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You are My Witnesses: Luke 24:36–53

Thursday, March 28, 2013, 6:00
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You are My Witnesses

April 7, 2013

Lesson: Luke 24:36–53

Key Verse: Luke 24:48

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Introduction

We can only tell what we know. This knowledge can be subjective, truth based upon our own thinking; or it can be objective, truth revealed by an authority outside of man, whereby we become witnesses “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:6–7). These words echo the words of our Lord recorded in Luke 24:46–48. Paul declares what God has actually accomplished in the life of every believer. We are, therefore, witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For we have the Word of God written for our understanding of God’s wonderful love toward us in Christ Jesus.

Paul writes that God has made us accepted in the Beloved. Christ said that it was necessary for him “to suffer and rise from the dead.” Therefore “repentance and remission of sins should be preached.” We were once not acceptable, and now we are acceptable to God as righteous, in Christ, the Beloved Son. In Christ, we have redemption through his blood, having received forgiveness of our sins, according to the grace of God. To him belongs all the praise and glory. We are, therefore, to be witnesses to that which God has done for us in Christ Jesus.

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See My Hands—Luke 24:36–40

Jesus stood in the midst of his disciples, saying, “Peace be unto you.” They were terrified, and they believed they had seen a spirit. He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

When Jesus asked his disciples to look at his hands and feet, what were they to see? That he was risen? Yes. That he was alive? Yes. That he was not a spirit but a real being able to be seen and touched? Yes. But more than that, they were to know that he was truly the Son of God, the One who walked with them and taught them that he was the Good Shepherd who holds them dearly in his arms. He is the One who is alive today, who fulfills the promise of the Father through the prophet: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isa. 40:11). The Good Shepherd said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Discussion: What was the reaction of the disciples to the risen Lord?

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Hear My Words—Luke 24:41–44

They wondered at the sight of Jesus, believing not with the joy that should have been theirs. Patiently Jesus spoke to them in words they would understand, saying, “Have ye any meat? They gave him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. He took it and ate the fish in their presence. He said to them, “These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and in the psalms concerning me.”

Our Lord further testifies to the reality of his resurrection by taking bread and fish, and eating this meal before their very own eyes. But there is more to this picture than the eating of bread. There is the eating of the bread of life, the word of God. For the bread and fish that he ate before the disciples show again that all that Jesus spoke to the disciples before his death and resurrection was a fulfillment of Holy Scriptures, of every word spoken by the Law, by the prophets, by God’s song book, the Psalms. God’s prophet spoke of the risen Lord: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth of thy seed, not out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever” (Isa. 59:20–21).

If you see Christ in the Holy Scriptures, you will be his witnesses to others. We do not testify our subjective experiences, but the objective truth that Christ is the only Lord and Savior. We testify to what we have seen and heard, just as the disciples when they cried out “repent”. For they had come to know who Jesus was, the Savior who redeemed them from their sins.

Discussion: How did Christ help His disciples understand the Scriptures?

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Preach My Gospel—Luke 24:45–48

Christ opened their understanding of Scriptures, saying to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.”

The understanding with our minds and souls about whom Christ is and what he has done, is given to us by the Holy Spirit through his Holy Scriptures. The Gospel that is to be preached is this:

  1. That it was necessary for Christ to suffer for our sins, dying upon the Cross of Calvary, and to be raised from the dead. This is God’s plan of salvation; there is no other person under heaven by which man must be saved. We must be witnesses, preach the Gospel that has been given us, because there is no other rock upon which we can stand. We preach Christ crucified and risen, the rock of our salvation.
  2. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes the call to repentance, and the forgiveness of sins. In other words, when we present the Gospel, we call others, as we were called, to turn away from self (repentance) and turn to Jesus Christ as the only One who can save. Looking to Christ, we find that we have received forgiveness for our sins against God, through His grace, by the precious blood of Christ. We receive that wonderful free gift, embracing what has been given to us freely, a new life ransomed by his sacrifice.

We must ask ourselves how we can be witnesses. Can we really share what we have not seen? We must study the Scriptures, that we may sound clearly the joy of our salvation in Christ.

Discussion: What does it mean to preach the Gospel?

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Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2013 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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