Our scene: Ten years after the resurrection, the Apostle Peter found himself in a non-Jewish home, preaching Jesus to everyone present.
If Christianity were a myth, the church would have barely, if ever, mentioned the resurrection at first, adding it later. Instead, the early church was built on the resurrection, while the modern church often forgets its significance.
Jesus rose! A decision must be made!
37 “You yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
- He spoke of Jesus’:
- 1 Work on earth.
- 2 Work on the cross.
- 3 Work of resurrection.
- 4 Current work.
1 Jesus’ Work On Earth (Acts 10:37-39a)
“37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39a And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.”
- 37 You yourselves know: Everyone in that region, even ten years later, was conscious of what Jesus had been up to during his earthly ministry.
His earthly ministry was a foretaste:
- 1 Of his good news.
- Mark 2:10–11 (NKJV) — 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
- 2 Of his new creation.
- Romans 8:18–21 (NIV) — 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
- 3 Of his people.
- Micah 6:8 (ESV) — 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
2 Jesus’ Work On The Cross (Acts 10:39b)
39b They put him to death by hanging him on a tree…
- On a tree: But why did Peter refer to the cross as a tree?
- Trees are natural, organic, and life-giving, while crosses are manmade and life-taking.
- Because we were cursed when Adam, the representative of humanity, ate the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Humanity came under the curse (Genesis 3:13-19).
- So Jesus’ tree brings us life, instead of the curse, because he became cursed for us!
- His death consumed the curse for us (Genesis 2:17, 3:14-19).
- Galatians 3:13 (ESV) — 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written [in Deuteronomy 21:23], “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
- Note: From Israelite law — a man hanging on a tree is cursed (Deuteronomy 21:23).
3 Jesus’ Work Of Resurrection (Acts 10:40-41)
“40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
Significance of the resurrection
- 1 Secures Our Future: 1 Corinthians 15:20–21 (The Message) — 20 But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries. 21 There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man.
- 2 Starts Jesus’ Ministry: Romans 5:10 (ESV) — 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
- 3 Makes Christianity Valid: 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17 (ESV) — 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
- 40-41 Made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses: The Witness Of The Apostles
- There are many credible clues which testify to the fact of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, but they begin with the witness of the apostles.
- Acts 1:3 (HCSB) — 3 After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
- Their firsthand witness: Mary Magdalene / the other women / the Emmaus road disciples / Peter / The 10 on Sunday night / The 11 the following Sunday night / The 7 at the Sea of Galilee / To the 11 on the appointed mountain at Galilee / to 500 at one time, also in Galilee / James The ascension / Paul’s conversion [^ Mary Magdalene who had gone back to the tomb after Peter and John had been there (Mark 16:9-11, John 20:11-18) / The Other Women also, after they had announced the empty tomb to the 11 (Matthew 28:9-10 — The first two witnesses were female, an impossible detail if a fabrication, because the gospels were written in a male-dominated society) / Emmaus Road disciples (Luke 24:13-32, Mark 16:12-13) / Peter (Luke 24:33-35, 1 Corinthians 15:5) / Sunday Evening Dinner Hideout with 10 disciples (Mark 16:14, Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-25) / Sunday Night with Thomas, so all 11 disciples (John 20:26-31) / Sea Of Galilee to 7 disciples (John 21) / To 500 on an appointed mountain in Galilee (Mark 16:15-18, Matthew 28:16-20, 1 Corinthians 15:6) / To his own brother, James (1 Corinthians 15:7) / Day 40: The Final Commission/Ascension (Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:3-8) / To Paul (Acts 9)]
- Often, these sightings consisted of seeing, touching, hearing, and eating.
- Their transformation.
- Their preaching theme.
- Their character.
- They were credible people.
- Without ulterior motives.
- Then, there were offshoots of their apostolic witness.
- 1 Reaction of those who rejected Christ.
- 2 The existence of the early church.
- Consisted of monotheistic Jews. To worship Jesus was a large jump for them, made possible by the resurrection.
- 3 Rapid growth of Christianity.
- True: grows quick.
- Legend: it would take multiple generations to gain traction, once it became more of a mystery.
- Like other religions.
- 4 Sunday worship
- Jewish people decided to shift from the time-honored Saturday Sabbath to Sunday worship, a massive shift which needed a catalyst in order to initiate.
- 5 Early, impressive conversions (Acts 6:7).
- Priests (Acts 6:7): As the guardians of first-century Judaism, they had every reason not to believe in Jesus.
- 6 The New Testament itself.
- Had Christ stayed dead, his story would’ve been lost, a mere footnote in human history.
- Conclusion: Jesus appeared to them, many times, in a bodily, resurrected state!
Jesus’ Current Work (Acts 10:42-43)
“42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
- 42 The judge of the living and the dead: He is the judge of all mortals.
- 43 Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name: But he provides forgiveness to all mortals.
- How? To whom? Everyone who believes. That is trust! That is faith.
- Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- Faith is not a blind and unreasonable belief in something mystical. It is a built on the resurrection, strengthened by the cosmos and the prophetic witness of the Scriptures.
- Trust him!
- How? To whom? Everyone who believes. That is trust! That is faith.