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Good News for All Nations

We are continuing our meditation on the days after the resurrection of Christ. When Jesus appeared in the room where the disciples gathered, He had an important message for them:

44He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." 45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:44-49).

Christ opened their minds to the Scriptures (v.45), reminding them that faith in God must be grounded in the Word of God (Romans 10:17). He reminded them of the things He taught them while He was with them—things prophesied in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms that had to be fulfilled by Christ. Just as He did with the Emmaus disciples, He did the same with those in the room, taking them through Old Testament passages and explaining the plan of God to redeem not just Jewish people but Gentiles, too. The plan of God for salvation was unfolding before their eyes, and they saw the reason for Jesus’ suffering and voluntary sacrifice.

Luke writes of the expectation of the Lord for all believers—the task to preach repentance (a turning away from self towards obedience to Christ) and forgiveness of sin to all nations beginning at Jerusalem, their home (v.47). We are not just to make conversions, but disciples. Matthew’s Gospel makes His command clear to us all:

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 Emphasis mine).

We are to teach all nations to obey everything the Lord taught the disciples in the three years He walked with them. The Book of Acts gives us Christ’s strategy; to share what we know of Christ and make disciples from ever-widening concentric circles from Jerusalem. Today that means making disciples from our hometown and extending our reach to other cities and nations.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

The strategy is to share the Good News in your hometown, starting where you live. Often, this is the most challenging place to start. Even Christ himself was not accepted in His hometown (Matthew 13:57). If opportunities come to sow seed in fields more distant, we must take every opportunity available to bring the lifesaving message to others.

Jesus gave specific instructions about waiting. They were to learn dependency and faith from the very beginning of their mission. He told them to wait until they received the promise of the Father: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). The promise of the Father is the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who would come on the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after Passover to rest on them and be in them. Let’s talk about why they had to wait in our meditation tomorrow. Keith Thomas.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, study 66: Jesus Appears to the Disciples


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