From a human perspective, Jesus’ earthly ministry did not look so successful. Though He had attracted a fairly popular following while alive, it did not catch on en masse. Many leaders rejected Him, and, of course, the Romans crucified Him, causing His closest disciples to scatter and flee.
Things looked pretty bad until His resurrection and then Pentecost, when suddenly His followers found a new boldness to proclaim their crucified Master as the Messiah of Israel. It was only after the resurrection of Jesus, in fact, that the early church started to take off.
Read Acts 1:1–11. What important truths do we find here about the Second Coming, baptism, the Holy Spirit, and mission?
Look especially at verses 3 and 6. What does that tell us about how much more truth the disciples had to learn?
One of the most interesting parts of this section is verse 3, in which Luke states that Jesus presented them with many “proofs.” Some versions use the phrase “infallible proofs,” which is somewhat overstating the case. Another translation calls it “convincing proofs,” which is the less problematic translation. The point here is that the believers in Jesus were given powerful evidence, “proof,” of Jesus as the Messiah. Considering the daunting task that He had called them to and all the opposition that they would face, they needed all the proof they could get. The good news is that the Lord will give us all the reasons we need for faith, all the reasons we need to believe in things that we do not fully understand. As we see in these texts, the disciples still did not fully understand the Lord’s intentions regarding the nation of Israel, even after all this time with Jesus. We need to learn to worship, praise, and obey the Lord, despite all that we do not understand.
Think about the powerful evidence we have for our beliefs, on all the good reasons for the logic of our faith. Notice, too, the use of the word faith. What does faith imply? That is, what good reasons do you have for having faith, a belief in something that you do not fully understand?