Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christianity Considered 4

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

In our last blog we had come to the end of the initial appearances of the resurrected Christ in Jerusalem. But He had left them instructions to go to Galilee. This is where they saw Him next.

In Galilee

Seven of the disciples were fishermen. Peter led them back to their old occupation on the sea of Galilee. He was still distressed that he had denied his Lord when Jesus was in custody, so he had decided to leave the service of the Messiah and return to his business as a commercial fisherman. But although they fished all night yet they caught nothing! Did the Lord have a hand in ensuring their net was empty? Certainly in the morning a stranger on the shore asked them if they had caught anything. The answer was ‘nothing’. The stranger was, of course, Jesus, though still unrecognized. When instructed to fish again by casting the net on the other side of the boat, they immediately netted a shoal of mature fish. At this point they realised the stranger was none other than Jesus, their Lord and Master. When they finally reached shore He had a meal already prepared for them.

An appearance to a large company of His disciples.

The rendezvous in Galilee that Jesus had previously promised was not only for the eleven but for all the disciples. Although the number of His followers was no longer large, nevertheless some 500 gathered together at His invitation. Here, after assuring them that He had all authority, He gave them the famous instruction: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
The Appearance to James

There was yet one more individual that Jesus had to meet. That was His half-brother, James. James would become an important member of the Christian community and lead the Jerusalem Church. We do not know when the resurrected Jesus met with him, or what the Lord said to him, but we do have Paul’s assurance that it happened. (1 Cor.15.7)

The Ascension

There is one more recorded resurrection appearance, that to the apostles when He ascended from the mountain overlooking Jerusalem. He gave His closest followers some last instructions and then rose from the earth, passing out of sight in the clouds. (Acts 1.9)

There was no doubt He died!

The Bible records for us the details of the death of Jesus of Nazareth. How He was first beaten to within an inch of His life, then dragged a mile up a mountain to be crucified. He was executed there, and the Roman execution party ensured that He was dead before they allowed His body to be taken from the execution stake. He was buried and remained in the tomb for 3 days. There was no doubt He was dead!

There was no doubt He rose!

Then He was seen alive again!

By one on her own, by two together, by a group of 7, a group of 10, a group of 11, a group of 500.

He was seen in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening.

He walked with them, He talked with them, He ate with them He taught them.

He showed the marks of the crucifixion to them.

He spent a little time with some, and a long time with others.

He was seen in poor light and He was seen in good light.

The universal testimony of the followers of the Messiah—He is alive—even though some of them had initially been very reluctant to believe. The record bears all the marks of eye-witness testimony. And the Bible alludes to many more appearances, saying, “After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God”. (Acts 1:3) There was no doubt He was alive again!