“beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us — from among these, it is necessary that one become a witness with us of his resurrection.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
What is the foundation of the church? What is the thing that if you removed it, the church would crumble into dust? There’s an old hymn that would seem to give us the answer to that question. It goes like this: “The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord; she is His new creation by water and the Word; from heav’n He came and sought her, to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.” So that’s it then? Jesus is the foundation of the church? Well…yes and no. Let me explain.
This verse here comes in the context of the eleven disciples, now apostles, trying to choose a replacement for Judas who had hung himself in his guilt over betraying Jesus. What they are doing here is laying out the criteria for whose hat was going to be able to be thrown into the ring for consideration. This verse picks up in the middle of a sentence, but it does give us the whole list of what counts as most important.
Notice closely what it says. The one to be considered had to have been with them since the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, from His baptism by John until that very day. Now, that was likely a pretty big pool of people. The Twelve weren’t the only ones who had been with Jesus all that time. There were several who had been, but hadn’t made the cut to be one of this inner-circle group for some reason.
But there’s one more thing. From among that group of people it was “necessary” that the person was one of the witnesses to the resurrection. In other words, being with Jesus wasn’t enough by itself. Eye-witnessship to the resurrection was the deciding factor. The reason for this is that the house the apostles were getting ready to build wasn’t going to be built simply on Jesus. It was going to be built on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The church’s one foundation, then, is Jesus Christ the RISEN Lord.
The resurrection is the point on which the whole thing hangs. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christianity as a whole needs to be thrown into the trash. If that’s the case, much of the last 2,000 years of history has been built on a lie. We shouldn’t trust anything Jesus said as true. We should, in fact, reject it all. There is no hope and we should just live however we want for the time we are on this earth.
If Jesus rose from the dead, though, the whole thing is true and you’ve got to do something with it. If Jesus rose from the dead, rejecting Him isn’t an option. He is Lord. You’ve got to pay attention to everything He said. It’s all true.
So here’s your challenge: Figure out what you are going to make of this claim that Jesus rose from the dead. Don’t just write it off flippantly. Examine the evidence. If you are one who would be inclined toward skepticism, look closely at the facts. If you can prove it false, continue confidently in your unbelief. Yours is the right position. If not, abandon your pride and receive Him as your Lord. Nothing else makes sense.