The Book of Luke, The Preparation and Commissioning of the disciples - Lesson 247
Luke 24:33-53, And they (the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus) rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
36And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43And he took it, and did eat before them.
With this lesson we have come to the end of our study of the Gospel account given to us by Luke, the Physician.
But this ending is like a graduation which is never really an ending but a beginning, that which we call a commencement.
Luke has told us of the birth, the life, the death and the resurrection of Christ but this is not the whole story.
But Luke did not stop here for he has given us the continuation of this story in the book of Acts telling us of the acts of these same Apostles relative to the decline of Israel and the rise of the church of Jesus Christ.
There is a born again aspect between these two books when we compare the acts of the apostles in the book of Luke versus their acts in the book of Acts.
We have met the disciples of Christ and have seen all of their weaknesses and unbelief, their faults and failures, their preconceived ideas as to what Christ should do relative to the kingdom.
But in the 24th chapter of Luke we see the start of a new beginning for the risen Christ is with them and their minds are being opened to the reality of Godís plan which was detailed all along in the Old Testament scriptures.
These once despondent disciples are now characterized by praise.
These followers of Jesus, who only days before were cowering behind locked doors, hiding from those who put their Lord on a cruel cross, will now persistently and publicly praise God in the temple, the very headquarters of religious power.
They are transformed men, they are men who have been given the power of God that comes with His Spirit to all who believe on the same Lord Jesus Christ who appeared to them in the locked room.
He appears to them and says "Peace be unto you.
But Peace did not come immediately for they were startled and frightened, they were troubled and doubting.
Even joy and amazement got in the way of peace and belief.
It was natural for Christ to wish them Peace for as Isaiah tells us Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.
A Prince is a ruler and this ruler rules in peace.
His presence is associated with peace and his absence means the absence of peace.
When Jesus instructed the disciples in the upper room he said this in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
This was a command that he could give for he is peace and anyone who has Christ, has peace and is commanded to not permit their heart to be troubled nor to be afraid and he has full authority and power to do so.
When he spoke this command He was speaking of a future without his physical presence, a future when His presence with His disciples was to be shown through His Spirit, who was yet to come.
We have peace with God when we know his presence and that presence is manifested in His Spirit to those who believe.
Jesus said I will never leave thee or forsake thee.
He could say this even though he was soon to physically leave his disciples for he left his Spirit with them who would guide them into all truth.
Those of us who have the Spirit of God within us know this for a fact.
Jesus is with me for his spirit indwells me.
The peace of God and the presence of God are virtually inseparable.
You must have the Prince of Peace in order to have true peace.
Luke 24:44-49, And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48And ye are witnesses of these things. 49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
This passage reminds me of military orders for in a way military orders could be looked upon as prophetic.
When orders are issued there is no question that they will be fulfilled.
Orders are preconceived actions that will be carried out.
General Eisenhower was a prophet when he issued orders for D-Day in 1944 for he was able to foretell what was going to take place on a particular day at a particular place.
Those orders were detailed orders that all of his forces were obligated to carry out.
Now in that case all things that Eisenhower ordered did not come about in exactly the way he prophesied.
But that is never the case when God lays out orders for his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to carry out.
In our passage Jesus Christ tells the disciples, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Jesus Christ had his orders and he fully carried them out as described in all of the parts of the Old Testament, beginning with the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy, then the prophets and then the psalms.
One thing we can be sure of is that Jesus Christ understood his orders completely and concisely and he carried them out perfectly.
He repeatedly said He must be about his Fatherís business and his Fatherís business was detailed in all of the Old Testament scriptures.
Every heartache, every despondency, every trouble every preconceived false idea the disciples had was because they did not believe nor understand the orders of the Father to His Son.
And so it goes today.
Unbelief brings heartache, despondency and trouble.
The command of Psalm 2:12 still applies, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
And putting their trust in him means believing his word but to believe his word is to know his word.
Everything that had happened to Jesus Christ had been prophesied in the Scriptures, and also foretold by the Lord Jesus to his disciples.
He brings them to mind as he says in:
Luke 24:46-48, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48And ye are witnesses of these things.
The rejection, death, and resurrection of Messiah was one of the prominent prophetic themes of the Old Testament.
And it was introduced early in his ministry as Jesus was rejected on the occasion of His first public presentation of Himself as Messiah in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:14-30).
As Jesusí ministry and message spread throughout Israel the opposition of the Jewish religious leaders became more intense and organized.
Jesus clearly told his disciples on several occasions that rejection by the elders, and suffering and death were included in the Fatherís orders to him.
He clearly told his disciples in Luke 9:44, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
But the disciples refused to grasp this truth, even resisting what they knew of it for it did not support their preconceived ideas of the kingdom, so before Jesus departs to the Father he reminds them of that which He had told them.
It was a rebuke of their unbelief and the honoring of the entire Old Testament as something in which to fully trust, for all of it bares witness to His suffering and death.
What better commentary on the scriptures is there than that of Jesus Christ who is the incarnate word of God?
There are so many voices in the world today, many who claim enlightenment about the scriptures but that enlightenment rejects much of the Old Testament.
Who are you going to believe? The multitude of voices or Jesus Christ himself?
If these doubters would open their hearts to Jesus Christ they would have true understanding as the disciples were soon to have for we are told in verse 45:
45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
So here is revealed to us that which the Apostle Paul will later share as he tells us that the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Yes, the disciples were truly guilty of unbelief and Jesus rebuked them for it but they also had a natural inability to understand the Scriptures, which had to be divinely removed.
And here in verse 45 Jesus removes that darkness and floods their minds with light to understand for the first time, the Old Testament Scriptures pertaining to His rejection, suffering, and death.
Paul again in his writings to the Corinthians picks up on this and writes:
I Corinthians 2:12-13, Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which manís wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
From this instruction to his disciples, we see that in order for them to understand the scriptures, a divine act had to take place.
We see that all men, unaided by the Spirit of God, are incapable of understanding the things of God because Godís ways, and Godís means are totally beyond our ability to comprehend.
Jesus chose to wait until after His resurrection to open the eyes of the disciples to understand all that the prophets had spoken pertaining to Him and especially of His rejection, suffering, death, and resurrection.
Jesus Christ in teaching the two men on the way to Emmaus and here teaching his disciples emphasizes all that was known to all in the Old Testament.
It is hard preaching to them get back to the book.
So much of Israel was engulfed in the Jewish religion of tradition and rule making that the book was forgotten.
There is nothing new under the sun.
The resurrected Christ makes his point, for from this point on the disciples will turn to the Old Testament prophecies to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
They now know that all that happened to Him was foretold and was carried out by this same resurrected Jesus.
They are armed to carry the gospel in obedience to their Lord for they are witnesses prepared to preach his name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.
49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Jesus Christ is soon to return to the Father.
He has prepared his disciples to carry on without him but not without his spirit for they are to wait in Jerusalem until that spirit comes upon them with the promised power
It will be power which will result in the turning of hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.
It will be power to convict and convert some of the very ones who, only a little more than a month before, had called out for the murder of Jesus Christ.
He refers to this outpouring of his spirit as the promise of the Father.
The Old Testament scriptures are filled with this promise and Jesus taught, throughout his ministry, of this promise.
He told his disciples to not prepare their defense when they were put on trial but to depend upon the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, in John 7:37-39, offered the Holy Spirit to all who thirsted, and He especially promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples in His absence.
Jesus commanded His disciples not to go forth with their witness to the things which had happened apart from the power which He would provide through His Spirit.
We see in this forty day tarriance of our Lord a full preparation of his disciples for the monumental work that was before them.
They were instructed in the Old Testament scriptures and they were to be endued with power.
Jesus Christ did not leave them before making all preparations.
This being accomplished within forty days after he rose from the grave, he departed and returned to the Father.
50And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
The disciples were led to the outskirts of Jerusalem where they witnessed the glorious return of our Lord to the Father.
It was a triumphant return for he had accomplished all of the Fatherís business. He had carried out his orders faithfully.
As He lifted His hands in blessing, He was taken up from them.
These disciples, who were so distraught and disarmed by the death of Jesus, are now described as transformed and that transformation is now characterized by praise.
The transformation will be depicted in much greater detail in the Book of Acts for which account we also are thankful to Dr. Luke.
Many of you have grown old since we started studying this book on September 1, 2002 but here we are 247 lessons later. The Lord has been so good to provide this account by Luke and we thank and praise him for that!