7751 - Opened Their Minds


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Before the resurrection of Jesus, the apostles may have had trouble putting all of the parts together, but everything because clear after a resurrected Jesus explained it all.

Our last study brought us to the end of the day of resurrection. Jesus had already appeared on five separate occasions to people who knew him before his death.

Dr. Luke in the book of Acts (1:3) tells us: “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive over a period of forty days.” A search of Scripture reveals that after the end of resurrection Sunday there were five additional appearances during the next forty days.

Certainly the sum of these appearances should be ample proof that Jesus was alive and well, and that he was sending this small group to bear witness to what they had seen and heard.

Let’s summarize the five additional appearances during this time.

A week after Jesus appeared to the ten apostles and assorted others on resurrection Sunday, he again appeared to these apostles, with Thomas being present. On this occasion Thomas became convinced that Jesus was indeed alive. He readily acknowledged Jesus as he said: “My Lord and my God.”

Jesus had sent word to the disciples that he would meet them in Galilee. Seven of the disciples had journeyed to Galilee and all had joined Peter in a fishing trip.

At morning time, after fishing all night and catching nothing, a figure on the beach spoke to them. After hearing they had caught no fish he told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They obeyed and their nets were filled so full they were unable to pull it in.

The apostle John identified the figure on shore as Jesus, and Peter jumped in and swam to shore while the others dragged the net full of fish to shore with the boat. Then they all had breakfast together on shore.

After that meeting on the beach, at a time appointed by Jesus, more than five hundred people assembled upon a mountain in Galilee. At this meeting Jesus gave them what we call the great commission — “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing 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 will be with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Mt. 28:17-20).

At some point in this interval Jesus also appeared to James, his brother who later became one of the leaders in the church there in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 15:7).

Later, back in Jerusalem, Jesus appeared again to the disciples. Listen to Luke 24:45-49.

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scripture.

He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sin will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

In previous months the disciples had trouble understanding what Jesus said on occasions. During this time together Jesus performed a gracious act of breaking down the barriers and opening the minds of these disciples, thus enabling them to understand the deep truths of Scripture.

For the first time they were able to weave the details of Scripture together from Moses’ books of history, through the Psalms and through the prophets — the entire Old Testament. Now they could clearly see that Scripture plainly points to the Messiah/Christ.

He again reviewed the time span of events in his last week of life on earth — the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead on the third day. Now repentance and forgiveness of sins was to be proclaimed in his name to all nations. A different message from previous times.

Jesus reminded them that as witnesses they will receive the equipping power which the Father had promised so that they would be effective in ministry.

Dr. Luke continues this subject in the book of Acts. Here he tells them to stay in Jerusalem until the Father’s promise of baptism with the Holy Spirit should be fulfilled.

We leave this study on the brink of the ascension of Christ.