Preparation to be witnesses for Christ
Scripture: Luke 24:36-53
Aim: To show how the truth of the resurrection of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit becomes a catalyst in helping the believers to become witnesses for Christ to others.
Golden Text: “And ye are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48).
Before Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of man (II Corinthians 5:21), He taught the disciples that He was going to die in Jerusalem and be raised again on the third day. He taught them many other things as well. In order to understand the powerful witnesses the followers of Christ became, one must understand what Jesus taught regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world.
First, Jesus instructs that He will send the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, Who will be just like He Himself is (John 14:16). He will abide with the believer for ever. Jesus tells them that He is the Spirit of Truth who was dwelling with them, but He would come to dwell in them (John 14:17).
Second, Jesus instructs them that “the Comforter … Whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit will convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:7-8).
Third, the Holy Spirit will take the things of Christ and show them to the disciples (John 16:13). He will in all things glorify the Son (John 16:14).
With these things in mind, look at the lesson for today.
I. Jesus visited with the disciples in the upper room after His resurrection (Luke 24:36-44). The disciples (Thomas was absent) were afraid when Jesus appeared in the upper room (vs. 36-37). Jesus showed them His hands and feet with the nail prints in them (vs. 38-40). The disciples were filled with joy, and Jesus ate broiled fish and honeycomb (vs. 41-44). He reminded them that all that the Old Testament prophets had written concerning Him must be fulfilled (vs. 44).
II. Jesus opened their understanding that they might understand the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:45). This understanding was to come through the Holy Spirit when He came.
III. Jesus gave them the message they should give to all men everywhere (Luke 24:46-48). First, the gospel was to be preached. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was to be preached (vs. 46). Second, Jesus had paid for men’s sins (vs. 47). Repentance was to be preached in order for men to believe and receive the remission (forgiveness) of their sins (v.47). Third, this message was to be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (vs. 47). Fourth, the 11 apostles were to be Christ’s witnesses of “all these things” (vs. 48).
This message has been preached from that time to this. It is ever the same message and all believers are responsible to help all persons to hear the message. It is the message of salvation from sin through faith in Jesus Christ for the repentant soul.
IV. The apostles were to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit should come and endue them with power from on high (Luke 24:49-53). Jesus led them to Bethany, lifted up His hands to bless them, “He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,” praising God (vs. 50-53).
The apostles and others (120 persons) waited for 10 days in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit come at Pentecost (Acts 1:15; 2:1). He filled them with the presence of God and they became flaming witnesses for Christ. This same Holy Spirit lives in each believer. May He so move upon each believer that each and every one will be a “flaming witness” for Christ.