Luke 24:45-53: Worship, Joy
September 25, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The culmination of Luke’s first part of his two-part history of Christian origins (the second part being what we call Acts), centers on the events that will bridge the gap between the ministry of Christ and the ministry of the church in Christ’s power. First of all, verse 45, he opens their minds that they may understand the Scriptures.
Note that we cannot hope to grasp what it is that God is saying to us in the Bible unless we use our minds. The truth of God is to grasp with the faculty that we have been given for grasping truth, namely the mind.
Note also that Bible teachers are to open people’s minds to the truth as they open the Scriptures to people’s minds. We are not only to love God with our mind—but also with our heart, soul, and body—but to understand what God wants from us, it is necessary to engage our brains and have our minds opened.
Note finally that an open mind is one that understands the Scriptures. To submit to God’s Word is not to close your mind, but to open your mind to what is true.
Then comes in verses 46 and 47 a wonderful summary of what is written in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is not merely a book of rules, not simply a list of moral imperatives, not only a history of ancient Israel. The Old Testament has a particular message. That message is that the Christ, or the Messiah, should die, rise again, and that forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name starting in Jerusalem and to all nations. Old Testament texts, such as the blessing promised to Abraham that he would be a blessing to all nations, are now fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the preaching of the message of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus to all nations. When, then, we read the Old Testament, let us remember that, according to Christ himself, it points to Christ and him crucified and raised.
Verse 48 tells us that these apostles are witnesses of these things. The apostles in an especial sense are witnesses of what Jesus said, did, and that he died and rose again. Their words, by God’s Spirit, are recorded for us, and what they approved is written for us, that we might have the word of God in the New Testament, too, showing us how to follow Christ in this Messianic age.
Then verse 49 tells us of the coming special anointing and gift of the Holy Spirit. They will be clothed with power from on high. Let us then also seek that power from on high that we might in our day be effective witnesses for Jesus. We are not apostles, and we are not eyewitnesses of his resurrection. But the Spirit is the same, and we who follow him are also promised the Holy Spirit.
As he departs, verses 50 to 53, he blesses them and is carried up into heaven. We know, of course, that above the clouds there is the galaxy, and beyond that the universe, but by, as it were, ascending, Jesus indicates that he is moving towards the realm that we consider “above,” that is heaven. And their response? Worship, joy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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