Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
September 10, 2001
Last Updated :
August 24, 2012
Jesus Appears To The Apostles A Second Time, Jesus Appears For Forty Days Prior To His Ascension, Return To Jerusalem, Apostles' Tests Of Faith, Purging Dross, More Humbler Peter, Our Common Fiery Trials, Loving Rebuke, Additional Resources
I concluded the first part of this article by sharing with you the verses from the Gospel of John where Jesus appears to the Apostles for the second time. Allow me to share those verses with you again:
"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you . . . And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you."
John 20:19, 26, KJV
There are two important points which are lacking in these verses. First, there is no mention of the Lord's Ascension to Heaven, and second, there is no mention that this is the last time that He saw His Disciples. In fact, in reading the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we discover that the Lord appeared to His Disciples for a period of forty days following His Resurrection; and that the last time that the Apostles see Him, it occurs on the Mount of Olives, just outside of Jerusalem; and that it is there that He ascends to Heaven. Furthermore, all of these events occur before the Day of Pentecost when the Disciples receive the Holy Spirit and become a mighty witness, which is described in chapter two:
"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: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me . . . And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey."
Acts 1:3-4, 9-12, KJV
So putting all of these descriptive verses together, it appears that the Disciples fled northward to Galilee after the Lord's Crucifixion, in order to save their lives, where they must have remained in a backslidden state, until the Lord had "the talk" with Peter in John chapter twenty-one. My guess is that it was at that time, that they understood that they had left the job unfinished, and so they returned south towards Jerusalem, which is how we find them bidding the Lord farewell on the Mount of Olives. As I point out in other articles, notice that the Lord's final instructions to them, is to return to Jerusalem, where they must wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit, which occurs in chapter two.
From all of the events I have shared in this article, it becomes evident that the Apostles underwent some major tests of their faith. God had to purge out the dross from their lives, before He could even begin to use them in a major way. He had to bring them to the end of themselves, and make plain to them their weak, sinful condition, in order to make sure that they would give credit to Whom credit is due. The Lord had to mold them in the fires of personal trials and tribulation. I would daresay that Peter's trials may have been heavier than those of the others, because he had been chosen by the Lord to lead the young flock. Once Peter had his self-confidence, pride and cockiness knocked out of him through his own sins and self-serving blunders, we see an amazing transformation in his life, as is revealed in some of the things he wrote in his Epistles. For example, please consider the following verses:
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
1 Peter 5:5-6, KJV
What a marked change from the proud man who claimed that he would never deny the Lord, and that he would even be willing to go all the way to the Cross with Him. Peter had been through the school of hard knocks. He had endured the fiery trials of faith, which mold men into the vessels that God truly wants them to be. As a result, Peter was able to use his personal experiences to humbly encourage others who were going through similar trials. In other parts of this same Epistle Peter also writes:
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:6-9, KJV
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
1 Peter 4:12-14, KJV
Before concluding this article, allow me to share a few more verses with you regarding this same topic:
"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Job 23:10, KJV
"And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God."
Zechariah 13:9, KJV
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
James 1:2-4, KJV
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV
"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Revelation 3:18, KJV
So if you find yourself in the midst of God's refining fires, please don't despair. God never allows anything to happen to us unless it is for our own good, and everything He does, is always done in love, as we see here:
"Open rebuke is better than secret love."
Proverbs 27:5, KJV
"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."
Hebrews 12:6, KJV
Finally, please remember this precious promise, which is one of our favorites:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28, KJV
With these verses I will bring this article to a close. I hope that you have found it informative, and I pray that it has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would also very much appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly! For additional info, you may want to refer to the list of resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which are related to the topics which were discussed in this article. All of them are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
Are You Crucified with Christ?
Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution
So You Really Think You Are So Humble?
The Battle is Not Yours Alone!
The Lord Will Lift You Up!