By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
The purpose of this study is to review the events that occur after the resurrection of our Lord. Sometimes the events appear contradictory, but actually are not when examined closely.
The accounts are simply presented from the memories of the Gospel authors and are told from different perspectives. What touched each one personally may have received more focus than getting all the details exactly the same. For example, John tells of Mary Magdalene’s experience in the garden without mentioning the presence of the other women. Were others there or not? Matthew, Mark and Luke list other women who were present at the tomb that morning, but why does John not do so? We will discuss this later. It is beyond question that the author of “The Acts of the Apostles” totally believed in the resurrection of Christ. This author is called “the beloved physician” by Paul and is recognized as Luke (Col.
4:14). Luke tells us why he is convinced that Jesus was alive. “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 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…” (Acts 1:1-3).
The Greek word for passion is derived from a word that meant “suffering.” Passion refers us to the awful suffering and death of Christ on the cross. The pain was excruciating, the death while bearing our sins was almost more than He could bear, so His passion was beyond our ability to understand.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Cor. 5:21). This was no “fly by night” appearance by Jesus, or someone pretending to be Him, but a prolonged stay and visitation that was beyond reproach or question. For 40 days He worked with the disciples and others to teach them what had happened as well as what was coming. He spoke of the “kingdom of God.” Following Christ’s ascension to heaven from Mt. Olives, the disciples fulfilled their charge to wait for a special blessing that would come. They received the baptism of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost and were never the same!