Paul states the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in 1 Cor 15:16-17. If Christ had not risen from the dead, we have no evidence of God’s acceptance of the life and death of Jesus done on our behalf. There would be no justification for us and we would still be dead in our sins. However, the book of Acts clearly shows us that Jesus is alive and reigning through His disciples as they are empowered by His Spirit to be witnesses to His resurrection. Here are four significant observations about the resurrection in Acts.
A Qualification of an Apostle
We learn in Acts 1:21 that being a witness to Jesus Christ’s resurrection is a key qualification to become one of the Twelve Apostles. This is important because the resurrection was central to apostolic preaching (2:24, 32; 3:15; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30–37). Their witness was evidence that Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead, especially when most became martyrs for what they believed in.
2. The Fulfilment of Psalm 16:8–11 and 110:1
Both Peter (Acts 2:29–36) and Paul (13:34–37) preached that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of Psalm 16:8–11. This was meant to show how the resurrection testifies to Jesus’ messiahship. It was not possible for David to have described himself in these Psalms as his tomb was still present during Peter’s time. Only Jesus can be described in these Psalms, as He alone resurrected from the dead and ascended to heaven.
3. Strongly Provoked the Sadducees
The continued preaching of the resurrection of Jesus by the Apostles caused the Sadducees to arrest them (Acts 4:1–2). The Sadducees denied that there is a resurrection or even an unseen spiritual realm (Acts 23:7–8). Similarly, there are people today who have contempt for such a belief and if they could, would silence the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just like the early church, we must pray for boldness to continue to speak God’s Word despite this kind of opposition.
4. Theological and Transformational
The faithful preaching of the resurrection also inspired the church to great heights of generosity (Acts 4:33). It is interesting that they did not even need to preach specifically about money or the sharing of possessions for the congregation to respond with a culture of self-giving in love. If we truly understand the significance of the resurrection and the great price that was paid for our sins, we too ought to respond with a heart of generosity and love towards others.
Dn. Mervin Lin