Reason #2 The behavior of Jesus disciples defies logic.
Let’s be honest, the disciples weren’t the “A-team” by any stretch of the imagination. They were a rag tag group of fisherman, tax collectors, and zealots. There wasn’t a man among them who could be considered a courageous person. In fact, when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, they all turned tail and ran. Peter attempted to defend Jesus for a moment, but only because he had anticipated Jesus would miraculously smite all of his captors; when it became clear this was not his intention, he ran away too. The scriptures say that all but John and a few of the women were absent at the time of Jesus crucifixion. John was a teenager who didn’t know any better. The women wouldn’t be seen as a threat and were able to be present without fear of harm.
Peter, who would become the leader of the Christian movement, takes his cowardice a step further. He wasn’t even willing to be associated with Jesus for fear of embarrassment. When asked by a servant girl if he was a follower of Jesus, he denied it. He denied Jesus three times while he was on trial before the Sanhedrim. As Jesus was beat up and spit on, Peter was a spectator from a safe distance.
Imagine the bewilderment of the Jewish leaders when these very disciples show up in Jerusalem, just 45 days after Jesus death, and start preaching and proclaiming boldly that he rose from the dead. Not only were they preaching salvation in Jesus name, but they were backing it up with the authority of miracles. A man born blind, who was easily recognized by the people, was claiming that the Jesus had healed him through Peter’s prayer. The Jewish leaders threaten them and tell them to shut up about Jesus, but their boldness only grows and their influence with it (Acts 4:17-20). What accounts for this boldness? What transformed a rag tag group of scared little boys into spiritual dynamos who turned the entire world upside down? What explains the fact that these twelve men who hid in fear of their lives once Jesus was arrested, subsequently, defied death in order to preach the gospel? Did they do it for money? They weren’t rich. Did they do it for fame? They certainly didn’t live glamorous lives. Did they do it for fun? Only if you define getting crucified upside down, fun. What explains their sudden boldness?
The real question to answer here is what would you do if you witnessed a man defy death, hell and the grave and appear before you with nail scarred hands? How would you view death if you saw him ascend into heaven promising “I’m going to prepare a place for you”? Would you become a radical? Would you turn the world upside down telling everyone what you had seen and heard? Come to think of it, that’s exactly what they did! I’ve yet to come up with an explanation for the explosive growth of Christianity and the boldness of Jesus disciples outside of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.