Many Infallible Proofs – Acts 1:3

Just as it was with our study of Joshua, you are going to hear messages from the Book of Acts morning, noon and night.

I mean: Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night.

That doesn’t mean that we’re going to preach nothing but Acts,

But you may have a message from Acts at any time.

My primary task as your pastor is to teach you the Word of God,

And to exhort you to carry what you know into the world

As witnesses and ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That means that I must use every variety of teaching technique at my disposal.

There may be a time and place for hopping through the Bible,

There are occasions when a topical study of a theme or idea is beneficial.

But it is far more to your benefit to travel through various books in the manner in which the Holy Spirit first gave them – verse by verse.

This is the third message in our “Theological Look at the Book of Acts.”

And I’ve chosen to use tonight for this message because we have in verse 3 an Apologetics lesson.

Apologetics is not the art of making graceful apologies for blunders and embarrassments.

I have nothing to be embarrassed at In Acts 1:3,

And you have no reason to be embarrassed by your faith in Christ Jesus.

No apologies, in that sense, are necessary.

Apologetics is the branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrine.

We note that Acts 1:3 says that the Lord Jesus showed himself alive after his suffering through many infallible proofs, being witnessed by the apostles for forty days.

Christianity is one of a great many major religions.

I’m not talking about the hundreds of denominations and sects within Christianity.

I’m talking about Christianity versus Islam, Hinduism, spiritism, Shintoism, New Ageism, atheism & so on.

And Christianity is not even close to the largest or most dominant religion in the world.

For this reason it is important that the people of God should be able to explain to Muslims or atheists

Why they are Christians

And what it is that genuine Christians believe.

Most outsiders do not know what it is that true, born-against Christians believe.

Most outsiders have been fed false information and have false pictures of the Christian.

As I said this morning, Christianity is about Christ, not you or me.

That means that we need to be able defend what we believe about our Saviour, long before other things.

Christ doesn’t actually need any defense, but we do.

What we believe needs to be defendable – and it is.

For example, you ought to be able to say that the Lord Jesus has three basic credentials which prove what we believe about Him to be true.

There is the impact of His life, through His miracles and His teaching.

People who met Christ were changed; completely and thoroughly changed.

And we’re not just talking about people who met Him 2,000 years ago.

Secondly, there were all of the prophecies which were fulfilled in Him.

And there is His resurrection from the grave:

And, of course, this is the subject matter of the verse before us tonight.

“He showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs.”

But before the infallible proofs of JESUS’ RESURRECTION there is need to infallibly prove HIS DEATH.

If there are doubts about Jesus’ death then there will always be doubts about Jesus’ resurrection.

And the proof of His death begin with HIS BEATINGS.

As you know it was a part of Jewish law that no man could be beaten more than forty times,

But the Romans had no law like that, and the victim was at the mercy of his scourgers.

The instrument used by the Romans was called a flagrum,

Which consisted of a wooden handle with a number of long pieces of leather,

At the end of which were imbedded pieces of bone and metal.

Eusebius, the Christian historian, described a Roman whipping in one of his epistles.

He said that the criminal was so severely beaten that his veins were laid bare,

And the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure.

In other words, a witness might have been able to see Jesus’ ribs, and possibly even his lungs behind them.

As you might imagine, almost instantly the wounds would become infected, and without immediate treatment would probably lead to death in and of itself.

Judging from the hatred that the Roman soldiers heaped upon the Lord, many scholars believe that Jesus was beaten more severely than their ordinary cruelty.

And there is no mention of any kind of medical treatment whatsoever.

Not even, with the intention of more pain, with salt or wine poured into Jesus; wounds.

And as a result, it has been the testimony of hundreds of medical professionals . . .

That Christ would have died from infection after the beating if from nothing else.

And even if a good doctor had begun treatment on Sunday morning, Jesus would not have survived.

And then there was THE CRUCIFIXION.

As you know it was common for criminals to hang on their crosses for days before dying,

But that is assuming that the person was strong and in good health before the nails were driven in.

Christ was no doubt in good health, but the beating off-set that completely.

And then there was the fact that He had been working hard and traveling for months.

And He hadn’t slept for at least 36 hours.

Jesus was definitely weak.

But since this crucifixion was taking place during the Passover week, both the Jews and the Romans wanted to accelerate the death of the three supposed criminals.

The soldiers were ordered to break the legs of the victims so that they couldn’t hold themselves up.

This would have increased the pressure on their hearts and lungs, speeding up their deaths.

But when they came to Jesus, they could see that he was already dead.

In fact they were so positive of that fact, they broke their own rules by spearing Him in the side.

If those soldiers were not absolutely sure that Jesus was dead, they would have broken His legs and left Him to die with the other two.

But they were so sure that Christ was already dead so they speared Him, and out came a highly diluted bloody fluid.

The medical world has abundantly proven that this mixture of fluids could only be found in a dead man.

Christ’s heart had apparently burst and the pericardium around the heart and lung was filled with blood along with the usual serous fluids.

The Lord Jesus clearly and undeniably had died on the cross in a relatively short period of time.

Then following the crucifixion there was THE BURIAL.

The Roman Governor, Pilate was surprised that Jesus had died so quickly,

But the centurion on duty affirmed it, essentially signing the death certificate.

So Pilate released our Saviour’s body to Joseph, who then made a quick preparation for burial.

Obviously, Joseph would not have embalmed the body nor buried it, if Jesus was not dead.

And there are many who testify that if Jesus was not dead, then all the linen burial clothes, tightly wrapped around him and drenched in myrrh and aloes would have suffocated him anyway.

Wilbur Smith says, “We know more about the burial of the Lord Jesus than we know of the burial of any single character in all of ancient history.”

We know that Jesus was dead.

And there is much more that could be said about proof of Jesus’ death.

We could talk about the three days in the tomb.

We could talk about the Roman seal and the guards outside the door.

We could talk about the reaction of the disciples of Christ.

There is so much more that I could say about these things, but the point is –

Jesus died on the cross, just as the Bible says that He did.

“His passion,” in order words, His suffering, has been proven over and over again by infallible evidence.

And from there we can move on to JESUS’ RESURRECTION.

First there is the infallible evidence of the empty tomb.

There is absolutely no doubt that the tomb into which Joseph placed the body of Christ was empty 72 hours after the burial.

No one, not the Romans nor the Jews, ever contested the fact that the tomb was empty.

What they did was debate about how the tomb became empty.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the empty tomb is not argued by Peter, Paul or John in any of their letters?

We read about the empty tomb in the gospels, where we have the history of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

But when we come to the preaching of the Apostles and their letters encouraging the disciples, the subject of the tomb doesn’t come up.

The reason for this is that there is no need.

First, the tomb doesn’t directly have anything to do with our salvation.

It’s the cross where our salvation was purchased.

And secondly, the emptiness of that tomb was never in debate.

I have not heard a single word today about the shining of the sun.

The subject of the sun doesn’t come up very often, because it is taken for granted.

And so it was with the emptiness of the tomb.

The second evidence of Jesus’ resurrection was in the grave clothes.

Right now I am wearing an undershirt, a dress shirt and a tie over the top. not to mention a lapel mike.

Rarely does anyone, even my wife, ever find my clothes in a pile on the floor after I have worn them.

But assuming that you did some day,

What are the chances that you’d find my shirt completely buttoned,

With my t-shirt inside with its sleeves inside the sleeve of my dress shirt

And my tie still tied around the neck of that shirt and synched up-tight on the still buttoned top button?

And do you suppose that this microphone would still be clipped to my tie?

When the body of Christ was prepared for burial, it was wrapped around and around and around with strips of linen, drenched in various spices.

As those spices dried, they even made the linen kind of stiff.

If Christ was still alive and removed himself from those grave clothes, they would not have been left in the manner in which they were.

In fact it would have taken a miracle to leave them that way.

The empty tomb and the grave clothes were certainly evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.

But not even the disciples were convinced by these two things.

Not Mary Magdalene, nor the rest of the women, nor even Peter came to believe in the resurrection because they found the tomb empty.

John appears to have been an exception, but he was an exceptional person.

The proof for these people was that they actually saw the risen Saviour.

The empty tomb simply stood as an historical fact, verifying that the One Who later was seen by the disciples was the same person who was first buried in that tomb.

Someone has said,

“It passes the bounds of credibility that the early Christians could have manufactured such a tale and then preached it among those who might easily have refute it simply by producing the body of Jesus.”

Imagine the city of Jerusalem, where every eye was upon the Lord Jesus the moment he rode into town.

Remember that just the other day he borrowed the foal of an ass and rode into town.

Remember the excitement that filled everyone’s hearts.

And remember to that cities in those days were communities of tightly packed buildings.

Trailer parks are like estates compared to cities in Jesus’ day.

And on this occasion there were also thousands of visitors in Jerusalem celebrating the Passover.

And then Jesus was crucified and buried.

There were probably hundreds of people who knew exactly where Jesus’ body was laid.

Could the disciples come and conceivably steal away the body?

What did they do with it? How did they hide it?

How did they secret it out of the city?

Immediately after the tomb was discovered open, the Roman military, not to mention the Jewish priests would have been combing the city for both the body and the disciples.

But the fact is, they weren’t looking, because they knew where the body was – it was gone.

But let’s say that Jesus did not die and that He somehow walked out of the tomb during the night Saturday.

Do you suppose that a man in the spotlight like He was could simply walk away without the paparazzi seeing Him somewhere sometime later?

Do you suppose that He who had been preaching and blessing the people, could suddenly become a recluse without ever being seen or heard from again?

And then eventually, Jesus, the fraud, would have died, and we still would have had a tomb somewhere.

The fact that there never was a tomb of Christ, is part of the proof that there was a resurrection from the first tomb.

The resurrected Lord Jesus then spent about five and a half weeks visiting various people and places on earth before finally and spectacularly ascending back to Heaven, as described later in this chapter.

Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, and the two on the road to Emmaus.

Then later that day He appeared to the disciples without Thomas being present.

Then a week later He appeared to the church again, but this time with Thomas.

After that he appeared to seven of the disciples at the sea of Tiberias and then again to all of them.

At some point He met with five hundred of the brethren all at once on a mountain in Galilee,

Then once to James alone,

And to them all again when he was parted from them and went up to heaven.

During these visits He spoke to them, and He let them touch Him.

He taught them things that they hadn’t been able to handle up to this point.

And He, through the Holy Ghost, gave them further commandments.

Jesus demonstrated that it was really Him – in the flesh.

In fact it was very important everyone realize that it was Christ Jesus in the same body that He had before.

A different body would have change the nature and definition of resurrection.

Yes, the Lord disguised Himself during several of these appearances, but not for all of them.

There was no doubt in the minds of the disciples that it was the same Lord Jesus.

One of the greatest arguments for Jesus’ resurrection is found in the words “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were not looking for the resurrection, although they should have been.

They were not expecting the resurrection and actually, they didn’t want the resurrection.

If crucifixion was the end of Christ, then what would be there end, if they said that He was alive?

And they certainly would not have wanted all the problems that fell on them after Pentecost if there wasn’t a really good reason.

The fact that the disciples and apostles were not expecting the resurrection is a part of the proof that there was a resurrection.

During those forty days between the resurrection and ascension,

Jesus spoke many things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

And together, the resurrection and their new understanding of the kingdom,

Revolutionized those disciples.

One of the greatest arguments to the resurrection of Christ was what happened to the disciples because of it.

Rabbits and sheep were turned into lions and kings.

Those men feared nothing – not Jewish stones or Roman swords.

There is no adequate explanation for the transformation of those men expect for the resurrection.

There is infallible proof that Christ was both crucified and raised from the dead.

And these things are two of the absolute essentials of our faith.