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Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 3-5
Verse 3. ”To whom (the apostles He had chosen) also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs (an infallible proof was a token given of a “sure thing.” Jesus showed “sure thing” evidence that He was truly alive.), being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: (Verse 3 gives an overview of what had happened during the previous forty days. Now the attention will turn to this specific day; the day of Jesus’ ascension; the departure to heaven of the only begotten son of God, God manifest in the flesh.)
Verse 4. "And, being assembled together with (them), commanded (a bit more strident sound to the instruction now. Imagine the commandments mentioned in verse to be something Jesus said as they ambled along the seashore. Now -- it would be sitting in a circle. Jesus making eye contact with each man; His voice more strident. Before you do anything else I've commanded, do this that I'm saying now.) them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait (stay around, don't wander off) for the promise of the Father, (the eternal expression of God) which, (saith he), ye have heard of me. (It is the Father's promise, you heard it from God manifest in flesh - totally man, totally God.)
Verse 5. “For John truly baptized (baptizo – immersed, saturated, totally affected) with water; but ye shall be baptized (same word for baptism. Immersed, saturated, totally affected) with the Holy Ghost (so the Holy Ghost is not the baptizer, instead the Holy Ghost is that in which they were to be baptized -- like John baptized in water. You will be baptized similarly with the Holy Ghost) not many days hence.”
This is the only time the phrase is used in the New Testament. In the Greek language an “infallible proof” was an argument by which something can certainly be known.
A good example of an “infallible proof” is the sun rising in the east. Why would there be an argument regarding from which direction the sun rises? There is no reason to debate this topic. We have all seen the sun rise.
None of us have seen the sun rise from any other direction. No historian has ever spoken of a day when the sun set in the east. Such a happening would have been so unusual as to prompt someone to write about it. There is infallible proof that the sun rises in the east.
Infallible proofs were provided to the apostles. By extension, I can choose to believe and accept these infallible proofs though I did not see this proof for myself.
(An infallible proof was a token given of a “sure thing.”) Jesus showed “sure thing” evidence that He was truly alive, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
What would be infallible proof of Jesus’ resurrection?
Wouldn’t the disciples seeing Jesus be proof enough? Unlikely. On Saul’s behalf the witch of Endor called Samuel from the grave. Samuel was seen by Saul though Samuel had not been resurrected. If all these men had was seeing him, they might later imagine themselves to have seen a ghost or perhaps even a theophany as happened in the Old Testament.
What were these tokens of Jesus resurrection?
- Being seen by them
- Eating with them
- Thomas touched the nail-prints in Jesus’ side and the wound in Jesus’ side. Would this have happened with a spirit, ghost, or theophany? For Thomas, the touch was certainly an infallible proof.
Barnes Notes on the New Testament, (edited) gives six reasons the resurrection was infallible proof, or a “token of a sure thing,” to the apostles:
- Because to the apostles, despite Jesus having told them of His death and resurrection, Jesus’ resurrection was unexpected (John 20:25, Luke 24:19-24).
- It was impossible for the eleven to be deceived by the one they had known so well for the past three years.
- There were enough different people in the group to avoid the possibility of them having been deceived by some sleight of hand. These eleven were not the only ones to have seen the resurrected Christ.
- Jesus was with the apostles for 40 days. This was sufficient time to give evidence of Jesus’ personal identity.
- The apostles saw Him at various times and in different places. It was not in some setting where their seeing him could be managed by trickery. The resurrection is not akin to the wizard of Oz.
- He appeared to them as he had always done, as a friend, companion, and sponsor of their future efforts.
Jesus was seen 40 days. Over those 40 days, the gospels and the Book of Acts record thirteen different occasions when Jesus was seen.
Betting on a Sure Thing
The infallible proofs of Jesus resurrection amount to a token regarding a sure thing. If betting on a race – this horse or dog is a sure thing. A sure thing is not a gamble at all. Most gamblers unfortunately discover that their sure thing was not at all sure.
The resurrection of Christ is quite different. There are abundant assurances of its certainty.
- Jesus was seen by multiple people after His resurrection.
- Jesus was seen on thirteen different occasions and in multiple locations.
If the story of Jesus resurrection were a conspiracy among eleven devious men, the story would have quickly unraveled. Criminal conspirators cannot keep quiet about their misdeed even when there is no pressure. These men came under intense pressure from Jewish leaders and the Roman government. They were persecuted without mercy. Most died as martyrs.
Men will scarcely die as a martyr defending the truth. Far fewer will die defending a known lie.
The resurrection being a “token of a sure thing” gives assurance. There is no gamble involved. How does this affect life?
- The gospel (death, burial, and resurrection of Christ) are the power of God unto salvation.
- The resurrection of Christ is the first-fruits of the promised resurrection of the Christian believer. It happened with Him; it will also happen with you.
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