offered of his restored life were "infallible," as well as "numerous; i.e. they were not merely "probable," or "circumstantial," they were such as naturally and properly carried conviction. The disciples were not deluded or deceived; they acted as reasonable men, and accepted the fact of the Resurrection because convinced by adequate proofs. But when the historical fact is thus fully assured, we must be prepared to receive the further fact which our Lord's ascension declares, viz. that his resurrection was essentially a spiritual resurrection. We have in it the assurance that he himself, the spiritual person, Jesus, lived; we have but the formal part of the truth before us when we say that his body was restored to life. The bodily manifestations during the forty days were necessary, in order to give the disciples and us such proofs as they and we can apprehend, of the real continuance of the life of Jesus himself; through these sensible proofs our minds grasp the fact that "he ever liveth." The "spiritual cannot be apprehended by us save by the help of figure, body, and form; and our Lord's whole life on the earth is a gracious bringing home to our carnal minds of spiritual truths and realities by sensible appearances and deeds and words. Luke briefly declares the sufficiency of the proofs of the Resurrection. Each point may be illustrated and enforced by the facts detailed in the Gospels, and by the summary given in 1 Corinthians 15.
I. THE TIME COVERED BY THE PROOFS WAS PROLONGED. It was forty days. Any sudden and passing manifestation of Christ might be explained as a mental delusion or a ghostly vision. The time, in this case, gave sufficient opportunity for testing the veritableness of Christ's restored life. Spirit-manifestations never remain for forty days.
II. THE OCCASIONS ON WHICH THE PROOFS WERE GIVEN WERE MANY, For them see Paul's summary (1 Corinthians 15.). Some were given at Jerusalem; others in Galilee; others, again, at Olivet. Some on the shore; others on the mountain; others, again, in the house. Some with the sound of voice which all recognized; others with the showing of the crucifixion marks; others with the sharing of bodily food; and yet others with the signs of the old miraculous power. Impress the force that lies in cumulative evidence.
III. THE WITNESSES WHO TESTIFY TO THE PROOFS WERE VARIOUS. Individual men may be selected, such as the skeptical Thomas, or the questioning Philip, and the value of their testimony may be shown. But equally important is the witness of Peter's intensity and John's insight. Add the evidence of the women, and that of five hundred" disciples, to the majority of whom personal appeal could be made when Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Show what a stream of witnesses. They "crowd the court." Was ever any fact more adequately assured by sober testimony and sensible proofs, such as ought to carry conviction?
IV. THE SUBJECT OF CHRIST'S TEACHING IN THE FORTY DAYS WAS THE SAME. The importance of this continuity needs to be carefully shown. Jesus resumed his work, carried it on from the point where he left off, completing his personal instructions to his disciples, with precise adaptation to his new relations as the risen and ascending Lord, and to their new duty as the preachers of his gospel to the world. Really in this lies the best proof of the Resurrection. Impress the security of the foundation fact on which the gospel rests. Christ "is risen," and our preaching is "not vain." - R.T.
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: