“Many Convincing Proofs”

Is it just wishful thinking—the belief that Jesus did indeed rise bodily from the dead?

Or is there good, solid evidence for it?

Luke says of the apostles, “To these He presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days . . .” (Acts 1:3).

Among the proofs were these:

  1. He suddenly appeared to them behind closed doors (John 20:19).
  2. His showed them the scars of His crucifixion (Luke 24:36-40; John 20:20).
  3. He invited them to touch Him (Luke 24:39; John 20:24-29).
  4. He ate in their presence to prove He was no apparition (Luke 24:36-38, 41-43).
  5. He enabled Peter and his companions to net a huge catch of fish, which no doubt reminded them of a similar miracle during His ministry (John 21:1-11; Luke 5:4-11).
  6. He predicted they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days, which happened just as He said (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8).
  7. Finally, they watched in awe as He ascended out of their sight into heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11).

What changed their minds

Jesus made these appearances not only in Jerusalem but also in Galilee where He had told them to meet Him (Matthew 28:10, 16-17).

One more thing: The apostles were not expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. When others told them they had seen the risen Lord, they didn’t believe it (Mark 16:9-14; John 20:24-25).

It was the “many convincing proofs” that made true believers of them.

Seeing Him changed everything.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Two Thomases

Last Tuesday evening I heard C. L. Thomas speak. Thomas is an apologist—someone who provides a reasoned defense for faith.

His topic was “What is Significant about the Christian Worldview?”

It was obvious he had done his homework. He gave compelling reasons why the worldview espoused by Christians best fits reality.

His presentation was anything but a dry recitation of evidence. He was obviously passionate about his message, and it clearly resonated with his audience of mostly university students.

Convinced by the evidence

I’m reminded of another Thomas, the apostle who was absent the evening Jesus appeared to His disciples after rising from the dead.

Later, when the other ten apostles told Thomas they had seen Jesus alive, he refused to believe it.

One week later Jesus appeared once again, and this time Thomas was present.

When Jesus invited him to touch the scars in his hands and side, Thomas could only exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”

He, along with the other apostles, became lifelong apologists for the risen Christ. They all were threatened by the authorities for preaching the resurrected Christ. They were imprisoned, they were beaten, and many of them paid for their testimony with their blood.

The evidence still stands

Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29).

No, we didn’t see what they saw, but because of their powerful eyewitness testimony, recorded in Scripture, we can believe exactly what they did—“that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing . . . have life in His name” (John 20: 30-31).

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Likes of Matthew

Of all people!

It’s fascinating the kind of people Jesus chose.

“. . . He saw a man called Matthew . . . and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’” (Matthew 9:9).

Matthew?! He collected taxes for the hated Romans who occupied the Jewish homeland. Why pick him!

In choosing Matthew Levi, Jesus showed how approachable He was (Luke 5:27-32).

Though many despised Matthew for what he was, Jesus saw what he could become.

Fast forward . . .

After Jesus’ ascension, Matthew and his fellow apostles were powerfully used by God to bring many to Christ.

And can you imagine the New Testament without the wonderful Gospel that bears his name?

Time proved Jesus’ investment in Mathew was not misplaced.

So the next time a misfit wanders into one of our assemblies . . . .

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Like Them

How He loved them!

They were so slow to get it!

Yet Jesus “loved them to the end” (John 13:1).

What did He see in these disciples?

First, they were willing to leave all to follow Him (Matthew 19:27). Not everyone was.

Second, when others deserted, they stayed. “Lord, to whom shall we go? . . . . We have believed . . . that You are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

Third, they obeyed. When Jesus sent them out to preach, they went.

Fourth, they grew bold to the point they were glad to be “considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41).

Like them, let’s follow Him, stay with Him, obey Him, suffer for Him.

The key to their growth is the key to ours.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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What Did They Learn?

They kept their ears and eyes open.

No one ever had a better mentor.

How privileged the apostles were to be with Jesus those three years!

They not only heard Him preach and teach, but also observed how He conducted Himself in all kinds of situations.

They saw how He responded to opposition from enemies—facing it boldly, without retaliation.

They learned what His priorities were, that He valued spiritual over physical kinship, that doing His Father’s will took precedence over everything else; that preaching was greater than healing; that society’s rejects were worth His time; that the magnificent temple did not impress Him, but the widow’s generosity did; that He was devoted to prayer; that He aspired to serve, rather than being served.

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They learned to think as He did.

Ever so gradually His values became their values.

Are they becoming ours?

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What Made the Difference?

Jesus chose them???

“And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach . . .” (Mark 3:14).

So ordinary they were, so slow to understand, vying with one another for prominence.

Jesus rebuked their little faith (Matthew 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:20).

At His arrest they all fled. Peter denied he knew Him.

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How it all turned out

But after Jesus’ ascension, they did well—surprisingly well!

How so?

Witnessing the resurrected Christ transformed them into men of strong faith, united with one another, willing to suffer for His name.

The Holy Spirit empowered them to deliver His message boldly and faithfully (Matthew 10:17-20; John 14:26; 16:12-15; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).

Even today, how God delights to equip ordinary people for extraordinary tasks—to His glory!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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