God’s Word for You
Acts 1:3 things about the kingdom of God
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, August 7, 2019
3 After his suffering he showed himself alive to them with many decisive proofs. Over the course of forty days he appeared to them and told them things about the kingdom of God.
How quickly Luke passes over the suffering of Jesus here! Of course, there are whole chapters devoted to it in his first book. Here “suffering” or “passion” (to pathein, τὸ παθεῖν) stands for everything Jesus endured to atone for our sins, particularly from Gethsemane to the cross.
Among the “decisive proofs” Jesus used to prove it was he who had risen from the dead were the nailprints in his hands, feet, and side (John 20:27), his intimate knowledge and understanding of his own ministry, surpassing that of anyone else (Luke 24:26-31), the very sound of his voice (John 20:16), his ability to perform miracles (John 21:5-6), and the ability to eat and drink (John 21:13; Acts 1:4). What other decisive proofs does he give to us? The testimonies of those who saw him.
Paul gives us a partial list of his resurrection appearances: “He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and… he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (1 Corinthians 15:4-8). These appearances and the others listed in the Gospels took place at intervals during the forty days. Jesus was not with them all the time. He would come, speak, perhaps eat, and then vanish for a time. I think that the Holy Spirit presents twelve appearances in all (one after the ascension). If my list does not jibe with your own tally, the fault is probably in me. I place Mary Magdalene at the head of the list because she started for the tomb much earlier than the other women (John 20:1; Cp. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1) and because of “first” in Mark 16:9.
1, Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18; Mark 16:9-11)
2, The women at the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10)
3, Two disciples going to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32; Mark 16:12)
4, Peter (in or near Jerusalem, Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
5, The ten disciples (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23)
6, The eleven disciples (John 20:24-29; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
7, Seven disciples fishing in Galilee (John 21:1-23)
8, Eleven disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18)
9, Five hundred (in Galilee? 1 Corinthians 15:6)
10, James, the Lord’s brother (1 Corinthians 15:7)
11, The eleven in the vicinity at Bethany (Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:6-9)
12, To Paul (Acts 9:3-6; Acts 22:7-10; Acts 26:14-18)
The “kingdom of God” is not just the borders of heaven and the throne of God. It is the way God gathers his people, the people who truly make up the kingdom. Jesus’ parables show us the way the kingdom is spread (the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:18-23), how repentance plays an important part (The Lost Sheep, Luke 15:4-7; Lost Coin, Luke 15:8-10; and Lost Son, Luke 15:31-32). He also teaches how something large comes from something very small (the Mustard Seed, Mark 4:30-32). Finally, the kingdom is entered through faith in Christ. James said: “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom?” (James 2:5). We know about the kingdom of God and the decisive proofs of Jesus’ resurrection through the testimony of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and Evangelists. There is no secret message, no hidden testimony. There is only the simple glory of the resurrection of Jesus and the forgiveness handed down to each one of us through faith in him. To have my sins forgiven! To have the certainty of eternal life! To know that God the Almighty loves me! These are the glorious truths we cherish, and which we pass down to all those we love.
Pastor Timothy Smith