Thursday 25 May 2017

Bible Book:

“You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised.” (vv. 48-49)

Luke 24:44-53 Thursday 25 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm 24


Today is the day which the Christian Church has set aside tocommemorate the Ascension of Jesus, his leave-taking of hisdisciples. Our passage for today marks the very end of Luke'sGospel and the Gospel writer carries forward the story of theempowerment of the disciples in his second book, the Acts of theApostles.

As with Jesus' conversation with the two on the road to Emmaus(Luke 24:13-35), here we have an account ofJesus explaining to his disciples all that has happened to him inthe light of the Scriptures. Interestingly Jesus moves straightfrom speaking about the Messiah suffering and rising from the dead(verse 46) to declaring that repentance and forgiveness of sins areto be proclaimed to all nations (verse 47). To the disciples, hesays, "You are witnesses of these things." Jesus' disciples thenand his disciples throughout the ages are called to be rooted inScripture and active in telling the story of Jesus. The Church,alongside those called as followers of Jesus, is to preachrepentance and forgiveness to all nations.

God's purpose for the world in the suffering and death of Jesusis to bring the whole world within the ambit of God's divine love.To this we, too, are called to be witnesses. This is not just amatter of individual repentance and forgiveness, although itcertainly is that.

We are also called to witness to a world full of dispute anddissension on the small, local or family scale, and in therelations between warring groups and nations. No one party in adispute is all right or all wrong. No one party occupies the moralhigh ground to the exclusion of the other. It is in the midst ofsuch disputes that we, as Christians are called to be reconcilers,bringing the message of repentance and forgiveness. This is a verydaunting calling but Jesus' disciples were given a promise, as weare, "see I am sending you what my Father promised".

To Ponder

  • Have there been occasions in your Church or worshippingcommunity where disputes have arisen but where you have drawn backfrom 'witnessing', have been reluctant to seek reconciliation? Whydo you think that is?
  • The Church has exercised a role as mediator and reconciler in anumber of serious conflicts - in Northern Ireland, in South Africaand in Sierra Leone. How might you and your church community becomeinvolved in initiating or supporting such acts of witness?
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