We see that Luke, in chapter 24, brings us his account of the resurrected Christ and the Great Commission.1 Luke pulls into focus for us not only that we as individuals (and together as the Church) are to serve under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but also that it was necessary to God’s plan of redemption for truth to be fulfilled as was embodied by our Lord, Jesus Christ.
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 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, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
By achieving the humanly impossible feat of meeting the requirements of many prophecies, including those above, Jesus Christ adds the weight of seriousness and truthfulness to prophecies made about Him and other statements made by Him.
In making these pronouncements, which includes His physical resurrection, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah.2 As such, that also meant He was claiming to be on the same level as God. We have further corroboration of this by the angry reaction of the Jews to which he spoke.3 They understood plainly what Jesus said. However, like blind men, they could not see past His humanity despite their knowledge of the Scriptures.
Without the benefit of being “clothed with the power from on high”4 (the Holy Spirit), the apostles were at a disadvantage with regard to understanding many of the things written of within the Scriptures and to those things of which Jesus spoke. Even though the apostles were told repeatedly, they had difficulty grasping the depth of meaning regarding what was being said to them. Which is why it was necessary for Jesus to help the disciples to understand the meaning of these things.
As documented by prior writings within the Old Testament the Messiah, the Christ, would come into the world, suffer and die, and be resurrected.
The Christ of gospel history did not invent Himself, nor is He the invention of some people in the first century.
• The Old Testament promised the Messiah would come through the line of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), and the line of David (2 Sam. 7).
• Isaiah 7:14 predicted that he would be born of a virgin.
• Micah 5:2 predicted that He would be born in Bethlehem.
• Jesus would be betrayed by a close, trusted friend (Ps. 41:9).
• He would be beaten, spit on, and have His beard pulled out (Isa. 50:6; Mic. 5:1).
• The soldiers would gamble for His clothing (Ps. 22:18).
• He would be crucified (Ps. 22) and pierced (Zech. 12:10).
• His death would be vicarious (Isa. 53).
• He would rise from the dead (Isa. 53:10; Ps. 16:18-11).
He is the unmistakable fulfillment of divine prophecy.”5
The apostles were witnesses to these prophetic events and once the arrival of the Holy Spirit had occurred they were charged with proclaiming the message of Grace unto the world. As disciples following them, the Great Commission has in turn, become our mission to the world.
Keith Parker (June 2016)
1. cf. Matthew 28:19-20;
2. cf. John 4:26, 8:58, 10:30, 14:23, 17:5;
3. cf. John 8:59, 10:31-33, 39; Luke 4:28-29;
4. New International Version (NIV).
5. MacArthur, John. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Luke 18-24; pg: 442. Chicago, IL.:Moody Publishers, 2014.