The Ministry of Our Lord During the Forty Days -- By: Everett F. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 095:377 (Jan 1938)
Article: The Ministry of Our Lord During the Forty Days
Author: Everett F. Harrison

The Ministry of Our Lord During the Forty Days

Everett F. Harrison

It is not without warrant that we speak of the forty days in connection with the last stage of Christ’s personal work on earth. Filled with rich Old Testament associations and consecrated to higher service at the Temptation, this familiar segment of time attains a consummate sacredness as the setting for the final revelation of the risen Christ ere He returned to the Father. Centered between the death and resurrection on the one hand and the ascension and sending of the Spirit on the other, they were filled with instruction that clarified the events of the past and gave promise for those that lay in the future. The following discussion seeks to emphasize the outstanding elements of that ministry.

1. Presentation

“To whom also he presented himself as living after his having suffered, by many proofs, disclosing himself to their sight”...(Acts 1:3). It is generally recognized that we owe our knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus to the testimony of the disciples, men who knew Him before His death and recognized Him after His resurrection. But it is not so generally appreciated that the sight of the empty tomb and the report of certain individuals that they had seen Jesus alive from the dead were insufficient to convince these same disciples, as a body, of the truth of that event. Jesus’ own appearance in their midst and His self-revelation were required. Consequently, the belief of the early church in the resurrection does not rest merely in the fact, but in our

Lord’s testimony to the fact. This is well put in the words of Dr. W. P. Armstrong, “The acceptance of the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection determines the N.T. view of the origin of the church. It is rather significant and striking that the cause of the Christian faith takes in the resurrection, but is not just the fact of the resurrection. The point is that the N.T. represents Jesus as the cause of the belief. Jesus himself convinced the disciples of it. The Christian faith all along has a personal cause. The person comprehends the thing. The disciples did not believe in the resurrection merely because the tomb was empty, but because He testified to it. Christian faith is thus not just an assent to an intellectual proposition as it is sometimes caricatured. The N.T. presents a certain Jesus to us, the Jesus who rose, the Jesus of history, and we trust Him, a person, not only as the object of the Christian faith, but the cause of it. If one rejects Chriat’s testimony, how can one be said to accept Him?”1

Christianity’s claim to a risen Sav...

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