Sunday

19 April 2015

“You are witnesses of these things.” (v. 48)

Psalm: Psalm 4


Background

The passage today is set in Jerusalem on the evening of the first Easter Day. It describes the third post-resurrection appearance of Jesus, the first being to the women at the tomb (Luke 24:1-8) and the second to two disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35).

Now Jesus appears to all the disciples and other believers who were together, discussing the reports of those who had already seen Jesus.

Jesus first words to them were to comfort them, "Peace be with you" (v. 36) or 'shalom'. 'Shalom' is a Hebrew greeting meaning peace, completeness, prosperity and a concern for welfare. After all that he has suffered; after having been deserted by some of these same disciples; having explained beforehand to them that he would be crucified and would rise again and now, finding them in disbelief … still Jesus' first concern is one of love and comfort towards them.

Jesus still had the evidence of the crucifixion on his body, which the company could see. Jesus showed them that he was with them bodily by inviting them to touch him and by eating in front of them. He was no apparition; he was flesh and blood; he was truly alive. After this Jesus reminded them of how he had explained to them from Scripture about how he had to suffer, die and be raised again.

The disciples knew Jesus, they saw him die and now they have seen him alive again. Jesus tells them that they must witness to all of this.

The message that all people can turn back to God and receive forgiveness from him for all that they have done wrong must be preached to all nations, starting right where they are in Jerusalem.


To Ponder

  • The disciples are to start right where they are in telling people about Jesus' resurrection and the offer of turning back to God. What are the joys and difficulties of witnessing to your faith right where you are?
  • At this stage the disciples did not understand the meaning of going "to all nations" (v. 47) with the good news. When they did understand, they struggled with the idea of sharing the gospel with non-Jews. Are there individuals or groups of people that we write off, believing that it is pointless to share our faith with them? How might you change your view? And how might you share your faith with them?


Bible notes' author: The Revd Ros Watson

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