SG “The Well” started the year 2022 with a study of the Acts of the Apostles.
Using study material from BSF Wordgo, the first lesson was focused on Acts 1:1-4 & Luke 24 which highlighted that after Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared before the disciples for 40 days. A detailed account of His appearance was recorded for us in John 20 & 21. One question raised at our session, was why Jesus didn’t appear and spend time with His persecutors (religious leaders, the chief priests, Caiaphas, Pilate, etc) as much as He had spent with the disciples. Perhaps by doing so, His enemies would be convinced of His power, resurrection and confirmation that He was indeed the Son of God!
Furthermore, would a larger group of witnesses provide more compelling evidence for others to believe in Jesus? We thank God that the way the good news, the gospel of Jesus and His work propagated in the early church and until today, is not by way of having to listen to or to see Jesus in person.
The NT Scripture is built upon the foundation stones laid down by the Apostles of the early church. Many Scripture references that we now have in our hands are sufficient to lead others to believe in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:17,“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. The power and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which we will hear and learn throughout the study of Acts, will work in tandem with the Word in our hearts to bring us to believe in God.
Hence, it is not more important that Jesus appeared to the right number of people after His resurrection but more importantly, the right people in the right place at the right time. The disciples who because of their personal encounters after Jesus’ crucifixion, went on to champion for their Lord and Saviour. All of them died in ways that cannot be imagined by our frail human minds. The fact that all the Apostles were willing to die horrible deaths, refusing to renounce their faith in Christ, is tremendous evidence that they had witnessed the resurrection of their Lord, Jesus Christ. And it is their conviction, their commitment and their sacrifice that have laid a strong foundation for the church. Such was the wisdom of God.
In the study of Acts, we will understand and marvel at the work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus reiterated (five times) to His disciples in the Gospel of John. The presence of the Holy Spirit will lead us to changed lives as we profess His Lordship!
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed – John 20:29