Quote for 05/09/2021

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand.    1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4

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The New Testament concept of an Apostle is one who was instructed by Jesus Himself and was a witness to His resurrection.  When a replacement for Judas was considered, Peter made the point that the replacement must be “…of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

There could be no doubt about an apostle’s message.  He had to be steeped both in training by and experiencing of Jesus in His ministry and resurrection.  No one could be His witness so convincingly, no one could withstand the trials, tortures, and death that many endured without that unshakable, first-hand knowledge.

Why?

Luke records in Acts 5 that Gamaliel, a Pharisee (of all people!), cautioned the Jewish council against opposing the apostles too hard: “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it.”

Indeed, many hundreds died for Christ in those first decades rather than betray what they had seen themselves.

So, when we read the words of Paul today or any of the testimony of the other Apostles, we know they are not parroting words.  They are sharing a first-hand experience; one they would rather die for than deny.

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