161. Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. -Luke 24:25-27 Context: Luke 24:13-27
Let’s commit to studying the Bible and believing what it says! Wouldn’t you love to have been there to hear Jesus Himself exposit the Old Testament prophecies about Himself – like that He would be from the Jewish tribe of Judah (Genesis 49); be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7) in Bethlehem yet have always existed (Micah 5); be a direct descendant of King David and reign on his throne (Isaiah 9); would minister extensively in Galilee to Jews and to Gentiles (Isaiah 9); would be a priest in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110); would die as a substitute for sinners yet come back to life (Isaiah 53). Jesus probably showed and explained these and many other prophecies to them! Reading the Old Testament would never be the same again for them or for us! The Messiah will return one day and fulfill the rest of the Bible’s promises! Let us read often – and not be slow to believe!
162. And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” -John 20:28-29 Context: John 20:24-31
I have never seen Jesus with my physical eyes, but He has become my Savior and best friend. I am closer to Him than any other earthly relationship I have, including my beloved wife of over 25 years. I know that sounds odd to an unbelieving world who insists they can only act on what they see. Thomas and the other disciples placed their faith in Jesus because they saw Him alive after death! Jesus knew subsequent generations would have to believe not because of what they saw physically but on the testimony of those first witnesses and the testimony of those with transformed lived later on. By faith I invited the same Jesus to save me that saved my friend Doug Barr. The Holy Spirit made the words of the Bible compelling to me, and I have been following Jesus ever since! The command is to believe in Jesus and love Him back even though He is not physically with us. I love the fact that Jesus here pronounced a blessing to all those who would believe with spiritual eyes. One day we will get to see Jesus face to face! I believe! I hope you do as well! “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:2-3).
163. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. -Luke 24:46-48 Context: Luke 24:44-49
Here Jesus tells us what the basis content of our salvation message is. We need to tell people that Christ had to die for our sins but rose from the dead to show His power over Satan, sin, death, and Hell. We need to call people to turn from a sense of self-sufficiency apart from Christ to total reliance on Christ for salvation! The word repentance means a change of mind. I used to think I was okay without God – now I know I’m a sinner who needs God. I used to think Christ was a religious option among many – now I know He’s the only way to have my sins forgiven and be reconciled to God. I used to live for myself – now I want to live for God and put others before myself. We need to call people to this repentance and faith in Jesus, and then let those who receive Christ know that their sins are forgiven. What a privilege we have to join 2,000 years worth of Christians who have been sharing this Good News!
164. He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, you know things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” -John 21:17 Context: John 21:15-19
If you love Jesus, you’ll feed His people. It really is that simple. Many churches have more people on planning committees than they have people actually doing ministry! They spend lots of time talking about doing ministry but some never get around to doing ministry! What the Lord wants is people who love Him to share His love in word and deed with a world in need. We are called to feed His sheep when the church gathers and when it scatters. We are called to feed the 99 safe in the fold, and the one who has wandered from the fold (Luke 16). We are also called to help reach the other sheep God has, those who will become believers through our witness (John 17:20, John 10:16). It is a calling that involves focus and time! Jesus told His first disciples that they would be fishers of men. But here He calls us to also be shepherds of sheep. It is a much more demanding analogy! With fish, we catch them, we eat them, we go home! Shepherding, however, involves loving patience and perseverance with creatures that are prone to wander and get into precarious positions! Do you love Jesus? Then love others in His name at all times!
165. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. -Matthew 28:18-20
We come to the verses that inspired this study! We have now looked at the things Jesus commanded of we His people. This final command in the gospels is known as Christ’s Great Commission to His believers. As individuals and as churches we are to go to all the ethnicities of the world and share the good news of salvation in Jesus’ name! When people trust Christ we are to baptize them in the Name of the Triune God. Every true believer then becomes a follower of Jesus Christ, learning all that He has commanded and doing what He says. But Matthew’s gospel ends with a heartening promise – that Christ will be with us spiritually every step of the way as we put His commands into practice in our lives! And then we will be with Him forever!