The Lord’s Provision Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The Lord’s Provision Part 1
Jesus understood the needs of His disciples before they knew they had a problem. I can relate to that because I think that I may know my wife so well that I anticipate her problems; and at times, I can tell that she has prepared in advance for some difficulty that I am having. That’s the way it is when you have been married as long as we have; forty-six years.
Our knowledge comes from experience and it is very limited, but Jesus’ knowledge is unlimited, and He could see into the future. He knew that in the future when they began to preach the gospel, that they would encounter hardships and persecution. He knew about the difficulties that were awaiting His disciples, and so He prepared them for those trying days.
He made provision for them to continue to live victorious lives. Human nature has not changed since the time of Christ; all the same, temptations are still around. We give them different names; for example, today we call adultery, an open lifestyle. Homosexuality is called the gay lifestyle. Do you remember when gay meant happy? Now I don’t even use the word, because of what is connected to it.
We may never experience the same circumstances that brought crisis to the disciples, but we have the same needs; we need a Savior, we need the help of the Holy Spirit, we need the word of God, we need fellowship, we need to be blessed by God. We have the same needs, and we have the same supplier of needs. It is important to understand, that the same Jesus who provided for them, will also provide for us. He is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Our text illustrates three areas of life, in which believers would be inadequate if it was not for Jesus’ provision.
And our three points are: first, HE PROVIDED THEM PROOF OF THE RESURRECTION; second, HE PROVIDED THEM POWER TO CARRY OUT THEIR ASSIGNMENT; and third, HE PROVIDED THE CONFIDENCE TO BELIEVE IN A BEAUTIFUL FUTURE.
I will read the text for our Bible lesson from the New Century Version.
1 To Theophilus. The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus began to do and teach
2 until the day he was taken up into heaven. Before this, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told the apostles he had chosen what they should do.
3 After his death, he showed himself to them and proved in many ways that he was alive. The apostles saw Jesus during the forty days after he was raised from the dead, and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God.
4 Once when he was eating with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem. He said, “Wait here to receive the promise from the Father which I told you about.
5 John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 When the apostles were all together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, are you now going to give the kingdom back to Israel?”
7 Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know.
8 But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.”
9 After he said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 As he was going, they were looking into the sky. Suddenly, two men wearing white clothes stood beside them.
11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, whom you saw taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go.”
Let’s begin by seeing how HE PROVIDED THEM PROOF OF THE RESURRECTION.
It was important that the disciples had no doubts about the Resurrection because everything that Christianity teaches depends upon its validity. For example, the virgin birth and the Resurrection go together, and the Resurrection proved the virgin birth. You can’t believe one and not the other. Paul declared, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is worth nothing, and your faith is worth nothing.”
If this supposition were true, it would destroy the most important pillar of Christianity. If it were true, that He was not raised from the dead, we who witness for Christ would be false witnesses. If Christ was not raised, the gospel would be a joke. What reason would there be to preach or to witness? If Christ was not raised, we would still be living in our sin; we would still be guilty and condemned. If His blood had been shed, and His life taken away, without ever being restored, what evidence could we have, that through Him, we are justified and have eternal life? If He had stayed dead, how could He have delivered us from the power of death? There is no justification or salvation if Christ has not risen. And faith in Christ amounts to nothing if He is still dead.
Jesus knew how vital it was that all questions be removed, and that is why He provided infallible proofs. We are told in verse three, “After his death, he showed himself to them and proved in many ways that he was alive. The apostles saw Jesus during the forty days after he was raised from the dead, and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God.” The greatest evidence of His Resurrection was that He showed Himself alive to His apostles. He walked with them and He talked with them; He ate and drank with them. They knew it was Him because He showed them over and over, the nail prints in his hands and feet, and the wound in His side.
Jesus continued to teach the apostles up until His ascension, and that’s another proof that it was Him; he continued to teach them about the Kingdom of Grace, how it was going to be here on earth and in heaven; no one but He, could have known these things or spoke so clearly.
His body was human, because they touched Him and He ate, but He miraculously disappeared at times, and He was able to walk through doors. He was seen by them over a period of forty days, and He brought them by degrees to be fully satisfied that it was Him. He stayed with them for such a long time, to confirm their faith, and to comfort their hearts.
It is so reassuring to witness His compassion for believers, and it is just another assurance that we have a great high priest that is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
In 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, Paul lists six documented appearances by Christ. He was seen by Peter, then by the apostles when they were all together; after that, He was seen by five hundred at once. He was seen by James, and then Paul says that even though he was the most unworthy of all the apostles, he saw Jesus; he was the last to see Him. Now it should be noted that all the enemies of Christ had to do to disprove the Resurrection was to produce His body. They started a rumor that the disciples had stolen it, but that was not well received since Roman guards had been posted to prevent that from happening. The fact of the matter is that they couldn’t produce His body because it was gone; the tomb was empty. He had been raised from the dead. He was the Son of God!
Jesus’ followers were so convinced of His Resurrection that they became an irresistible force. They practiced all that He had taught them. For three years He taught them about the kingdom of God; how to pray, what to do in the face of opposition, how to present the gospel, to have compassion for the poor and sick, to condemn false pride and religion, to recognize what is sin, how to live their lives and much, much more. They were ready! They were trained! He entrusted the building of His church to this small band of men. And at the heart of their ability to serve Christ was their unqualified belief in the Resurrection, and it enabled them to live up to their potential as Christians.