Jul 04

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The question before us in this series of articles is, did the apostles of Christ know that Jesus was not resurrected? Yet, they preached he was resurrected anyway, but if they knew he was not resurrected, there must be some compelling reason. Think about it, what reason did the apostles have for preaching a resurrected Jesus, when they knew he was not resurrected?
On the first Pentecost after the death of Jesus, Peter with the other eleven apostles said: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). You can almost see Peter pointing his finger right at them as he speaks! But, just what did he say? If they crucified Jesus, and they did; and God made Jesus “both Lord and Christ,” and he did; Peter was preaching a resurrected Jesus! This was only fifty days after the crucifixion, and if Jesus was not resurrected, and the apostles knew it; then, they had to come up with this elaborate, unbelievable, story of the resurrection in this short time! But if so, why did they do so? Keep in mind, the people, only fifty days earlier had cried out, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:14). Would the same people now favor those who preach “Jesus,” the same one they had cried out, “Crucify him” only a time earlier? Would they now believe this “fairy tale” resurrection which even the preachers of it knew was false? Yes, about 3,000 of them did believe, having their heart “pierced thoroughly” by the words spoken and they cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). They were now convinced they had crucified the Christ and he was now resurrected!
Yet, the question remains, did the apostles know it was all a lie? But why would these men, part of which had a business of fishing, Peter, Andrew, James and John (Matt. 4:18-22), and another, Matthew, being a tax collector, which they gave up; gain by promoting this lie? Would they be favored with the majority of the people, with leaders of the Jews, or would they gain financially? The 3,000 who obeyed their teaching on the day of Pentecost was but a small part of the total number of those in Jerusalem, which some have set at over two million seven hundred thousand! Then, just how well did things go? In Acts chapter five they sure were not favored, as the high priest and the Sadducees were all “filled with indignation, “and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison” (Acts 5:17-18). This was only the start of their difficulties! They were taken again, but what had they done between the two events? Luke wrote the chief priest said: “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” (verse 28). Yes, between the first arrest and the second, these men had filled Jerusalem with the preaching of the resurrected Jesus! If they knew it was all a lie, why would they do this? Then, they are now commanded not to teach “in this name (Jesus)!’ So, what is their answer? In a very clear voice, they said: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (verse 29). With prison before them, they declared to the high priest, we are going to obey God, not you! But, if they knew it was a lie, why?
But, it did not stop here! Next Stephen, though not an apostle, is stoned to death (Acts 7:59). Now, think about this, enter Saul: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1-2). Looking on are the apostles, they see those they have converted by their teaching, but, if they know it is all a lie, how can they stand by while their converts are being persecuted by Saul? Then, one of their own is put to death by Herod in Acts chapter 12. Did the other eleven finally come to their senses and stop this lie?
No, they knew it was not a lie, but divine truth! They had seen the resurrected Jesus and this is why they no longer went fishing, but were preaching the resurrected Christ! This is why they said: “We ought to obey God rather than men!” This is why they were willing to die, it was not a lie, but the truth; Jesus was in fact resurrected from the dead and he lives! And so they preached it!
This is what they knew! This is why they preached: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Friends, here is the means of your salvation! Yet, it remains for you, as Peter said: “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/did-the-apostles-know-2-2/