Acts 1:3
To whom also he shewed 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:
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(3) After his passion.—Literally, after He had suffered. The English somewhat anticipates the later special sense of “passion.”

By many infallible proofs.—There is no adjective in the Greek answering to “infallible,” but the noun is one which was used by writers on rhetoric (e.g., Aristotle, Rhet. i. 2) for proofs that carried certainty of conviction with them, as contrasted with those that were only probable or circumstantial. No other New Testament writer uses it.

Being seen of them forty days.—St. Luke uses a peculiar and unusual word (it occurs twice in the LXX.: 1Kings 8:8, and Tobit 12:19) for “being seen,” perhaps with the wish to imply that the presence was not continuous, and that our Lord was seen only at intervals. This may be noted as the only passage which gives the time between the Resurrection and the Ascension. It had its counterpart in the forty days of the Temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:2), as that had had in the earlier histories of Moses (Exodus 24:18; Deuteronomy 9:9; Deuteronomy 9:18) and Elijah (1Kings 19:8). There was a certain symbolic fitness in the time of triumph on earth coinciding with that of special conflict. If we ask what was the character, if one may so speak, of our Lord’s risen life between His manifestation to the disciples, the history of the earlier forty days in part suggests the answer. Then, as before, the life was, we may believe, one of solitude and communion with His Father, no longer tried and tempted, as it had then been, by contact with the power of evil—a life of intercession, such as that which uttered itself in the great prayer of John 17. Where the days and nights were spent we can only reverently conjecture. Analogy suggests the desert places and mountain heights or Galilee (Luke 4:42; Luke 6:12). The mention of Bethany in Luke 24:50, and of the Mount of Olives in Acts 1:12, makes it probable that Gethsemane may have been one of the scenes that witnessed the joy of the victory, as it had witnessed before the agony of the conflict.

The things pertaining to the kingdom of God.—This implies, it is obvious, much unrecorded teaching. What is recorded points (1) to the true interpretation of the prophecies of the Messiah (Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44-45); (2) to the extension of the mission of the disciples to the whole Gentile world, and their admission to the Kingdom by baptism (Matthew 28:19); (3) to the promises of supernatural powers and divine protection (Mark 16:15-18); (4) to that of His own perpetual presence with His Church (Matthew 28:20).




Acts 1:3

The forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension have distinctly marked characteristics. They are unlike to the period before them in many respects, but completely similar in others; they have a preparatory character throughout; they all bear on the future work of the disciples, and hearten them for the time when they should be left alone.

The words of the text give us their leading features. They bring out-

I. Their evidential value, as confirming the fact of the Resurrection.

‘He showed Himself alive after His passion by . . . proofs.’

By sight, repeated, to individuals, to companies, to Mary in her solitary sadness, to Peter the penitent, to the two on the road to Emmaus. At all hours: in the evening when the doors were shut; in the morning; in grey twilight; in daytime on the road. At many places-in houses, out of doors.

The signs of true corporeity-the sight, the eating.

The signs of bodily identity,-’Reach hither thy hand.’ ‘He showed them His hands and His side.’

Was this the glorified body?

The affirmative answer is usually rested on the facts that He was not known by Mary or the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and that He came into the upper room when the doors were shut. But the force of these facts is broken by remembering that Mary saw nothing about Him unlike other men, but supposed Him to be the gardener-which puts the idea of a glorified body out of the question, and leaves us to suppose that she was full of weeping indifference to any one.

Then as to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Luke carefully tells us that the reason why they did not know Him was in them and not in Him-that it was ‘because their eyes were holden,’ not because His body was changed.

And as to His coming when the doors were shut, why should not that be like the other miracles, when ‘He conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in the place,’ and when He walked on the waters?

There cannot then be anything decidedly built on these facts, and the considerations on the other side are very strong. Surely the whole drift of the narrative goes in the direction of representing Christ’s ‘glory’ as beginning with His Ascension, and consequently the ‘body of His glory’ as being then assumed. Further, the argument of 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 1 Corinthians 15:58 goes on the assumption that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,’ that is, that the material corporeity is incongruous with, and incapable of entrance into, the conditions of that future life, and, by parity of reasoning, that the spiritual body, which is to be conformed to the body of Christ’s glory, is incongruous with, and incapable of entrance into, the conditions of this earthly life. As is the environment, so must be the ‘body’ that is at home in it.

Further, the facts of our Lord’s eating and drinking after His Resurrection are not easily reconcilable with the contention that He was then invested with the glorified body.

We must, then, think of transfiguration, rather than of resurrection only, as the way by which He passed into the heavens. He ‘slept’ but woke, and, as He ascended, was ‘changed.’

II. The renewal of the old bond by the tokens of His unchanged disposition.

Recall the many beautiful links with the past: the message to Peter; that to Mary; ‘Tell My brethren,’ ‘He was known in breaking of bread,’ ‘Peace be with you!’ {repetition from John 17:1 - John 17:26}, the miraculous draught of fishes, and the meal and conversation afterwards, recalling the miracle at the beginning of the closer association of the four Apostles of the first rank with their Lord. The forty days revealed the old heart, the old tenderness. He remembers all the past. He sends a message to the penitent; He renews to the faithful the former gift of ‘peace.’

How precious all this is as a revelation of the impotence of death in regard to Him and us! It assures us of the perpetuity of His love. He showed Himself after His passion as the same old Self, the same old tender Lover. His appearances then prepare us for the last vision of Him in the Apocalypse, in which we see His perpetual humanity, His perpetual tenderness, and hear Him saying: ‘I am . . . the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore.’

These forty days assure us of the narrow limits of the power of death. Love lives through death, memory lives through it. Christ has lived through it and comes up from the grave, serene and tender, with unruffled peace, with all the old tones of tenderness in the voice that said ‘Mary!’ So may we be sure that through death and after it we shall live and be ourselves. We, too, shall show ourselves alive after we have experienced the superficial change of death.

III. The change in Christ’s relations to the disciples and to the world. ‘Appearing unto them by the space of forty days.’

The words mark a contrast to Christ’s former constant intercourse with the disciples. This is occasional; He appears at intervals during the forty days. He comes amongst them and disappears. He is seen again in the morning light by the lake-side and goes away. He tells them to come and meet Him in Galilee. That intermittent presence prepared the disciples for His departure. It was painful and educative. It carried out His own word, ‘And now I am no more in the world.’

We observe in the disciples traces of a deeper awe. They say little. ‘Master!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ ‘None durst ask Him, Who art Thou?’ Even Peter ventures only on ‘Lord, Thou knowest all things,’ and on one flash of the old familiarity: ‘What shall this man do?’ John, who recalls very touchingly, in that appendix to his Gospel, the blessed time when he leaned on Jesus’ breast at supper, now only humbly follows, while the others sit still and awed, by that strange fire on the banks of the lonely lake.

A clearer vision of the Lord on their parts, a deeper sense of who He is, make them assume more of the attitude of worshippers, though not less that of friends. And He can no more dwell with them, and go in and out among them.

As for the world-’It seeth Me no more, but ye see Me.’ He was ‘seen of them,’ not of others. There is no more appeal to the people, no more teaching, no more standing in the Temple. Why is this? Is it not the commentary on His own word on the Cross, ‘It is finished!’ marking most distinctly that His work on earth was ended when He died, and so confirming that conception of His earthly mission which sees its culmination and centre of power in the Cross?

IV. Instruction and prophecy for the future.

The preparation of the disciples for their future work and condition was a chief purpose of the forty days. Jesus spoke ‘of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.’ He also ‘gave commandments to the Apostles.’

Note how much there is, in His conversations with them-

1. Of opening to them the Scriptures. ‘Christ must needs suffer,’ etc.

2. Of lessons for their future, thus fitting them for their task.

3. Mark how this transitional period taught them that His going away was not to be sorrow and loss, but joy and gain, ‘Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended.’

Our present relation to the ascended Lord is as much an advance on that of the disciples to the risen Lord, as that was on their relation to Him during His earthly life. They had more real communion with Him when, with opened hearts, they heard Him interpret the Scriptures concerning Himself, and fell at His feet crying ‘My Lord and my God!’ though they saw Him but for short seasons and at intervals, than when day by day they were with Him and knew Him not. As they grew in love and ripened in knowledge, they knew Him better and better.

For us, too, these forty days are full of blessed lessons, teaching us that real communion with Jesus is attained by faith in Him, and that He is still working in and for us, and is still present with us. The joy with which the disciples saw Him ascend should live on in us as we think of Him enthroned. The hope that the angels’ message lit up in their hearts should burn in ours. The benediction which the Risen Lord uttered on those who have not seen and yet have believed falls in double measure on those who, though now they see Him not, yet believing rejoice in Jesus with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

1:1-5 Our Lord told the disciples the work they were to do. The apostles met together at Jerusalem; Christ having ordered them not to depart thence, but to wait for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. This would be a baptism by the Holy Ghost, giving them power to work miracles, and enlightening and sanctifying their souls. This confirms the Divine promise, and encourages us to depend upon it, that we have heard it from Christ; for in Him all the promises of God are yea and amen.He showed himself - The resurrection of Jesus was the great fact on which the truth of the gospel was to be established. Hence, the sacred writers so often refer to it, and establish it by so many arguments. As the fact of his resurrection lay at the foundation of all that Luke was about to record in his history, it was of importance that he should state clearly the sum of the evidence of it in the beginning of his work.

After his passion - After he suffered, referring particularly to his death as the consummation of his sufferings. The word "passion" with us means commonly excitement or agitation of mind, as love, hope, fear, anger, etc. The original means "after he suffered." The word "passion," applied to the Saviour, denotes his last sufferings. Thus, in the Litany of the Episcopal Church, it is beautifully said, "By thine agony and bloody sweat; by thy cross and passion, good Lord, deliver us." The Greek word of the same derivation is rendered sufferings in 1 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter 4:13; Colossians 1:24.

By many infallible proofs - The word rendered here "infallible proofs" does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. In Greek authors it denotes an infallible sign or argument by which anything can be certainly known (Schleusner). Here it means the same - evidence that he was alive which could not deceive, or in which they could not be mistaken. That evidence consisted in his eating with them, conversing with them, meeting them at various times and places, working miracles John 21:6-7, and uniformly showing himself to be the same friend with whom they had been familiar for more than three years. This evidence was infallible:

(1) Because it was to them unexpected. They had manifestly not believed that he would rise again, John 20:25; Luke 24:19-24. There was, therefore, no delusion resulting from any expectation of seeing him, or from a design to impose on people.

(2) it was impossible that they could have been deceived in relation to one with whom they had been familiar for more than three years. No people in the possession of reason could be made to believe that they really saw, talked with, and ate with, a friend whom they had known so long and familiarly, unless it was real.

(3) there were enough of them to avoid the possibility of deception. Though it might be pretended that one man could be imposed on, yet it could not be that an imposition could be practiced for forty days on eleven men, who were all at first incredulous.

(4) he was with them sufficient time to give evidence of his personal identity. It might be pretended, if they had seen him but once, that they were deceived. But they saw him often, and for the space of more than a month.

(5) they saw him in various places and at times in which there could be no deception. If they had pretended that they saw him rise, or saw him at twilight in the morning when he rose, it might have been said that they were deluded by something that was merely the result of imagination. It might have been said that, expecting to see him rise, their hopes, in the agitated state of their minds, deceived them, and that they only fancied that they saw him. But it is not pretended by the sacred writers that they saw him rise. An impostor "would have affirmed this, and would not have omitted it." But the sacred writers affirmed that they saw him after he was risen; when they were free from agitation; when they could judge coolly; in Jerusalem; in their own company when at worship; when journeying to Emmaus; when in Galilee; when he went with them to Mount Olivet; and when he ascended to heaven: and how could they have been deceived in this?

(6) he appeared to them as he had always done, as a friend, companion, and benefactor; he ate with them, performed a miracle before them, was engaged in the same work as he was before he suffered, renewed the same promise of the Holy Spirit, and gave them his commands respecting the work which he had died to establish, and the work which he required them to do - carrying out the same purposes and plans which he had before he died. In all these circumstances it was impossible that they should be deceived.

Being seen of them forty days - There are no less than thirteen different appearances of Jesus to his disciples recorded. For an account of them, see the notes at the end of the gospel of Matthew.

Speaking to them ... - He was not only seen by them, but he continued the same topics of discourse as before his sufferings; thus showing that he was the same person that had suffered, and that his heart was still intent on the same great work. And as his heart was occupied with the same purposes which endued his attention before he suffered, we are taught by this that we should aim at the same great work in all the circumstances of our being. Afflictions, persecutions, and the prospect of death never turned him from his great plan; nor should they be allowed to divert our minds from the great work which God has given us to do.

The things pertaining to the kingdom of God - For an explanation of this phrase, the kingdom of God, see the notes on Matthew 3:2. The meaning is, Jesus gave them instructions about the organization, spread, and edification of his church.

3-5. showed himself alive—As the author is about to tell us that "the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" was the great burden of apostolic preaching, so the subject is here filly introduced by an allusion to the primary evidence on which that great fact rests, the repeated and undeniable manifestations of Himself in the body to the assembled disciples, who, instead of being predisposed to believe it, had to be overpowered by the resistless evidence of their own senses, and were slow of yielding even to this (Mr 16:14).

after his passion—or, suffering. This primary sense of the word "passion" has fallen into disuse; but it is nobly consecrated in the phraseology of the Church to express the Redeemer's final endurances.

seen of them forty days—This important specification of time occurs here only.

speaking of—rather "speaking."

the things pertaining to the kingdom of God—till now only in germ, but soon to take visible form; the earliest and the latest burden of His teaching on earth.

To whom, i.e. the apostles, he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs; eating, drinking, speaking, walking with them; nay, showing them his very wounds, and permitting them to be touched; God suffering Thomas’s infidelity to contribute to the strengthening of our faith.

Being seen of them forty days; not continually, but upon occasion as he pleased; it was so long from his resurrection to his ascension; and the same space in which God showed himself unto Moses in Mount Sinai. So long also he was pleased to stay with them, that he might more abundantly testify the truth of his humanity, and of his resurrection.

And speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God; either his kingdom in heaven, the church triumphant or his kingdom on earth, the church militant; what future bliss and happiness he was going to prepare, and what means they ought to use towards the obtaining of it.

To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion,.... That is, after his sufferings and death; for that he suffered many things, and at last death itself, is certain from the acknowledgment of the Jews themselves, who own, that they put him to death on the passover eve (d); as well as from the accounts of the evangelists; and from the soldiers not breaking his legs, when the rest that were crucified with him were broken, because he was already dead; and from his "ricardium" being pierced with a spear, from whence blood and water sprung, after which it was impossible he should be alive; and from the testimony of the centurion who watched him, to whom Pilate sent to know if he was dead, and how long he had been dead; and from his being buried, and lying in the grave so long as he did: and yet after, and not withstanding this, "he showed himself alive"; he raised himself from the dead, and hereby declared himself to be the Son of God with power, which cannot be said of others; there were others that were alive after death, but not by their own power; as the widow of Sarepta's son, the daughter of Jairus, Lazarus, and the widow of Nain's son; but these did not "show themselves alive", as Christ did, who appeared often to his apostles: for after he had first appeared to Mary Magdalene, he showed himself to the two disciples going to Emmaus; then to ten of them, Thomas being absent; after that to them all, Thomas being present, when he convinced him of the truth of his resurrection; after that he appeared to seven of the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and then to all the apostles; and to five hundred brethren at once on a mountain in Galilee; and once to James alone, and to them all again when he was parted from them and went up to heaven; and so they must be proper and sufficient witnesses of his resurrection: and this evidence of his being alive, he gave to them, by many infallible proofs; or by many signs and tokens, and which were most sure and unquestionable arguments of his being alive; as his eating and drinking with them, walking and talking with them in a free and familiar manner, showing them his hands and his feet, and side, that they might see the scars which the nails and spear had made; and which were not only a proof that he was risen again, but risen again in the same body in which he suffered; and that they might feel and handle him, and know that he was not a spirit, a phantom, a mere apparition, but was really risen and alive: being seen of them forty days; not that he was seen by them for forty days together continually, but at certain times, within the space of forty days; for between his first and last appearance, many others intervening, such a length of time run out; so that it was not a single and sudden appearance that surprised them; but there were many of them, and a distance between them, and this for a considerable term of time; hence they had opportunity of reflecting upon these appearances, and of satisfying themselves of the truth of things. This number of "forty days" is a remarkable one in Scripture. The flood was forty days upon the earth; and so long Moses was in the mount with God; such a number of days the spies were searching the land of Canaan; so many days Goliath presented himself to the armies of Israel; and so long a time Elijah went in the strength of the meat the angel provided for him; and for such a length of time the prophet Ezekiel was to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah; and such a term of time was given out by Jonah for the destruction of Nineveh; and so many days Christ fasted, and was tempted in the wilderness. The Jews pretend (e), that forty days before Jesus was put to death he was led forth, and a crier went before him, declaring, that whoever would, had liberty to testify to his innocence if they could, but no man appeared for him: but this is false; the truth of the matter is, that for forty days after his resurrection he showed himself to his disciples, and by proving the truth of his resurrection, he proved his own innocence and uprightness. If the testimony of Rabbenu Hakadosh, as cited by Galatinus, could be depended on, the Jews had a notion of this forty days' conversation of the Messiah with his disciples, after his resurrection; who say (f),

"the Messiah, after his resurrection, shall converse with the righteous, and they shall hear his precepts "forty days", answerable to those forty days in which he shall be in the wilderness to afflict his soul, before they shall kill him; and these being finished, he shall ascend to heaven, and sit at the right hand of God, as it is said, Psalm 110:1.

But this seems rather to be the pious fraud of some Christian, than the words of a Jew: however, they do say (g), that "the days of the Messiah are "forty days", as it is said, Psalm 95:10 "forty years long was I grieved"; or, as they interpret it, "shall I be grieved with this generation":

intimating, that the generation of the Messiah, and of the wilderness, would be much alike, and equally grieving to God, and reckoning a day for a year, as the Lord did with that generation, Numbers 14:33. These forty days Christ was with his disciples, may be an emblem of the forty years which were to run out from his death, to his coming again to take vengeance on the Jewish nation; for so long time was there from thence to the destruction of Jerusalem. And Christ was not only seen of the disciples at certain seasons during this space of time, but he was also heard by them: for it follows,

and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God; the kingdom of the Messiah, the Gospel dispensation; concerning the doctrines of the Gospel they were to preach, and the ordinances of it they were to administer; concerning the church of God, the nature, order, and officers of it, and the laws and rules by which it should be governed; concerning the kingdom of grace, what it consists of, and wherein it lies; and of the kingdom of glory, of meetness for it, his own grace, and of the right unto it, his own justifying righteousness: some of these things they might have before but very little knowledge of; and may be these are the things he had to say to them, and which, till now, they could not bear; and being no more to be with them in person, he instructs them in them,

(d) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1.((e) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1.((f) Gale Razeya apud Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 8. c. 23. (g) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 99. 1.

{2} To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many {b} infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

(2) Christ did not immediately ascend into heaven after his resurrection in order to thoroughly prove his resurrection, and with his presence strengthen and encourage his Apostles in the doctrine which they had heard.

(b) He called those things infallible proofs which are otherwise termed necessary: now in that Christ spoke, and walked, and ate, and was felt by many, these are sure signs and proofs that he truly rose again.

Acts 1:3. Οἷς καί] to whom also. To the foregoing οὓς ἐξελέξ., namely, there is attached a corresponding incident, through which the new intercourse, in which the ἐντειλάμενος κ.τ.λ. took place, is now set forth.

μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτόν] includes in it the death as the immediate result of the suffering (Acts 3:18, Acts 17:3, Acts 26:23; Hebrews 13:12).

διʼ ἡμέρ. τεσσαράκ.] He showed Himself to them throughout forty days, not continuously, but from time to time, which is sufficiently indicated as well known by the preceding ἐν πολλ. τεκμηρίοις.

τὰ περὶ τῆς βασ. τ. Θεοῦ] speaking to them that which related to the Messiah’s kingdom (which He would erect). The Catholics have taken occasion hence to assume that Jesus at this stage gave instructions concerning the hierarchy, the seven sacraments, and the like.

As to the variation of the narrative of the forty days from the narrative given in the Gospel, see on Luke 24:50 f. This diversity presupposes that a not inconsiderable interval occurred between the composition of the Gospel and that of Acts, during which the tradition of the forty days was formed or at least acquired currency. The purposely chosen ὀπτανόμενος, conspiciendum se praebens (comp. Tob 12:19; 1 Kings 8:8), corresponds to the changed corporeality of the Risen One (comp. the remark subjoined to Luke 24:51), but does not serve in the least degree to remove that discrepancy (in opposition to Baumgarten, p. 12), as if it presupposed that Jesus, on occasion of every appearance, quitted “the sphere of invisibility.” Comp. the ὤφθη in Luke 24:24; 1 Corinthians 15:5 ff.; comp. with John 20:17; Acts 1:21 f., Acts 10:41; Luke 24:42 f.

Acts 1:3. οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν, “he also showed himself,” R.V., but margin “presented himself” (cf. Acts 9:41), praebuit se, Vulg. In Acts 9:41 monstravit, h. 1. magis demonstravit (Blass). The verb is used thirteen times in Acts (once in a quotation, Acts 4:26), both transitively and intransitively. St. Luke in his Gospel uses it three times, and as in Acts both transitively and intransitively. In this he is alone amongst the Evangelists. In the Epistles it is found only in St. Paul, and for the most part in a transitive sense.—μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν, “after his passion,” so in A. and R.V.; post passionem suam, Vulg.; “too sacred a word to be expunged from this the only place where it occurs in the Bible,” Humphry, Commentary on R.V.; cf. Acts 3:18, Acts 17:3, Acts 26:23.—ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοιςτεκμήριον only here in N.T.—twice in Wis 5:11; Wis 19:13, and 3Ma 3:24. The A.V. followed the Genevan Version by inserting the word “infallible” (although the latter still retained “tokens” instead of “proofs”). But R.V. simply “proofs” expresses the technical use of the word τεκμήριον, convincing, certain evidence. Although in a familiar passage, Wis 5:11, τεκμήριον and σημεῖον are used as practically synonymous, yet there is no doubt that they were technically distinguished, e.g., Arist., Rhet., i., 2, τῶν σημείων τὸ μὲν ἀναγκαῖον τεκμ. This technical distinction, it may be observed, was strictly maintained by medical men, although St. Luke may no doubt have met the word elsewhere. Thus it is used by Josephus several times, as Krenkel mentions, but he does not mention that it is also used by Thucydides, ii., 39, to say nothing of other classical writers. Galen writes to τὸ μὲν ἐκ τηρήσεως σημεῖον τὸ δὲ ἐξ ἐνδείξεως τεκμήριον, and the context states that rhetoricians as well as physicians had examined the distinction; Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke, p. 184. The word also occurs in the Proem of Dioscorides to his De Materia Medica, p. 3, which Vogel and Meyer—Weiss hold that Luke imitated in the Prologue to his Gospel (but see Zahn, Einleitung, ii., 384).—διʼ ἡμερῶν τεσσαράκοντα. St. Chrysostom comments οὐ γὰρ εἶπε τεσσαράκοντα ἡμέρας, ἀλλὰ διʼ ἡμερῶν τεσσαράκοντα· ἐφίστατο γὰρ καὶ ἀφίστατο πάλιν. To this interpretation of the genitive with διά Blass refers, and endorses it, Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch, p. 129, following the Scholiast. The meaning, if this interpretation is adopted, would therefore be that our Lord did not remain with His disciples continuously (οὐ διηνεκῶς, Schol.) as before, but that He appeared to them from time to time; non perpetuo, sed per intervalla, Bengel. But cf. also Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 140. Men have seen in this period of forty days, mentioned only by St. Luke in N.T., what we may reverently call a symbolical fitness. But in a certain sense the remark of Blass seems justified: Parum ad rem est quod idem (numerus) alias quoque occurrit. The parallels in the histories of Moses and Elijah to which Holtzmann and Spitta refer are really no parallels at all, and if it be true to say that there was nothing in contemporary Jewish ideas to suggest our Lord’s Resurrection as it is represented as taking place, it is equally true to maintain that there was nothing to suggest the after sojourn of the forty days on earth as it is represented as taking place; see Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii. 624.—ὀπτανόμενος: if we could call this a frequentative verb with some scholars, it would in itself give the meaning “appearing from time to time,” but it is rather a late Hellenistic present, formed from some parts of ὁρᾶν; Blass, Grammatik des N. G., pp. 57, 181. But it certainly does not mean that our Lord’s appearances were merely visionary. The verb is found only here in N.T., but also in LXX 1 Kings 8:8 and in Tob 12:19 (not in .). In these two passages the word cannot fairly be pressed into the service of visionary appearances. In 1 Kings the reference is to the staves of the ark which were so long that the ends were seen from the holy place before the oracle, but they were not seen from without, i.e., from the porch or vestibule. In Tobit it is not the appearance of the angel which is represented as visionary, quite the contrary; but his eating and drinking are represented as being only in appearance. But even if the word could be pressed into the meaning suggested, St. Luke’s view of our Lord’s appearances must be judged not by one expression but by his whole conception, cf. Luke 24:39-43 and Acts 10:41. That he could distinguish between visions and realities we cannot doubt; see note below on Acts 12:12.—τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θ.: “speaking the things concerning,” R.V., not “speaking of the things,” A.V., but speaking the very things, whether truths to be believed, or commands to be obeyed (Humphry, Commentary on R.V.). On St. Luke’s fondness for τὰ περί τινος in his writings see Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium, pp. 10 and 89 (so also Zeller and Lekebusch). The exact phrase is only found in Acts, where it occurs twice (in T.R. three times); cf. Acts 19:8 (Acts 8:12), and see also Acts 20:25; Acts 20:28(23):31. The expression ἡ βασ. τοῦ θ., instead of τῶν οὐρανῶν of the Hebrew Evangelist St. Matthew, is characteristic of St. Luke’s writings, although it is found frequently in St. Mark and once in St. John. In St. Luke’s Gospel it occurs more than thirty times, and six times in Acts (only four times in St. Matt.). Possibly the phrase was used by St Luke as one more easily understood by Gentile readers, but the two terms ἡ βασ. τοῦ θ. and τῶν οὐρ. were practically synonymous in the Gospels and in Judaism in the time of our Lord (Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 171; E. T. and Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (second edit.), p. 67; Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, i. 267; and Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, p. 76 ff.). Dr. Stanton, Jewish and Christian Messiah, p. 226, draws attention to the important fact that the preaching of the original Apostles after the Ascension is not described as that of the preaching of the kingdom of God, but that the phrase is only used of the preaching of St. Paul, and of St. Philip the associate of St. Stephen. But in view of the fact that the original Apostles heard during the Forty Days from their Master’s lips to τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλ. τοῦ θεοῦ, we cannot doubt that in deed and in word they would proclaim that kingdom. On the question as to whether they conceived of the kingdom as present, or future, or both, see Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, i., 409, E. T., and Witness of the Epistles (Longmans), p. 309 ff., and on the conception of the kingdom of God in the Theology of A. Ritschl and his school see Orr, Ritschlian Theology, p. 258 ff. For the relation of the Church and the Kingdom see also Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, pp. 28, 36 ff., “Church,” Hastings, B.D., p. 425; Hort, Ecclesia, p. 5 ff.

3. after his passion] Literally, after he had suffered.

by many infallible proofs] The adjective here has no representative in the original. The Greek word signifies some sign or token manifest to the senses, as opposed to evidence given by witnesses. The word infallible has been used in the A. V. to bring out this signification. It is better to omit it. The proofs here meant are Christ’s speaking, walking and eating with His disciples on several occasions after His resurrection, and giving to Thomas and the rest the clearest demonstration that He was with them in the same real body as before His death, and not in appearance only (Luke 24:39; Luke 24:43; John 20:27; John 21:13). As the verity of the Resurrection would be the basis of all the Apostolic preaching, it was necessary that such clear proofs as these should be given by Christ to the twelve who were to be His witnesses.

being seen of them forty days] Better, appearing unto them by the space of forty days. Christ was not continuously with the disciples, but shewed Himself to them frequently at intervals during the forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension. The period of forty days is only mentioned here, and it has been alleged as a discrepancy between the Gospel of St Luke and the Acts that the former (Luke 24) represents the Ascension as taking place on the same day as the Resurrection. It needs very little examination to disperse such an idea. The two disciples there mentioned (Luke 24:13) were at Emmaus “towards evening” on the day of Christ’s resurrection; they returned to Jerusalem that night and told what they had seen. But after this has been stated the chapter is broken up at Luke 24:36 (which a comparison with John (John 20:26-28) shews to be an account of what took place eight days after the Resurrection), and at v. 44 and v. 50, into three distinct sections with no necessary marks of time to unite them, and in the midst of the whole we are told that Christ opened the mind of His disciples that they might understand the Scriptures. No reasonable person would conclude that all this was done in one day. Beside which the objectors prove too much, for according to their reasoning the Ascension must have taken place at night after the two disciples had come again to Jerusalem from Emmaus.

the kingdom of God] This expression is found most frequently in the last three Evangelists, St Matthew’s form being “the kingdom of heaven.” It has several significations, but here, as in Mark 1:14, it includes the whole Christian dispensation, its message, progress and economy. Some traces of the nature of these communications in the forty days we find in the Gospels. The disciples were sent as Christ Himself was sent (John 20:21), their understandings were opened that they might understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45); the extent of their commission was set before them, as well as the solemn issues of their work (Mark 16:15-16), and to that was added the promise of their Lord’s constant presence (Matthew 28:20).

Acts 1:3. Παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν, He Presented or showed Himself) Noble language. A sweet return backwards [a retrogression]: He was taken up, He presented Himself alive, His Passion.—παθεῖν, His Passion) reaching to His death.—τεκμηρίοις, proofs) by sight, hearing, touch, etc.; by means of which they might know clearly and for certain both that it was He Himself, and that He was alive.—δἰ ἡμέρων τεσσαράκοντα) for forty days, not continuously, but at intervals. On the other hand, only ten, not forty, days elapsed from the Ascension to Pentecost: the period of His death was three days.—ὀπτανόμενος, appearing to [being seen of] them) in appearances of considerable length: John 21:12.—περὶ τῆς βασιλείας, concerning the kingdom) This was the sum of the words of Christ, even before His Passion.

Verse 3. - Proofs for infallible proofs, A.V.; appearing unto them for seen of, A.V.; concerning for pertaining to, A.V. The addition of the words by many proofs makes it necessary to understand the words allowed himself (παρέστησεν ἑαυτόν) in the sense which it bears both in classic and Scriptural Greek, of proved or demon-strafed: "To whom he gave distinct proofs of his being alive after his passion;" the proofs follow - being "seen of them" for forty days at intervals, talking with them, and (ver. 9) "being taken up while they were looking." Doubtless, too, he had in his mind those other proofs which he records in Acts 10:41, and those referred to by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). For this sense of παρίστημι, see Acts 24:13, "to rove:" and Lysias's 'Oration against Eratosthenes' (p. 125), where the almost identical phrase occurs which we have here, Ἀμφότερα ταῦτα πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις παραστήσω, "I will prove both these things by many certain proofs." The A.V. rendering, "infallible proofs," was quite justified. Stephanus says, "De certo et indubitato signo dicitur apud Rhetoricos" ('Thesaurus,' 9216); and the technical meaning of τεκμήριον in Aristotle is a "demonstrative proof," as opposed to a σημεῖον, which leaves room for doubt; and in medical writers, which is important as regards St. Luke, the τεκμήριον is the "infallible symptom." St. Luke, by the use of the word here, undoubtedly meant to express the certainty of the conclusion based on those proofs. Appearing unto them. The Greek ὀπτανόμενος, corresponding to the φανερωθεὶς of the Epistle of Barnabas, cap. 15, only occurs in the New Testament in this place. In the Septuagint of 1 Kings 8:8 it is used of the staves of the ark within the veil, which "were not seen without." The idea intended to be conveyed, both by the use of this verb and by the use of διὰ (by the space of), is that our Lord was not with the apostles always, as he was before the Resurrection, but that he came and again disappeared (St. Chrysostom). They were fleeting appearances spread over forty days. The nearly related substantive, ὀπτασία, means "a vision," and is frequently used by St. Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23; 26:19. It is also found in 2 Corinthians 12:l. Concerning the kingdom of God; a subject which had deeply engaged their thoughts (Luke 19:11), and on which it was most needful that they should now be fully instructed, that they might teach others (Acts 20:25). Acts 1:3Shewed himself (παρέστησεν)

This verb is rendered in a variety of ways in the New Testament, as give or furnish, present, provide, assist, commend. The original meaning is to place beside, and so commend to the attention. Hence, to set before the mind; present, shew.

Infallible proofs (τεκμηρίοις)

The word is akin to τέκμαρ, a fixed boundary, goal, end; and hence a fixed or sure sign or token. The Rev. omits infallible, probably assuming that a proof implies certainty.

Being seen (ὀπτανόμενος)

Only here in New Testament. Rev., appearing.

Forty days (δι' ἡμερῶν τεσσεράκοντα)

Lit., "through forty days." Rev., by the space of. The only passage where the interval between the resurrection and the ascension is given.

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