To all Nations

by LA UBF   11/18/2006     0 reads


To all nations�

To All Nations

Luke 24:1-53

Key Verse 24: 45-48

He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

Today we would like to think about the ultimate vision Jesus came to fulfill in our lives, that is, the resurrected life. Yesterday, we had a joyful sports fellowship. One brother who attended the fellowship chose Little Samuel Chang as the most serious cheerleader. Missionary Augustine Kim turned out to be a good soccer player, for, despite his weight, he maneuvered the ball like David Beckham of the UK, shot, and earned a goal;  Moses Lim caught the moment on video. One brother, whose age is close to 60, also played soccer. He joined the Holy Nation team. The team captain assigned him to the most important position saying, “You are the striker.” He asked the captain, “What is a striker?” He replied, “The one who earns goals.” So he worked hard, but he earned nothing. In fact, the game was so rigorous for him that after the first half he quit. But yesterday he was thinking about the resurrection message, “He has risen!” So he thought to himself, “My body is so heavy. How nice would it be if I wear a resurrected body like that of the Risen Jesus? In a resurrected body I can earn as many goals as needed.”  

Now, let us stop for a moment and think about this brother’s inner monologue. Are his thoughts merely wishful thinking? No! This is not merely wishful thinking. It represents God’s vision for you and for me. It is Jesus’ vision for all! Didn’t Jesus say, “Because I live, you also will live”?  (John 14:19)

Practically then how will this come true in my life and in your life? It will come in two steps:

Part I, He has risen!

The first step is for Jesus to rise again from the dead. 

In the previous passage, Jesus offered himself as an atoning sacrifice on a tree. Then Joseph, a member of the Jewish Council, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, took it down from the tree, wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid it in a tomb cut in the rock in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day (of the Passover, the day the Sabbath begins).  The women (Mary Magdalene and another Mary, the mother of Joses) who had come from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how the body was laid in it.  They also saw Joseph rolling a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb. Then he went away. (Matthew 27:60) Then the women went home and prepared spices and perfumes with which to embalm Jesus’ body. But they rested on the Sabbath (which begins at the sundown of Friday and ends at the sundown of Saturday) in obedience to the commandment. 

Then Sunday, which is the first day of the week, came. What did they do? Look at verse 1. “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.”

But, surprisingly, they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, so they thanked God for the miracle, and went straight in to look for Jesus’ body. However, when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. They looked at each other and said, “What happened? Where is Jesus’ body?” While they were wondering about this, two men suddenly appeared in clothes that gleamed like lightning and stood beside them. In their fright, the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

In the remainder of the Bible passage of Luke 24, the Apostle Luke introduces further evidences that indeed Jesus has risen. The first evidence is what Jesus had said before his sufferings and death. On a number of occasions Jesus said that he would suffer and die, only to rise on the third day. The women ran to the eleven disciples and told them about the news of Jesus’ resurrection. On hearing the news, Simon Peter ran to the tomb and saw that it was empty. The next is Jesus’ appearance to the two disciples who went down the road stretched from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus which was located about 8 miles away. During this journey, Jesus walked along the road, conversed with them, and gave Bible studies covering the entire Scriptures. Jesus’ Bible studies moved their hearts. They were so grateful that they urged Jesus to spend the night with them in the village. Jesus complied. While seated around the eating table, Jesus served them. He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then they recognized Jesus. Jesus then disappeared from their sight. The next proof is their changed life. While they were coming down from Jerusalem, they were dejected. But after meeting the Risen Jesus, they suddenly became like a phantom jet. They flew back to the Eleven disciples in Jerusalem and testified about the Risen Jesus. 

The truly glorious evidence was yet to come, that is, the Risen Jesus appearing to his disciples in person, showing his risen body and giving them a sharp rebuke saying, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Then Jesus asked them, “Do you have anything to eat here?” They gave Jesus a piece of broiled fish. Jesus took it and ate it in their presence. “Ummmn, it is yummy.” Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. In Jewish society, as in any society, one of the ways to open someone’s mind is to invite him or her to an eating fellowship with you. As you do this, even between total strangers, you get to open your mind to them, and their minds to you. In America, although we live closely next to one another, it is not easy for us to open our minds to our neighbors. But inviting your neighbor to an eating fellowship breaks down the mental barriers. About five years ago a brother moved to Downey. He settled down on De Palma St. Then the neighbor across the street named Russ (who was a little over 70 years old) grabbed him and struck up a conversation with him. Since then the two came to know each other, and each time they saw each other they waved their hands—and that was about it. But about several months since Mr. Russ was no longer visible. The brother was curious about it, so he asked Mr. Russ’s wife, “What happened to him?” She said, “He is no more.” He felt sorry. So a couple of months ago he invited this lady to his house and had an eating fellowship together. She felt sort of lonely, so she was so glad for the invitation. While seated around the eating table, she (her name is Beverly) talked and talked. She shared all of her life story. Then several weeks ago, Mrs. Beverly bought two beautiful gifts, one toy (which is a black dog that barks and wags its tale as you push buttons) for his granddaughter Christyn, and another toy (a bunny) for his second granddaughter Marie. In this way she opened her mind widely. In the same way, through the eating fellowship with the disciples, the Risen Jesus opened their minds widely so that they could understand the Scriptures which all talk about Jesus the Savior of the world. With this in mind, let us all rise and read Luke 24:46: “He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day…’” 

He is not here. He has risen!  

One may ask, “Okay, I can understand that Jesus rose again. But what does that mean to me?” The Bible abounds with passages that answer the question, but one verse I would like to mention is 1 John 3:2, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [Other Scriptures you may wish to read are: Ezekiel 37:12-13; Matthew 27:51-53; Isaiah 26:19; Colossians 2:15; Exodus 25:40; Leviticus 23:17; 1Co 15:22.] The risen Jesus constitutes the substance of the vision we have in the Lord.  The Risen Jesus is our specimen, the model, the sample, if you will, for all of us to envision to be fulfilled in our lives. 

The risen Jesus as seen in Luke 24 is still plain enough that ordinary people could easily pass him by as a regular Jew, because Jesus was yet to ascend to Heaven and enter his original glory. When he entered his glory, his glory was astonishingly awesome. Yet, although his risen body was as plain as it was prior to his ascension, it still came with fabulous features: he maintained his identity; he had ability to eat food; he was able to pass through solid walls; and he was free from gravity, so he could ascend into heaven with zero amount of hindrance coming from any physical or spiritual forces. In short, his body was made perfect. He is literally indestructible. It is free from any defect; the only defects, if you can call them defects, are the scar marks on his body—and we do not call them defects, for they are signs of his unfathomably great love for all us sinners. 

Part II, Power from on high

How then does God want us to participate in this plan of glory? 

First, repentance and forgiveness of sins

Look at verses 46-47. “He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” 

This passage sets forth the way of salvation for all who believe in Jesus. In understanding the way of salvation, James Kenney, a pastor at Coral Presbyterian Church at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, developed a program called Evangelism Explosion. Most likely, based on this program a Jewish Christian based in Glendale, Los Angeles (I forgot his name, for I am still looking for the email sent by him), developed an Evangelism Explosion tract. [He gave me permission to use his tract provided that proper credit is given to him. I then asked Shepherd William to develop a nice tract with better designs. As soon as he is done, I would like to take a look at it and make it available for everyone.] In the tract he explains the way of salvation (the way to have eternal life, or the way to participate in God’s plan of glory, if you will) with five simple points: No. 1 – salvation is a free gift from God (Romans 6:23b); No. 2 – Man is a sinner [sin is transgressing God’s law, such as lying, cheating, lust, anger, deceit, evil thoughts, immoral behavior, etc., and because of this man cannot save himself; No. 3 – God is merciful, and therefore does not want to punish us. But God is just and therefore must punish sin. We have a problem: we all have sinned. The penalty for sin is death. We need forgiveness so that we can have a right relationship with God. God solved this problem for us in the person of Jesus, the Christ; No. 4 – Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on a tree, and thereby solved the problem mentioned above; and No. 5 – faith in Jesus Christ. 

The tract distinguishes life saving faith from intellectual ascent (which is to believe certain historical facts. The Bible says the devil believes in God, so believing in God is not saving faith.), or mere temporary faith (that is, trusting God for temporary crisis such as financial, family, or physical needs). Saving faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone and what he has done rather than what you or I have done for you to get to heaven. The tract then says, “You need to transfer your trust from what you have been doing to what Christ has done for you on the cross.” It means you need to “receive the resurrected, living Christ into your life as the Savior.” It means further that you RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST INTO YOUR LIFE AS LORD. He comes as Master and King. There is a throne room in our heart, and that throne is rightly His. He made you. He bought you and He wants to take His rightful place on the throne of your life. It means, finally, that you REPENT OF YOUR SINS. That means that you are willing to turn from anything you have been doing that is not pleasing to Him and to follow Him as He reveals His will to you in His Word. Then he came up with a suggested prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, I know I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to purchase a place in heaven for me. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control of my life; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now place my trust in you for my salvation. I accept the free gift of eternal life." 

Second, witnessing

At the last Fall 2006 [Summer] Conference, Shepherd Jason delivered a message entitled, “How Can I?” There he explained to us the need for Bible teachers. He stressed that without someone explaining the knowledge of salvation, it is impossible for sinners to be saved. For the same reason, Jesus commanded his disciples to live as his witnesses. 

Let us all stand and read verse 48. “You are witnesses of these things.” God knows that on our own we cannot be good witnesses of Jesus’ way of salvation. So in verse 49, Jesus said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Two words: He has risen; you are witnesses of these things.