Pisidian Antioch, Paul's Sermon & the Reaction, Part 1, Section K

by John Lowe
(Laurens, SC)

30 But God raised him from the dead:

Though Christ’s life was taken away by man, and it was clear that He was dead when His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb; yet, the cords of death could not hold Him, when God the Father raised him from the dead by His power, and laughed at all their precautions. This was the proof that God had now fulfilled the promise made unto Abraham and to David, that One would come from their seed, in whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed, by being justified through faith in Him, in contrast to the Law of Moses, which was not able to justify anyone. And elsewhere, in Romans 1:4, the Apostle says this about Jesus “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

We must set the glory of the resurrection against the shame of the cross, and the grave. And the resurrection is proved by the witnesses who saw it, and by the testimonies of the Prophets.The resurrection was necessary, because it put a stop to people being offended by our Savior’s dying so shameful and cursed a death, and it took away the scandal of the cross. Paul shows that His resurrection was as glorious, as His death could be humiliating, since by it Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4).

31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

And he was seen many days
“And he was seen” for “many days,” is better. He was seen, at certain times, for the forty days between His resurrection and ascension—“To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Christ was seen, not only by the apostles, but by the Galilean women who traveled with him to Jerusalem—“In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher . . . And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” (Matthew 28:1, 9)—and by more than five hundred at once—“After that, he was seen of above five hundred brothers at once; of whom the greater part remain to this present, but some are fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6)—which shows how very much God desired this great article of our faith and object of our hope to be corroborated and confirmed to us.

The language of this verse is reminiscent of one who had conversed with the witnesses, and had convinced himself of the truth of their testimony. We find what the Apostle had in mind in a more expanded form in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

Of them which came up with him from Galilee
The risen Lord was seen many days “of them which came up with him from Galilee” to Jerusalem, and though this is true of several women who followed Him from Galilee, and to whom He appeared after His resurrection, such as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome the mother of Zebedee's children, and others; however, this was chiefly a reference to the apostles of Christ, who were Galileans, who had traveled with Christ from that country to Jerusalem, when he went there to suffer and die. The Apostles, and the body of Christ’s followers, were drawn from Galilee, insomuch that, before the Crucifixion, Galileans was a name by which they were known (Mark 14:70). He was seen by others; but the apostles are specially mentioned, since they were chosen for this purpose, to bear witness to Him, and they were very qualified to do it. They had gone from place to place with Him, and had a close relationship with Him during all His public ministry, which was chiefly among the people in Galilee. His apostles, having accompanied Him on His last journey to Jerusalem, could not possibly be mistaken when they identified Him as the risen One; therefore, they were unobjectionable and sufficient witnesses.

Who are his witnesses unto the people
“Who are his witnesses unto the people,” not only of His resurrection, though that was the most significant event, but of all that he did and suffered in Galilee and Judea, and his miracles and teaching. The phrase “Unto the people,” is applied to those who were the people of God. Compare:
• Acts 26:17: “Delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send you.”The commission of the Christian is not to create experience or create the message, but to witness it and experience it.
• Acts 26:23: “That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light to the people, and to the Gentiles.”All the word of God is light; but especially the Gospel, which discloses a plain and open way unto salvation.

“Who are his witnesses”—more accurately, who are now His witnesses. Paul has not mentioned the ascension of Jesus, but the addition of the word “witnesses,” implies that He was no longer on earth, thus men could no longer see Him, and must look to the written witness of men who had actuals seen Him alive after his resurrection. Thus the Apostle also points out the special work of those who had been with Christ during His life, “who are his witnesses unto the people.”

i An ancient document called "The Letter of Aristeas" revealed a plan to make an OFFICIAL translation of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) in Greek. This translation was to be accepted as the official Bible of the Jews and was to replace the Hebrew Bible. Supposedly this translation work would be performed by 72 Jewish scholars (?), six from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The supposed location of the work was to be Alexandria, Egypt. The alleged date of translation was supposedly around 250 BC, during the 400 years of silence between the close of the Old Testament in 397 BC and the birth of Christ in approximately 4 BC (due to a four-year error in the calendar).
ii The divine word or reason incarnate in Jesus Christ. John 1:1–14.
iii Someone who is guilty of a crime or offense: a person whose behavior is wrong or evil

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