36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 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.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 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.”
50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
This passage picks up right where yesterday’s left off and continues one of the themes. As He did for the Emmaus road disciples, Jesus does for the rest, conducting a Bible Study and teaching them what the Scriptures said concerning him. What struck me today is that what Jesus is talking about, what the Scriptures point to, goes beyond His life and even His resurrection, and into our lives today.
What I mean is this: Jesus’ intent is to explain that everything written about him in Scripture (Law, Prophets, Psalms – their way of referring to what we call the Old Testament) must be fulfilled. So what happened to him – his crucifixion and resurrection – was in fulfillment of what had been written. But in verse 47, He includes the spread of the Gospel to all the world as something that must be fulfilled as well. This is not a “Great Commission” command as the Lord gives at the end of Matthew (28:19-20), but a description of what the disciples would do and how it is just as much in fulfillment of Scripture as the crucifixion and resurrection.
In other words, when we participate in the mission of God, when we work to spread the gospel, when we witness by word and deed, when we support outreach whether in our community or around the world – we are doing what Jesus is talking about here, and that activity is as much a fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture as the cross and empty tomb.
So this is what struck me: My work for the mission of God, my witnessing is continuing this story. The Gospel of Luke ends with this passage, but the good news of Jesus continues in my life. So my prayer is one of thankfulness that in His grace God has included me as a participant in the fulfillment of Scripture and the spread of the Kingdom. And I also pray that today I may be the witness He has called me to be in whatever opportunities I have.