To whom - he showed himself alive - by many infallible proofs - Πολλοις τεκμηριοις ; by many proofs of such a nature, and connected with such circumstances, as to render them indubitable; for this is the import of the Greek word τεκμηριον . The proofs were such as these:
The several appearances of Jesus Christ, during the forty days of his sojourning with his disciples, between his resurrection and ascension, are thus enumerated by Bishop Pearce:
The second, to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, Luke 24:15.
The third, to Simon Peter, Luke 24:34.
The fifth was to the eleven disciples, Thomas being then with them, John 20:26.
The sixth, to seven of the apostles in Galilee, at the sea of Tiberias, John 21:4.
Whatever concerned the doctrine, discipline, and establishment of the Christian Church.
He showed himself - The resurrection of Jesus was the great fact on which the truth of the gospel was to be established. Hence, the sacred writers so often refer to it, and establish it by so many arguments. As the fact of his resurrection lay at the foundation of all that Luke was about to record in his history, it was of importance that he should state clearly the sum of the evidence of it in the beginning of his work.
After his passion - After he suffered, referring particularly to his death as the consummation of his sufferings. The word “passion” with us means commonly excitement or agitation of mind, as love, hope, fear, anger, etc. The original means “after he suffered.” The word “passion,” applied to the Saviour, denotes his last sufferings. Thus, in the Litany of the Episcopal Church, it is beautifully said, “By thine agony and bloody sweat; by thy cross and passion, good Lord, deliver us.” The Greek word of the same derivation is rendered sufferings in 1 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter 4:13; Colossians 1:24.
By many infallible proofs - The word rendered here “infallible proofs” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. In Greek authors it denotes an infallible sign or argument by which anything can be certainly known (Schleusner). Here it means the same - evidence that he was alive which could not deceive, or in which they could not be mistaken. That evidence consisted in his eating with them, conversing with them, meeting them at various times and places, working miracles John 21:6-7, and uniformly showing himself to be the same friend with whom they had been familiar for more than three years. This evidence was infallible:
(1) Because it was to them unexpected. They had manifestly not believed that he would rise again, John 20:25; Luke 24:19-24. There was, therefore, no delusion resulting from any expectation of seeing him, or from a design to impose on people.
(2) it was impossible that they could have been deceived in relation to one with whom they had been familiar for more than three years. No people in the possession of reason could be made to believe that they really saw, talked with, and ate with, a friend whom they had known so long and familiarly, unless it was real.
(3) there were enough of them to avoid the possibility of deception. Though it might be pretended that one man could be imposed on, yet it could not be that an imposition could be practiced for forty days on eleven men, who were all at first incredulous.
(4) he was with them sufficient time to give evidence of his personal identity. It might be pretended, if they had seen him but once, that they were deceived. But they saw him often, and for the space of more than a month.
(5) they saw him in various places and at times in which there could be no deception. If they had pretended that they saw him rise, or saw him at twilight in the morning when he rose, it might have been said that they were deluded by something that was merely the result of imagination. It might have been said that, expecting to see him rise, their hopes, in the agitated state of their minds, deceived them, and that they only fancied that they saw him. But it is not pretended by the sacred writers that they saw him rise. An impostor “would have affirmed this, and would not have omitted it.” But the sacred writers affirmed that they saw him after he was risen; when they were free from agitation; when they could judge coolly; in Jerusalem; in their own company when at worship; when journeying to Emmaus; when in Galilee; when he went with them to Mount Olivet; and when he ascended to heaven: and how could they have been deceived in this?
(6) he appeared to them as he had always done, as a friend, companion, and benefactor; he ate with them, performed a miracle before them, was engaged in the same work as he was before he suffered, renewed the same promise of the Holy Spirit, and gave them his commands respecting the work which he had died to establish, and the work which he required them to do - carrying out the same purposes and plans which he had before he died. In all these circumstances it was impossible that they should be deceived.
Being seen of them forty days - There are no less than thirteen different appearances of Jesus to his disciples recorded. For an account of them, see the notes at the end of the gospel of Matthew.
Speaking to them - He was not only seen by them, but he continued the same topics of discourse as before his sufferings; thus showing that he was the same person that had suffered, and that his heart was still intent on the same great work. And as his heart was occupied with the same purposes which endued his attention before he suffered, we are taught by this that we should aim at the same great work in all the circumstances of our being. Afflictions, persecutions, and the prospect of death never turned him from his great plan; nor should they be allowed to divert our minds from the great work which God has given us to do.
The things pertaining to the kingdom of God - For an explanation of this phrase, the kingdom of God, see the notes on Matthew 3:2. The meaning is, Jesus gave them instructions about the organization, spread, and edification of his church.
Crushed by despondency, grief, and despair, the disciples met together in the upper chamber, and closed and fastened the doors, fearing that the fate of their beloved Teacher might be theirs. It was here that the Saviour, after His resurrection, appeared to them. AA 26.1
For forty days Christ remained on the earth, preparing the disciples for the work before them and explaining that which heretofore they had been unable to comprehend. He spoke of the prophecies concerning His advent, His rejection by the Jews, and His death, showing that every specification of these prophecies had been fulfilled. He told them that they were to regard this fulfillment of prophecy as an assurance of the power that would attend them in their future labors. “Then opened He their understanding,” we read, “that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” And He added, “Ye are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:45-48. AA 26.2
During these days that Christ spent with His disciples, they gained a new experience. As they heard their beloved Master explaining the Scriptures in the light of all that had happened, their faith in Him was fully established. They reached the place where they could say, “I know whom I have believed.” 2 Timothy 1:12. They began to realize the nature and extent of their work, to see that they were to proclaim to the world the truths entrusted to them. The events of Christ's life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies pointing to these events, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins—to all these things they had been witnesses, and they were to make them known to the world. They were to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation through repentance and the power of the Saviour. AA 27.1Read in context »
The time had come for Christ to ascend to His Father's throne. As a divine conqueror He was about to return with the trophies of victory to the heavenly courts. Before His death He had declared to His Father, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4. After His resurrection He tarried on earth for a season, that His disciples might become familiar with Him in His risen and glorified body. Now He was ready for the leave-taking. He had authenticated the fact that He was a living Saviour. His disciples need no longer associate Him with the tomb. They could think of Him as glorified before the heavenly universe. DA 829.1Read in context »
While the holy women were carrying the report that Jesus had risen, the Roman guard were circulating the lie that had been put into their mouths by the chief priests and elders, that the disciples came by night, while they slept, and stole the body of Jesus. Satan had put this lie into the hearts and mouths of the chief priests, and the people stood ready to receive their word. But God had made this matter sure, and placed this important event, upon which our salvation depends, beyond all doubt; and it was impossible for priests and elders to cover it up. Witnesses were raised from the dead to testify to Christ's resurrection. EW 189.1
Jesus remained with His disciples forty days, causing them joy and gladness of heart as He opened to them more fully the realities of the kingdom of God. He commissioned them to bear testimony to the things which they had seen and heard concerning His sufferings, death, and resurrection, that He had made a sacrifice for sin, and that all who would might come unto Him and find life. With faithful tenderness He told them that they would be persecuted and distressed; but they would find relief in recalling their experience and remembering the words which He had spoken to them. He told them that He had overcome the temptations of Satan and obtained the victory through trials and suffering. Satan could have no more power over Him, but would bring his temptations to bear more directly upon them and upon all who should believe in His name. But they could overcome as He had overcome. Jesus endowed His disciples with power to work miracles, and told them that although they should be persecuted by wicked men, He would from time to time send His angels to deliver them; their lives could not be taken until their mission should be accomplished; then they might be required to seal with their blood the testimonies which they had borne. EW 189.2
His anxious followers gladly listened to His teachings, eagerly feasting upon every word which fell from His holy lips. Now they certainly knew that He was the Saviour of the world. His words sank deep into their hearts, and they sorrowed that they must soon be parted from their heavenly Teacher and no longer hear comforting, gracious words from His lips. But again their hearts were warmed with love and exceeding joy, as Jesus told them that He would go and prepare mansions for them and come again and receive them, that they might be ever with Him. He promised also to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide them into all truth. “And He lifted up His hands, and blessed them.” EW 190.1Read in context »
The Son of God was rejected by those whom He came to bless. He was taken by wicked hands and crucified. But after He had risen from the dead, He was with His disciples forty days, and in this time He gave them much precious instruction. He laid down to His followers the principles underlying the higher education. And when He was about to leave them and go to His Father, His last words to them were, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” FE 535.1
To many who place their children in our schools, strong temptations will come, because they desire them to secure what the world regards as the most essential education. Who knows what constitutes the most essential education, unless it is the education to be obtained from that Book which is the foundation of all true knowledge? Those who regard as essential the knowledge to be gained along the line of worldly education are making a great mistake, one which will cause them to be swayed by individual opinions that are human and erring. To those who feel that their children must have what the world calls the essential education, I would say, Bring your children to the simplicity of the word of God, and they will be safe. We are going to be greatly scattered before long, and what we do must be done quickly. FE 535.2
The light has been given me that tremendous pressures will be brought upon every Seventh-day Adventist with whom the world can get into close connection. Those who seek the education that the world esteems so highly, are gradually led further and further from the principles of truth until they become educated worldlings. At what a price have they gained their education! They have parted with the Holy Spirit of God. They have chosen to accept what the world calls knowledge in the place of the truths which God has committed to men through His ministers and prophets and apostles. And there are some who, having secured this worldly education, think that they can introduce it into our schools. But let me tell you that you must not take what the world calls the higher education and bring it into our schools and sanitariums and churches. We need to understand these things. I speak to you definitely. This must not be done. FE 535.3Read in context »
Study the first and second chapters of Acts. Light has been given me that our work must be carried forward in a higher and broader way than it has ever yet been carried. The light of heaven is to be appreciated and cherished. This light is for the laborers. It is for those who feel that God has given them a message, and that they have a sacred responsibility to bear in its proclamation. FE 530.1
The message of present truth is to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Let us understand this, and let those placed in responsible positions come into such unity that the work shall go forward solidly. Do not allow any man to come in as an arbitrary ruler, and say, You must go here, and you must not go there; and you must do this, and you must not do that. We have a great and important work to do, and God would have us take hold of that work intelligently. The placing of men in positions of responsibility in the various conferences, does not make them gods. No one has sufficient wisdom to act without counsel. Men need to consult with their brethren, to counsel together, to pray together, and to plan together for the advancement of the work. Let laborers kneel down together and pray to God, asking Him to direct their course. There has been a great lack with us on this point. We have trusted too much to men's devisings. We cannot afford to do this. Perilous times are upon us, and we must come to the place where we know that the Lord lives and rules, and that He dwells in the hearts of the children of men. We must have confidence in God. FE 530.2
Wherever you may be sent, cherish in your hearts and minds the fear and love of God. Go daily to the Lord for instruction and guidance; depend upon God for light and knowledge. Pray for this instruction and this light, until you get it. It will not avail for you to ask, and then forget the thing for which you prayed. Keep your mind upon your prayer. You can do this while working with your hands. You can say, Lord, I believe; with all my heart I believe. Let the Holy Spirit's power come upon me. FE 530.3Read in context »