Torch, Spring 1979

spoke seventeen times in anticipation of His resurrection. The Resurrection Authenticated When Jesus rose from the dead, He did not appear to just one or two favored disciples. He appeared to a variety of individuals in different settings both in Judea and Galilee over a period of forty days. Thus Luke, the beloved physician and careful historian, states that Jesus had "showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible-proofs, being seen by them forty days" (Acts 1:3). Probably the New Testament does not record all of the appearances of Christ, but rather is selective in assembling its evidence. The evidence presented is impressive. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene as she lingered weeping by the empty tomb (John 20:14-18). He appeared to the women as they ran from the empty tomb to tell the disciples the angelic message that He was risen from the dead (Matt. 28:8- 10). Jesus appeared privately to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor.15:5). He walked and talked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31 ). Jesus appeared to the ten disciples on the first day of the week when Thomas (called Didymus) was not with them (John 20:19-24). He appeared to all eleven eight days later (John 20:24-29). He appeared by the sea of Galilee to the seven disciples who had gone fishing (John 21 :1-23). It was probably also in Galilee that He appeared to the disciples and the five hundred brethren at one time (I Cor. 15:6). . The resurrected Christ had a private interview with his half-brother James (I Cor. 15:7), and through the Holy Spirit He gave the commands for evangelism and missionary activity to the eleven before His ascension back into heaven (Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:33-53; Acts 1:2-12). The Resurrection Announced The resurrection of Jesus was not to be kept a secret. It was announced, proclaimed and witnessed by his followers. The replacement for Judas Iscariot was to join with the other apostles as a witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:22). The heart of Peter's message on the day of Pentecost had to do with Jesus whom the Jews had crucified but whom God had raised up from the dead (Acts 2:23-36). After the healing of the lame man in Acts 3, Peter declared that the Jews had "killed the Prince of !ife, whom God hath raised from the dead, of whom we are witnesses" (v. 15). The leaders of the Jews arrested Peter and John because they "taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead" (Acts 4:2). After they were filled by the Holy Spirit, the apostles with great power gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:33). Peter declared to the Gentiles gathered in the home of Cornelius in Caesarea that God had raised up Jesus on the third day and shown Him openly and that some witnesses ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead (Acts 10:40, 41). Paul preached at Antioch in Pisidia that God had raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 13:29-37). In the synagogue in Thessalonica Paul reasoned with them out of the scriptures, "opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead" (Acts 17:2,3). In the market place in Athens, Paul preached to them Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:17, 18). In his letters to young churches Paul wrote frequently and fervently concerning the resurrection of Jesus (Rom. 1:4; 6:5; I Cor. 15; Phil. 3:10). Peter also wrote of this in his first epistle (1:3; 3:21) . The apostles' testimony of the resurrection, based on their personal witness, was preeminent in their ministry. This was a message of the greatest importance because it would lead to the eternal salvation of those who believed it. The Resurrection Accepted 5 But how does the message of the resurrection fit in with the gospel that must be accepted and believed if one is to be saved? What part does it play in obtaining a personal relationship with God and with the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is that the resurrection of Christ is the very heart of the gospel message which must be received and believed. As Paul wrote, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel . . . by which · also ye are saved. For I delivered unto you first of al1 that which Ialso received, that Christ died for your sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (I Cor. 15: 1- 4). It is this gospel message which has the transforming power of salvation. Some may try to simplify salvation to the point of only believing in Jesus (Acts 16:31) or to merely calling upon the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13), but one of the most clear and comprehensive statements of what is involved in the sinner's receiving salvation hinges on an acceptance of Christ's resurrection: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:9,10). It is on the basis of this verbal confession of Jesus as Lord and the genuine belief that God raised Jesus from the dead that a person is saved. Such a response of faith results in being declared righteous, while audible confession results in salvation. This is the vital relationship between the resurrection and salvation. In the New Testament the resurrection was anticipated by Christ Himself; it was authenticated by many witnesses; it was announced by many preachers; and when this truth is accepted by faith, salvation will result in the life of the one who believes it. Mr. Mcintosh is an Associate Professor of Bible at Cedarville College.