1998-10-08 - You Are Witnesses
The Cross Series, Part 55
Luke 24:48-49 "You are witnesses of these things. 49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
The disciples had been witnesses to many amazing things. They had the sick healed, even the curse of leprosy was turned away with a word or a touch. Wine for the wedding in Cana had begun the litany of miracles. The lame had been healed walked upright and whole again. They had seen great faith from a gentile Roman Centurion. The common thought was that gentiles were worse than dogs; heathen beyond reaching for the most part. They had seen thousands fed from the lunch box of a small boy with enough leftovers for them to eat their fill too. They themselves had been sent forth in power to do these things as well. They had seen the treachery of the leadership of Israel and the blinding wisdom of the Master thwart them at every turn. They had seen a Tax Collector become one of their number. These men were considered traitors to their own people, yet Jesus broke that barrier too. The despised Samaritans had come in droves to meet the man who had told the woman at the well everything about her. She was amazed enough the whole village turned out. Shocking beyond words were the resurrections of Jarius' daughter and Jesus' friend Lazarus. Equally staggering had been the night the Lord of Creation spoke a single command and a raging storm was banished and the surface of the sea was turned as smooth as glass as though nothing were ever amiss. Jesus had shown staggering power and unbelievable authority over ill intent, sickness, sin and death. Yet there was something even more amazing that Jesus spoke of here.
Luke 24:45-47 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Lazarus would die a physical death again as would Jarius' daughter. All of us living now are slowly dying. We are born to die. This life is described as a vapor. Worse, our hearts are described as wicked. Nothing we could ever do could make us worthy of Heaven for a second. The power of sin held us captive and we were incapable of throwing it off.
But in eternity past a plan was made to redeem fallen mankind. Before the first sin of Adam and Eve, God knew we would need a Savior. And at the right time, Jesus came. He lived among us as one of us. He felt hunger, cold and pain. He was tempted in every way we are tempted, and still never gave in to sin. His nature was that of His Father - and therefore perfect. There was nothing in Jesus for sin to use as a hand hold, no weakness or crack to exploit. The Passover had been given by God to Israel in Egypt the night they left for the Promised Land with Moses. A spotless lamb had to be slain and eaten. It represented the price of sin. The lamb was the sacrifice for the family. The blood of the lamb was used on the doorway as a sign for the Death angel to pass over the houses of the Israelites, preserving the life of the first born.
Yet all the millions of lambs and all the buckets of blood were not enough to destroy the power of sin. It covered sin, but could not free mankind from sin. Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for all people for all time. He was born into this world knowing His destination was the Pilate's Praetorium and Calvary's cross. He came anyway, because He loves us. It was the only way to save us from eternity separated from God because of sin and the spiritual death it brought with it. Jesus perfect sacrifice had crushed the power of sin liberating everyone who had lived or would ever live. His resurrection had opened the one doorway for us to come to God - on His terms - and be welcomed home for eternity as the prodigal sons and daughters that we are.
The disciples had seen many things. But no even in the history of mankind will ever hold a candle to this one moment. The only the return of Jesus to Earth will have such massive impact on so many. These men and women had seen Jesus laid in a borrowed tomb. Three days later, He entered the locked room they were cowering in and said, "Peace be unto you.". It was a common greeting, but it changed their lives unalterably forever. They were witnesses to the death and resurrection Jesus explained to them. The greatest news of all time was theirs to deliver to the nations.
We may not have been there for the events first had, but if you know Jesus as Savior, He has changed your heart and life with just as much certainty. You have a message to take to the nations. Jesus is alive and well, and loves them too. He has something wonderful for them. Not a rule book to follow. There is no dress code, no restrictions. He wants to give you peace in the depth of your heart and mind that can not be moved. The sure knowledge of Himself, His love and eternity with Him. Will there have to be some changes? Yes, some big and some small - some now and some later. But if He loved you enough to die for you, He has your very best interests at heart. One more thing. He has promised to never give up when we blow it, and it will happen. It's all part of the package. The price? That's the best news of all. If you are willing to exchange your out of control, worn and tattered life, He will give you His eternal life - free.
Matt 28:20b "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Is that worth sharing? If that isn't, then nothing ever will be.
Lord Jesus - We hold a treasure beyond price that You have shared with us. Give is the courage and the patience to share it with those around us. Help us share it in our lives first and our words will find opportunities to have impact. Draw us closer to You so we can know you better. In knowing You, we will find the joy to live the life and share the truth. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.