The Reality of Salvation: He Rose!
- Thursday, April 14, 2011
If the physical evidence wasn’t enough, God sent angels to explain it (Matthew 28:5–7; Mark 16:5–7; Luke 24:4–7; John 20:12). So the resurrection was confirmed not only by physical evidence but also by divine messengers.
It was also confirmed by many personal appearances of the risen Lord—the most convincing evidence of all. The disciples saw Jesus alive for themselves.
Still, some argue that the disciples only thought they saw Jesus; it was actually an illusion or a daydream. But this so-called illusion was far too widespread to be an imaginary vision.
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Jesus was seen on the day of resurrection by Mary Magdalene (John 20:14–17), ten disciples in the upper room (verses 19–23), and two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–31). Eight days later, Jesus was seen by Thomas and the other ten disciples, again in the upper room (John 20:24–29). A short while later, Jesus was seen by the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (21:1–14). He was also seen by a crowd of disciples as He ascended into heaven, forty days after Passover (Acts 1:3–11).
Paul later records that the resurrected Jesus was seen by Peter and the disciples, by His brother James, and by more than five hundred people at one time (1 Corinthians 15:5–7).
Jesus was seen in many places, by many people, on many different occasions. This had to be real and no illusion; the same daydream doesn’t happen to hundreds of people at the same time!
No one will argue that the resurrection didn’t cause some dramatic changes in the lives of Jesus’ followers. It’s undeniable.
One of those changes, which might not appear significant to many, is how the disciples changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. The Sabbath day was Saturday, the day God rested after six days of creation. Honoring the Sabbath was a part of Mosaic law, the fourth of the Ten Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:8–10). And yet Sunday, rather than Saturday, became the Sabbath for the early church.
Jesus had already indicated His own authority over the Sabbath: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27–28). He centered the Sabbath on Himself, and by so doing He extended the Sabbath from just a Jewish practice to something experienced by the entire world—Gentiles included.
So when the Christians of the early church chose Sunday as their day for gathering to worship, the choice was centered on Christ’s resurrection and its universal message.
The biblical record for this change for the Sabbath is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2, where Paul gave instructions on gathering “on the first day of the week” in order to collect an offering, and in Acts 20:7, which mentions “the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread.”
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