Father, I Must Show Them I’m Alive & They Must See My Scars

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament book of the Acts which describes the spiritual body of Jesus Christ in the earth as written by the physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first chapter of this book. “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:1-8).

            “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

 

            “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath’s day journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:12-14).

 

            “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels bushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning with the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed, Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry of apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:15-26).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the beginning of a second book which was written by the beloved physician Luke. From the very beginning of the book you will find Luke acknowledging unto the recipient of this book that it was indeed the second treatise which was written unto him. If you begin reading with and from the opening verses of the first chapter of this book you will find Luke acknowledging the name of the recipient he was writing to as well as acknowledging the context of the previous treatise he had written. In the first verse of this chapter you will find Luke acknowledging that the previous treatise he wrote contained language concerning all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day in which He was taken up and returned unto the right hand of the Father. If you turn and direct your attention to the previous treatise which was written by Luke—the gospel narrative written by this beloved physician—you will find that it concludes with Jesus leading His disciples and followers as far as the mount called Olivet. It would be there at the mount of Olivet as the disciples and followers of Jesus were beholding their Lord and Christ He was taken up into heaven before being received out of their sight by a cloud. The beloved physician Luke acknowledges in the opening verses of this new treatise that which he had written in the former treatise and how this former treatise was written specifically to call to attention all that Jesus began to do and to teach in the earth. That first treatise was written with one specific intent and purpose—namely, to present a gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was rehearsed in his hearing by eyewitnesses who actually witnessed and beheld the events which took place during the times of the Christ.

 

            If there is one thing which so amazes me about the gospel narrative written by this beloved physician Luke it’s that it was not written from a first-hand experience and encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ but rather based on eyewitness accounts of those who had walked with, those who had talked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ during those three and a half years. What’s more is when you discover that Luke wasn’t even Hebrew or Jewish by nature but was instead a Gentile who would come to Christ during the days of the apostle Paul. This takes on an entirely new meaning when you think about the fact that there would be an abundant harvest that would be gathered together in the days after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and after the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Although Luke was not an actual eyewitness to the events which took place during those days in the land of Judaea and Galilee he would nonetheless keep company and fellowship with those who had indeed walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. This actually brings me to something incredibly unique and important—namely, regarding the company and fellowship we keep. I have oftentimes said that we must needs be acquaintances with everyone but pick and choose our friends very carefully. Upon reading this New Testament book which was written by the beloved physician Luke you will find that he being a Gentile would come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ during the days of the apostle Paul. It would be during the days of this apostle who would have his own experience with the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and who would become the greatest apostle and missionary to every walk the face of the earth.

 

            As I read the words found in this particular passage of Scripture I cannot help but find myself encountering the tremendous truth that the beloved physician Luke was a Gentile who would come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ during the days of the apostle Paul and who would be a traveling companion of his. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding this physician Luke is who he indeed spoke with who spoke unto him of this person of Jesus of Nazareth. Not only this but I find myself wondering how many different men and women the physician Luke spoke with as he heard the words, the deeds and the actions of the Christ being rehearsed in his hearing. What’s more is that I can’t help but wonder if it was a direct result of these encounters with these men and women who walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ that allowed him to become a follower of Jesus. What makes this even more interesting and astonishing when you think about it is how men and women who had not personally encountered and experienced the Lord Jesus Christ could indeed become disciples and followers of His based on the preaching of the gospel concerning Him. It is truly something to stop and consider the fact that it’s one thing for apostles such as Peter, James, John, Philip, Matthew, Andrew, Bartholomew and others to become disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus and to believe upon His name having been personally called by Him. It would have been one thing for Jesus’ own brethren and mother to believe on His name and to be among those who were present in the upper room in the city of Jerusalem after His ascension having walked with, talked with and experienced Him. It was, however, something else entirely different when you consider the events which unfold in the book of Acts and how men and women would become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ without having ever personally walked with and talked with Him.

 

            The first treatise which the beloved physician Luke wrote was centered upon the events which transpired during those days in which the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth walked upon the face of the earth. Luke makes it very clear when writing this second treatise unto the same intended recipient—Theophilus—that this first treatise which was written was indeed done so with the express purpose of calling attention to the life and ministry of this Jesus of Nazareth. Although Luke had never personally experienced the person of this Jesus of Nazareth He would nonetheless experience and encounter Him through the testimonies and eyewitness accounts of those who had indeed experienced Him. We know from the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints that there was upwards of five hundred unto whom Jesus of Nazareth appeared to and showed Himself alive after His resurrection and that there were a great number of those who were still alive at the time Paul wrote this epistle. We also know from verses later on in this first chapter of the book of Acts that when it came to choosing one who would step into the office vacated by Judas through transgression that the qualification for such a one was to be present among them from the time of the baptism of John unto the time of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. FROM BAPTISM TO ASCENSION! It is important for us to recognize and understand this for the latter portion of the first chapter of this book and the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints bring us face to face with the knowledge that there were indeed those who walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ who would have still been alive during the days of the apostle Paul.

 

            Oh I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the words found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but consider the fact that there were indeed two different testimonies and witnesses present in the earth during those days. There was the testimony and witness of those who actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ during those three and a half years He walked upon the earth and there was the testimony and witness of the apostle Paul. There were those who had personally walked with Jesus of Nazareth in the flesh and beheld all that He began to do and teach until the time of His ascension. Then there was the apostle Paul who referred to himself as being one untimely born who had also personally experienced this Jesus of Nazareth. Although the apostle Paul would not experience Jesus of Nazareth the same way others such as Peter, James, John, and even the brethren of Jesus did he would nonetheless experience him in an entirely different way. Not only this but Scripture makes it very clear that the apostle Paul would experience Christ on the road to Damascus when Jesus would first appear unto him and he would again experience this same Jesus while in the city of Corinth in what is modern day Greece. There even appears to be a third manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the apostle Paul as was written and recorded in the twelfth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. It would be in this particular chapter when the apostle Paul would speak of the three heavens and one who was caught up to the third heaven that he would write of how the Lord Jesus would appear and speak unto him and not only declare how His grace was sufficient for him but also that His strength was made perfect in his weakness. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something worth noting and paying attention to concerning the witness of those who did indeed walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ and the secondary witness and experience of the Lord Jesus Christ by one such as the apostle Paul.

 

            This second treatise written by the physician Luke was meant to be an addendum and follow up to the previous treatise he wrote concerning all that Jesus began both to do and teach until the day in which He was taken up. What’s more is that in the opening verses of this first chapter of the book of Acts we not only find the beloved physician Luke alluding to all that Jesus began both to do and to teach until the time that He ascended and was taken up unto the right hand of the Father, but also those events which took place in the days after Jesus had been raised from death to life. It’s important to recognize and understand the words found in the opening verses of this chapter for the words we find here call and draw our attention to both the resurrection and the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ as the beloved physician Luke would use both as the foundation for this second treatise. There is absolutely no mistaking what is found within the opening verses of this chapter for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful and powerful truth that not only did the beloved physician Luke write of the resurrection of this Jesus of Nazareth but he also wrote of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you read the second verse of this opening chapter you will find the physician Luke writing of how Jesus both taught and did until the day in which he was taken up after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen. It would be in the third verse of this opening chapter Luke would write concerning those forty days after the resurrection of this Jesus of Nazareth that He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs being seen of them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

 

            What I so love about the words which are presented unto us in the opening verses of this chapter is how the beloved physician Luke emphasized these forty days after the Lord Jesus Christ had risen from the grave. The beloved physician Luke would write of Jesus’ resurrection from death to life and how He would remain upon the earth for forty days after that resurrection teaching and showing Himself unto His apostles and followers. Oh there is something truly astonishing and remarkable about the words presented here in this passage of Scripture for within them we come face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that after Jesus was raised from death to life on the third day He did not immediately ascend unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven. I have previously written that the Lord Jesus Christ could have been raised from death to life after He was handed over to the Gentiles to be crucified and He could have been raised from death to life after He had been buried in the earth—almost as if He was discarded and removed from the picture by the religious leaders of that day—and he could have ascended unto the right hand of the Father without appearing unto His apostles and those who walked with and followed Him. The Father could have raised Jesus from the grave after causing the earthquake to strike the ground, after the angel from heaven rolled away the stone, and after the graveclothes were removed from Jesus’ physical person and then immediately taken Him up unto heaven and set Him down at His right hand. The Father could have taken the Lord Jesus Christ unto Himself after He had been buried in the earth until the third day and could have even done so with the tomb being empty. The truth of the matter, however, is that after Jesus was raised from death to life on the third day He would remain upon the earth for another forty days until the time came for Him to be taken up unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven.

 

            I have to admit that I am completely and utterly fascinated with the words found in the opening verses of the first chapter of the book of Acts for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that Jesus did indeed rise from death to life and emerge from the grave, however, even after He emerged from the grave He did not immediately ascend unto the right hand of the Father. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely incredible it is to read the words presented here in this passage of Scripture and how not only did Jesus show Himself alive after He had been raised from death to life but He also showed Himself alive unto certain men and women of those days. What’s more is that Jesus would do more than show Himself alive but would also show the scars and the prints in His hands where the nails had been hammered into His flesh as well as the print in His side where the spear was thrust by the Roman soldier. Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must needs recognize concerning the Lord Jesus Christ is that when He was raised from death to life He did in fact rise with the scars of His suffering and death still present upon His body. Stop and think about this for a moment for the Holy Spirit could have raised Jesus from death to life and healed His wounds and His scars and completely removed any trace of the suffering He had experienced and endured. The Holy Spirit could have raised Jesus from death to life on the third day and completely restored His flesh as though He had never suffered before. The truth of the matter, however, is that when the Holy Spirit raised up Jesus from death to life He did so leaving the scars within and upon the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            I WANT TO RETAIN THE SCARS! I WANT TO HOLD ON TO THE SCARS! I DON’T WANT TO LET GO OF THE SCARS! I WANT TO KEEP THE SCARS! THE SCARS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF SHOWING MYSELF ALIVE! THE SCARS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE RESURRECTION! If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the final chapters of the New Testament gospel accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus we not only find Jesus showing Himself alive unto His apostles and those who walked with and followed Him but we also find Him showing the scars of His suffering. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Jesus besought the Father that He might retain and hold on to the scars which were present upon His flesh—not only to bring those scars into heaven when He ascended unto the right hand of the Father but also to show unto His apostles and followers during those forty days after He had been raised from death to life. In all reality we must needs recognize that it wasn’t merely enough for Jesus to show Himself alive with many infallible proofs for it was also necessary for Jesus to show the scars of His suffering in the person of His flesh. We know from Scripture that Jesus showed Himself alive and we know that Jesus showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs, however, with this being said we must also recognize and understand that there was something else Jesus showed when He was raised from death to life. After Jesus had risen from death to life on the third day He would indeed show Himself alive with many infallible proofs demonstrating that He was indeed alive, however, there is something else we need to recognize and that is that after Jesus was raised from death to life He would show unto His disciples and followers the scars of His suffering—that which truly demonstrated and confirmed the fact that He had indeed suffered in the flesh and was indeed crucified in the flesh. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the final chapters of the New Testament gospel written by Luke as well as the final chapters of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John:

 

            “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known in the breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath. Not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these thing, and, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:33-49).

 

            “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas was with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:19-29).

 

            Please do not miss the tremendous importance of the words found within these two portions of Scripture for within them we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding Jesus being raised from the dead and showing Himself alive. We know from the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints that Jesus showed Himself alive after His resurrection unto Simon called Peter, unto James, unto the eleven apostles, and ultimately unto upwards of five hundred at once during those forty days. We know from the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts that Jesus showed Himself alive after He had been raised from death to life during those forty days with many infallible proofs. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize and understand that Jesus did more than show Himself alive with infallible proofs but also showed Himself alive with and through the scars in His physical flesh. It would be the beloved physician Luke in his gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ who would write how Jesus showed unto the apostles the print of the nails in His hands and in His feet. It would be in the twenty-fourth and final chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find and encounter the tremendous truth of Jesus showing unto the disciples more than simply His person but also the scars which were present in His flesh. It would be the beloved physician Luke that would write concerning Jesus showing unto the apostles the scars and prints of the nails which had pierced His flesh and it would be the apostle John who would emphasize the print of the nails in His hands as well as the print of the spear which had thrust His side while He hung there upon the cross.

            Oh there is something incredible about Jesus showing Himself alive during those forty days with many infallible proofs, however, there is something even more astonishing to be said about Jesus showing the scars of His suffering in the flesh. I am absolutely amazed and captivated with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ deliberately and intentionally chose to rise from the grave with the print from the nails which had pierced His hands and His feet. Jesus could have risen from death to life and done so without any trace of the suffering which He had experienced in the flesh. The Holy Spirit could have fully and completely restored the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ after He had raised Him from death to life and could have raised Him without the scars and the print of the nails and the spear. Jesus could have emerged from the grave very much alive although absent the scars and the print of the nails and spear which had pierced His flesh. The truth of the matter, however, is that when Jesus was raised from death to life on the third day by the Holy Spirit He was raised still bearing the scars of His suffering and crucifixion in the flesh. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for scars are absolutely necessary when it comes to showing ourselves alive—and not only showing ourselves alive but also showing ourselves to have triumphed and overcome that which we have faced. There are those who try to eliminate the scars which they have within and upon their hearts, the scars which they have within and upon their souls, and the scars which might be buried and burrowed deep within their beings and yet through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ we come to realize that scars are an essential part of resurrection—and not only resurrection but also ascension.

 

            SCARS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF RESURRECTION! SCARS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF ASCENSION! The more I think about and consider this particular truth the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that there is something to be said about Jesus retaining and holding on to the scars and the prints which were present within His physical flesh. There is something worth noting and pointing out when reading the four gospel narratives as well as the book of Acts and encountering the tremendous truth that Jesus did indeed rise from death to life on the third day, however, there were two indisputable components and parts to the resurrection which made it all the more powerful and all the more compelling. There was the stone which was rolled away from the entrance of the tomb where Jesus’ lifeless body had been buried and there would be the scars and prints of the nails and the spear which had pierced His flesh. There might have been a great many who could have gone to the tomb where Jesus’ physical body had laid as the apostle Peter and the apostle John had done upon hearing that Jesus had risen from death to life. One of the things I can’t help but wonder is whether or not there were others during those days who sought to visit the tomb where the physical body of Jesus lie after it was buried by Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus. Were there those during those days who heard that Jesus had risen from the grave on the third day as He said He would and desired to go unto the tomb and see the stone rolled away and the empty tomb? We know that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary the mother of Joses and Salmon went unto the tomb early in the morning on the third day and were the first to see that the stone had been rolled away and that Jesus was no longer present within the tomb. We also know that Peter and John would both go unto the tomb after hearing report from these women that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead and how Peter himself would enter into the tomb. Were there others who had also sought to journey unto the tomb to not only see the stone which had been rolled away from the entrance of the tomb but also the grave clothes which Jesus had left behind as He emerged from the grave on the third day?

 

            I absolutely love what we find in this particular portion of Scripture for in the opening verses of the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we encounter the tremendous truth that during those forty days after Jesus had risen from death to life He showed Himself alive with many infallible proofs. There would be a great emphasis placed on the infallible proofs which Jesus showed and demonstrated after He had risen from death to life on the third day, however, there is something to be said about the scars of His suffering in the flesh. We must needs recognize and understand how absolutely powerful it is that Jesus didn’t merely show Himself alive through infallible proofs during those forty days but He also showed the scars of His suffering. Jesus would indeed and would in fact hold on to and retain the scars of His suffering after He had risen from death to life. It is truly something worth noting when reading these gospel narratives that the Lord Jesus Christ would indeed and would in fact hold on to the scars of His suffering and I can’t help but wonder if Jesus deliberately and intentionally chose to hold on to those scars for he knew He would show them unto His disciples and those who had walked with and followed Him. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that Jesus deliberately and intentionally held on to the scars and prints of His suffering in his flesh that He might show them unto His own during those forty days after His resurrection. Jesus would indeed show Himself alive unto the disciples and followers during and over that forty day period of time, however, it would be during those forty days Jesus would show more than just Him being alive but also showing the scars and the prints from the nails which pierced His feet and His hands as well as the spear which had pierced His side.

 

            FATHER, I WOULD LIKE TO HOLD ON TO THE SCARS! FATHER I DON’T WANT TO LOSE THE SCARS! FATHER, I WILL GO TO THE CROSS AND I WILL BE BURIED IN THE EARTH UNTIL THE THIRD DAY BUT I WOULD LIKE TO HOLD ON TO THE SCARS! Oh the more I think about and consider this particular truth the more I am brought face to face with the fact that it is very possible Jesus earnestly desired to hold on to the scars within and upon His physical form and flesh after He had been raised from death to life. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that the Lord Jesus—after He had been raised from death to life—would hold on to the scars upon His flesh from the nails and the spear as proof, as a testimony and as a witness unto those that He had not only risen from the grave but also that He had indeed suffered in the flesh. The disciples and those with them knew that Jesus had indeed suffered in the flesh and that He was indeed crucified having been nailed to the cross as they pierced His hands and His feet. The disciples would have even heard how a Roman centurion would pierce Jesus’ side as His lifeless body hung there upon the cross to ensure that He was indeed already dead. Through and in the midst of the suffering and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ we find nails having pierced His hands and nails having pierced His feet as well as a spear being thrust into His side by a Roman centurion. Oh there is something to be said about not only suffering in the flesh but also after having been raised from death to life on the third day retaining and holding on to the scars and prints of that suffering. I firmly believe that Jesus deliberately and intentionally chose to hold on to the scars and prints of His suffering that He might show them unto His disciple and followers after He had risen from death to life. Jesus knew that He would indeed rise from death to life on the third day and He knew that he would rise with the scars and prints of the nails and the spear which had pierced His flesh. Jesus knew He would rise from death to life and yet there is something to be said about His rising from death to life having held on to the scars in His flesh which would be a testimony and witness to His suffering and death.

 

            I have to admit that the more I read and study the narrative found in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts the more I am utterly captivated with the reality that Jesus remained upon the earth over a forty day period of time. Jesus would indeed rise from death to life on the third day, however, over the next forty days Jesus would show Himself alive unto the apostles and those of his followers and disciples who were with them. Jesus would not merely rise from death to life and then be removed from among them but would continue to teach and instruct them as He knew His departure was at hand. It’s in chapters thirteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should be glorified and that He depart from this earth and return unto the Father in heaven and as a direct result of this Jesus would teach unto His disciples preparing them for His departure. It would be there in the upper room after supper was finished and after Jesus had washed the feet of His disciples He would indeed teach and prepare them for His departure from this earth and subsequent return unto the Father. It’s necessary for us to recognize this for the beloved physician Luke goes on to write that during those forty days after He had risen from the dead Jesus would continue to teach and instruct His apostles and followers concerning the things of the kingdom of heaven. There would be further instruction that would be provided unto the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ over that forty day period of time as there was more that needed to be said unto the disciples. THE TEACHING AFTER THE RESURRECTION! THE INSTRUCTION AFTER THE RESURRECTION. INSTRUCTION BEFORE ASCENSION! THERE IS MORE I MUST TELL YOU!

 

            THERE IS MORE I MUST TELL YOU BEFORE I ASCEND TO MY FATHER IN HEAVEN! These words must be carefully considered and understood when reading the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts for they help set the stage for what would take place within this book and during those days. It is true that fifty days after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the Holy Spirit would be released from the right hand of the Father by Jesus, however, during those forty days while Jesus was still alive and among His apostles and followers there was more He needed to reveal unto them. Oh there was a great deal Jesus taught His followers during those three and a half years He walked upon the earth in the form of physical flesh and there was a great deal Jesus taught His disciples in the upper room after supper had ended on the night in which He was betrayed, however, there would be more which needed to be said. It was indeed true there would be a great amount of instruction that would be given unto the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ prior to His suffering in the flesh and prior to His crucifixion and burial in the grave. There was a great deal of instruction that was provided unto the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ prior to his passion in the flesh, however, with this being said we must needs recognize that there was more that would and could not be shared until He had risen from the grave. In all reality I would dare say there were things Jesus could not share with his apostles and followers prior to His suffering and prior to His death and crucifixion in the flesh and had to wait unto after He had risen from the grave. With this being said we must needs recognize that those forty days between resurrection and ascension were entirely and altogether crucial and critical for the apostles and followers of Jesus of Nazareth for they would not only help strengthen their faith but also their witness and testimony in the earth.

 

            There is not a doubt in my mind these forty days between resurrection and ascension were incredibly crucial for the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ as I believe those forty days would give and provide unto them the peace, the joy, the faith, the confidence and the trust they would need to abide and tarry in the city of Jerusalem. The words which Jesus would teach and instruct them during those days would indeed be a continuation of that which He had previously spoken unto them prior to His passion and suffering, however, the words He would speak unto them during those forty days would not only prepare them for His departure but would also prepare them for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus was departing from among them in the physical flesh He would send unto them One who would be present among and within them in His stead and in His place. Jesus would indeed depart from this earth and return unto the right hand of his Father who is in heaven and yet during those forty days between the resurrection and ascension Jesus would continue teaching His disciples and followers those things concerning the kingdom of heaven. In all reality I would dare say that it would be during those forty days Jesus would not only instill peace within their hearts and souls but He would also strengthen their faith and their resolve within the earth. The disciples and followers of Jesus would indeed be sorrowful when hearing that He would depart from them and they would indeed be sorrowful when they heard Him say that He must needs suffer in the flesh and be crucified and buried before rising from death to life on the third day but there was also a tremendous grief, sorrow, sadness and mourning that would be present among them in those few days after Jesus had been crucified and buried. There would be a period of mourning, of weeping, of grief and sorrow between the time Jesus was crucified and buried in the borrowed tomb and the time(s) He showed Himself unto them as being alive after being raised from death to life.

 

            I read the words found in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts and I can’t help but read them in light of the truth that Jesus had more which needed to be taught and delivered unto His disciples and followers before He would ascend unto the right hand of the Father. I wrote how Jesus could have been raised from death to life on the third day and immediately ascended unto the right hand of the Father and I feel it necessary to declare that Jesus could have risen from death to life on the third day and simply showed Himself alive unto His apostles and followers before ascending up to the right hand of the Father without speaking a single word unto them. The truth of the matter, however, is that during those forty days Jesus not only showed Himself alive and not only showed the scars of His suffering but He also spoke unto them those things concerning the kingdom of heaven—those things which they could not hear prior to His passion and prior to his suffering, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Once Jesus had been raised from death to life on the third day and began showing Himself unto His apostles and followers there would be many things He would need to teach and speak unto them concerning the kingdom of heaven—those things which would prepare and make them ready for the arrival of the person of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is that in the twenty-fourth and final chapter of the New Testament gospel written by Luke we find that Jesus opened their understanding that they might understand what was written in Scripture. It was more than simply Jesus showing Himself alive, it was more than Jesus showing the scars of His suffering, and it was more than simply Jesus teaching the apostles and His followers those things concerning the kingdom of heaven for He also opened their understanding of the Scripture that they might understand all those things which were written concerning Him.

 

            It is with all of this in mind I would like to invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of the four New Testament gospels as well as the words found in the opening chapter of this New Testament book of Acts. If we are to truly understand the words which are found in the book of Acts we must needs recognize and understand the understanding that was provided for the apostles and followers of Jesus the Christ as well as the words which Jesus would teach them concerning the kingdom of heaven. It was absolutely necessary and critical that Jesus remain among them within the earth during those forty days for it was more than simply His showing Himself alive unto them but also about Him opening their understanding of the Scriptures, and teaching them concerning the kingdom of heaven. What’s more is that the apostle John would write in the twentieth chapter of his own gospel narrative that Jesus breathed upon them and commanded them to receive the Holy Ghost. THE SHOWING! THE TEACHING! THE OPENING! THE BREATHING! THE REVELATION OF RESURRECTION! THE TEACHING OF THE KINGDOM! THE OPENING OF UNDERSTANDING! THE BREATH OF THE SON! Each of these components would be incredibly crucial and vital for the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ as they prepared themselves for His departure and the arrival of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus spoke of and promised He would send in the name of His Father who was in heaven. Each of these components must needs be recognized and understood for they help serve as a backdrop and foundation for what we find and read in the New Testament book of Acts. The entire New Testament book of Acts was based and founded upon the life of Jesus Christ and how He had suffered in the flesh, how He had been crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb before rising from death to life on the third day and ascending unto the right hand of the Father. That which took place during this forty day period of time was absolutely vital for the apostles and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ for they would prepare and make them ready for the arrival of the Holy Spirit and their mission and assignment in the earth as the Church of Jesus Christ—the body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in each of the four gospels as well as the words found in the opening chapter of this New Testament book of Acts:

 

            “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:16-20).

 

           

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:12-20).

 

            “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath. Not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:36-53).

 

            “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, He shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whos soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whos soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:19-29).

 

            “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also hew shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in. his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had thus spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath’s day journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:1-14).

 

            Each of these passages bring us face to face with the awesome and incredible truth concerning those things which Jesus taught and spoke unto His apostles and followers in the forty days following His resurrection from the grave and prior to His ascension unto the right hand of the Father. While these passages contain some of the language and words Jesus taught and spoke unto His apostles and followers during those forty days I would dare say that it was not all of what He taught them. I am sure there is more that Jesus shared with and taught His disciples during these forty days which is not recorded in the gospel narratives nor in the book of Acts and is simply left to the imagination. With this being said, however, it is absolutely necessary that we recognize at the very heart and center of that which Jesus taught His disciples was that they ought to tarry and wait in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father which He would send in His name. Jesus was very adamant on the apostles and His followers remaining, tarrying and abiding in the city of Jerusalem and not departing lest they miss out on the arrival of the person of the Holy Spirit. In fact I would dare say this was precisely why Jesus found the two men who were journeying on the road to Emmaus and not only walked with them and expounded the Scriptures beginning with Moses and the Law and the prophets as well as revealed Himself in the breaking of bread. Jesus was willing to appear unto these two men as they journeyed on the road to Emmaus that He might teach unto them what was written in the Law and the prophets, reveal Himself in the breaking of bread, and ultimately restore them unto the fellowship of the apostles and the other brethren who were still in the city of Jerusalem.

 

            With all of this being said it is absolutely necessary that we call and draw our attention to the instruction Jesus provided unto the apostles and his followers concerning their tarrying and abiding in the city of Jerusalem for it was directly linked to their experiencing the person of the Holy Spirit. The words which Jesus taught and spoke unto the disciples were not only that they would be witnesses for Him in Jerusalem and Judaea, but also in Galilee, in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Jesus was very clear—both in the upper room when speaking unto His disciples and after His resurrection—that they ought to abide and tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high. Jesus told and declared unto them they would be His witnesses, however, He would give them no additional information concerning what that would in fact look like. What we find in the New Testament book of Acts is a powerful treatise of what the fulfillment of Jesus’ words—both the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit and being witnesses for Jesus in the earth—truly looked like. The words which are presented before us in this particular book call and draw our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the arrival of the Holy Spirit fifty days after Jesus rose from the grave and ten days after He ascended unto the right hand of the Father. It was absolutely critical that Jesus remain and abide with His apostles and followers during those forty days for there was a great need to strengthen their faith as well as ensure their commitment to remaining and abiding in the city of Jerusalem. What’s more is that the entire future and ministry of the spiritual body of Christ in the earth which was the Church was entirely and altogether dependent and contingent upon the apostles and the brethren abiding and tarrying in the city of Jerusalem. Oh the Spirit would indeed come and would indeed be manifested at the appointed time ordained by the Father, however, who actually experienced the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost would be entirely dependent on who tarried and abode within the city of Jerusalem.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus Christ was very clear and specific that His apostles and followers needed to abide within the city of Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high. The apostles and brethren were commissioned as witnesses for and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth and yet they could not be witnesses apart from the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand this for within the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts—not only do we find Jesus teaching the apostles and brethren concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit, and not only do we find Him showing and demonstrating Himself as alive with many infallible proofs but we also find Him ascending unto heaven before being received out of their sight be a cloud. What we must needs realize when reading the words within this opening chapter of the book of Acts is not only the anticipating and expecting of the arrival of the Holy Spirit but also the return and coming again of Jesus Himself. Within this passage of Scripture there are essentially two distinct comings—both of which were mentioned in chapters thirteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. Within the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we not only find Jesus preparing His disciples for the arrival of the Holy Spirit but we also find two men clothed in white apparel preparing and making them aware of Jesus’ return in the same manner in which He departed.

 

            The first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts contains within it the expectation and hope of the coming of the Holy Spirit but it also contains the expectation and hope of Jesus coming back and returning in the same manner in which He departed. With this being said we must needs recognize that in this opening chapter we encounter the anticipation of the first coming back and returning of the Lord Jesus Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would initially and originally come in the form of human flesh that He might dwell and abide WITH us, however, Jesus would come a second time in the person and form of the Holy Spirit that He might dwell and abide WITHIN us. With this being said we must also recognize and understand that there is going to be a third coming of Jesus in which He will neither come in the flesh nor come in the Spirit but will come in the glory of His Father accompanied by His angels. When Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem there would be the angelic choir that would appear in the heavens unto the shepherds who were watching their flock by night. When Jesus ascended unto the right hand of the Father who was in heaven there would again be angels present as two men clothed in white apparel would declare that in the same manner in which they witnessed and beheld Jesus ascending into heaven so also would He return when He came from heaven. When Jesus comes in the glory of His Father there will once more be the presence of angels as He will be accompanied by the host of heaven. When we read the words found in this portion of Scripture we must needs recognize and understand that Jesus prepared His apostle and followers for the coming of the Holy Spirit and even in His ascension they would be prepared for His coming again unto them in the same manner in which He departed. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts it is that the Holy Spirit was indeed promised of the Lord Jesus to be manifested in the earth and the angels who stood by those at the mount called Olivet declared and promised unto them that in the same manner in which Jesus departed so also would He return. Oh that we would read the words found in this passage of Scripture and understand the expectation and hope of the arrival and manifestation of the Holy Spirit as Jesus would come unto them to dwell within them as well as His coming again and return that they might dwell with Him.

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