And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.
Acts 10:39-42 ESV
This is part of the talk Peter gave to the household and friends of Cornelius on the day that is often referred to as the “Gentile Pentecost”. I’m drawn to his statement that God made Jesus “to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
There is a lot in that sentence, but in particular Peter answers a question many have asked over the millennia. You may have asked it yourself. Here’s the question:
“God, why don’t you just show yourself?”
Why didn’t he appear to all the people? Wouldn’t that be easier? Jesus could have just flashed across the sky and the whole world would see and know. Why didn’t God do that? Why doesn’t God do that?
I can’t comprehensively answer that question. But I think Peter gives the main answer here: because God didn’t want to.
Jesus didn’t appear to all the people, as we might desire. Instead, he appeared “to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses.”
The whole point was to have us carry the message, imperfect and bungling though we might be. This is how God has chosen to do it
, virally spreading the good news of Jesus to the world through people who, first, were the friends and followers who ate and drank with him
, then through those they told, down through the centuries and untold spiritual generations to us.
It’s the best way. Because it’s God’s way.