Saturday, May 27, 2017

men who had seen a miracle

The Word for today:
Acts 4:1-31
mark this: Acts 4:1-2, 8-12
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead…
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
If the evidence is examined objectively--without bias or prejudice--it is irrational not to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is, in many ways, the most well attested fact of history.
A person who examines the evidence, and does not believe, either
1. does not want to believe; or
2. has been hopelessly blinded by cultural forces that have actively suppressed the truth, rendering him unable to see straight. (See Romans 1:18.)
The proofs of the resurrection are infallible (Acts 1:3). It was attested to beforehand by prophecy. It was attested to afterwards by eyewitness account. Two thousand years of subsequent history have been unable to dissuade billions of believers, many of whom were/are the brightest minds of their respective centuries.
But the best proof that Jesus is alive is the transformation of the disciples.
When Jesus first appeared after his death, the disciples went through a phase of confusion, rife with rumor and speculation. Some thought, at first, that they'd seen a ghost! Thomas, who had been absent when Jesus first appeared to the others, stayed skeptical until Jesus appeared again and summoned Thomas to touch him. But Thomas shouldn't be singled out. None of them believed in Jesus' resurrection until they saw him for themselves.
But in 40 days Jesus made enough undeniable appearances to convince each of the disciples that he had overthrown death. Seeing was believing for all the disciples (but Jesus commended those who believed without such firsthand evidence.)
Their acts provide infallible proof that they'd seen infallible proof of Jesus' resurrection. (That's what the book of Acts is all about!) They acted like people who had just witnessed the most astounding event in all history--because they had! And they couldn't wait to tell the world.
Excitement, energy, and expectation replaced their fears and doubts. On the streets, in homes and synagogues, they told any who would listen that what they'd thought was impossible had come true: "Jesus is alive; he's the Messiah we've been waiting for!"
The reality of the resurrection had brought astonishing transformation. Peter, for example, had cowered in the shadows at the trial, denying he even knew Jesus. Could this be the same man, standing before the religious leaders and fearlessly rebuking their complicity in the death of Jesus?
Whereas Jesus had preached the kingdom, sometimes even warning his followers not to mention he was the Messiah, his disciples preached the resurrected King! Resurrection resounds through the pages of Acts.
These transformed men transformed the world. Five thousand believed (4:4). Then many priests believed (6:7), then thousands of Jews (21:20).
Acts is a remarkable drama that unfolds as the faith of unschooled men impels a movement that reshaped history. A revolution was underway, powered by men who had seen a miracle.

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