LEADER TIMES WEEKND RELIGION COLUMN FOR
April 26, 2014 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129
In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke in about 62 AD, we have a summary statement in verse three of the first chapter. “He (Jesus) presented himself alive to them (his Apostles and followers) after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking to them about the kingdom of God.” In the Gospels and Epistles we can identify ten of these appearances. Last week I wrote about the eighth of these meetings alongside the lake of Tiberius in the Galilee. Surely there were other interviews with the Master that are not recorded. The first five of the recorded appearances of Jesus to his Disciples take place on the day of the resurrection in Jerusalem. The sixth takes place in Jerusalem a week later. The Disciples were all from Galilee, with the exception of Judas who is no longer with them. They would not have left Jerusalem until the eight days of Passover were over. The ninth appearance to Jesus’ half-brother James likely took place in Jerusalem prior to the band leaving Jerusalem for the north.
The eighth and ninth recorded appearances took place in Galilee. The final appearance includes what we know as the Ascension and took place in Jerusalem somewhere on the Mount of Olives.
The distance between Jerusalem and the Galilee is about seventy miles. The trip would take at least three days. We know that the time between the Resurrection and the Ascension was forty days. If we subtract the eight days Jesus and the Apostles spent in Jerusalem following the resurrection, add the three days it would take to return to Galilee, then add at least another three days for them to return to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost, we get a period of about twenty-five days Jesus had with his Disciples in the Galilee following the resurrection to instruct them concerning the Kingdom of Gold.
Although we have a record of ten of Jesus’ encounters with the Apostles and the other disciples between the resurrection and the ascension we have almost nothing of the content of his instruction to them during this forty day seminar which was their final preparation for the evangelization of the world. We have a few clues in the conclusion of the Gospel of Matthew which gives us the ninth recorded appearance of Jesus. The subjects covered include the authority of the resurrected Messiah, the command to evangelize and teach the nations of the world, the establishment of the ordinance of baptism in the name of the God who creates, redeems, and equips, the necessity of disciplining or teaching the believers, and the assurance of Jesus’ presence with them through the Spirit of God.
Certain inferences are necessary to careful readers of the Scriptures. We have only a distilled record of the ministry of Jesus both before and after the resurrection. John puts it clearly in the conclusion of his Gospel. “Now there are many other things Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
I am certain the instruction between the Passover and Pentecost was intense. These Apostles were well equipped. John evangelized the west coast of Asia, now Turkey. Phillip worked with John and is buried at Hierapolis. Peter preached in Asia, Babylon and Rome. Mark evangelized Egypt. Thomas took the Gospel to India. Andrew evangelized Greece. Nathanael took the Gospel to Arabia and East Africa. I often wish we had more of this instruction. However, in the words of a familiar Passover song, “It is enough.”
(Bill Scarle can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org). END-whs