The Preparation for a Christian Witness
Luke 24:33-48 click here for audio
At the end of Luke’s gospel is given the GREAT COMMISSION. This is the mandate for all believers in Christ to proclaim the good news of forgiveness; the good news of salvation; the good news of eternal life. The mission of the church is to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth by preaching the gospel in calling all people to repent and believe in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. God calls His people to be witnesses. In v.48 “You are witnesses of these things.”
To be a powerful witness a person must be convinced of that which they give witness. There must be overwhelming proof to back up their testimony. And that’s what we have in the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In great detail with undeniable facts we have incredible evidence for the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without convincing proofs of the resurrection of Christ, there would be no testimony. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, there would be no gospel, no good news, and there would be no church. Christianity would collapse if the resurrection of Jesus was proven to be false. Satan and all his messengers have tried to do this, but all attempts have been in vain.
The Lord Jesus showed himself alive to his apostles and to other disciples with such convincing proof that it literally transformed their lives and made them powerful witnesses for Christ.
In our last study…we recall how two disciples, one named Cleopas, and the other one unnamed…were walking from Jerusalem on their way home to Emmaus… REVIEW (see vv.13-32)
READ vv. 33-48
The last verse v.48 Jesus says “You are witnesses of these things”
Jesus will soon leave them, and He wants to sufficiently prepare them to be His witnesses. I’ve entitled the message The Preparation for a Christian Witness
There are 3
The Preparation for a Christian Witness
- The Unchanging Testimony vv.33-35
- The Unmistakable Presence vv.36-43
- The Unfailing Scriptures vv. 44-49
- The Unchanging Testimony vv. 33-35
Sometimes you hear of people who are about to be put under oath – change their testimony. Their stories change, and they become an unreliable witness.
That was NOT the case with the believers who witnessed the Risen Savior.
The two from Emmaus had a burning testimony as to what they had experienced. They could not wait to give that testimony to those who really needed to hear it.
- Burning hearts – v.33 “rose that same hour” did not wait til morning; did not even wait to complete their supper… they had said to one another “did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
They Both had a testimony – We know one of their names “Cleopas”; One didn’t say…you know…why don’t you go on, I think I’ll stay behind… it’s late and I’m not up to traveling back seven miles…. NO their commitment was the same; their zeal was the same; … both had the same experience; both had the same story to share with others… they were NOT changing their stories…
Their UNCHANGING TESTIMONY was a burning testimony…. While the news was fresh upon their minds and hearts, it had to be told NOW. It couldn’t wait.
- Common Testimony – v.33b-35
They make it back to Jerusalem and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together;
ELEVEN – speaks of the Apostles; they were called the twelve, but Judas is out of the picture…and later they will select another apostle and in ACTS the term “the twelve” will be used. It doesn’t mean all ELEVEN were there because we know that Thomas is not there according to John 20.
OTHERS – “those who were gathered with them” the other believers, or disciples along with the women are “gathered together”; the main reason why they were “gathered together” is not for a social visit… John 20 tells us they were behind locked doors because of fear of the Jews. They were afraid the Jews would come and have them arrested and possibly killed. These disciples and apostles were processing in their minds all this about what others have said about seeing the Risen Lord.
These two from Emmaus, Cleopas and the unnamed person, could not wait to tell what they had seen. They had already been to Jerusalem and had heard the women speak of seeing Jesus alive. They along with the other men did not believe their story. So, they had to quickly tell the Apostles and the other men that the women’s story was true because they had the same story to tell. They had a common testimony of that which the women had told. THEY HAVE SEEN THE LORD!
V.34 As soon as they got to the house, and was about to tell them….they were greeted quickly with this— see v.34 “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon” Some time while these two from Emmaus were gone, the believers in Jerusalem must have had a visit from Peter who gave this testimony that Jesus had appeared to him. That post resurrection appearance of Jesus with Peter is not given in the gospels, but we do know Paul makes mention in 1Cor 15:5 that Jesus had appeared to Cephas, or we know him best as Simon Peter.
What did Peter say? He had the same unchanging testimony of the women. Maybe, Peter also, apologized to the women, ‘I’m sorry ladies for not believing you.” I, too, have seen the Lord.
v.35 The two from Emmaus, Cleopas and the unnamed disciple, they proceeded to tell them what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (retell it…maybe how they might have told it….)
The two might have said: You know what? Our testimony – is the same as the women who said “We’ve seen the Lord! He’s alive!”
Our testimony – is the same as Peter who said “I’ve seen the Lord! He’s alive!”
We have the same UNCHANGING TESTIMONY – “We’ve seen the Lord! He’s Alive!”
The Unchanging Testimony of the Lord’s Resurrection – is the testimony of all who have been born again. By faith we have a living hope… through the eyes of faith, we know and have experienced the Risen Christ for ourselves…
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To be a Christian Witness we must be born again; we must come to believe this unchanging testimony of Jesus…his death, burial and resurrection. It our testimony as well. We believe according to Romans 10:9
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Now, we move on to the next preparation to being a Witness for Christ…and that is to experience His unmistakable presence.
- The Unmistakable Presence vv. 36-43
v.36 (read it) This is Jesus…the same Jesus who they had known for 3 years; The same Jesus who was arrested; beaten; crucified; buried…. This is Jesus..He’s alive…
It’s Unmistakable….Jesus reveals himself by appealing to their
- Hearing He speaks. What did he say? “Peace to you” “Peace be with you” (John 20) If Jesus was a ghost…he might have said “Boo!” He’s no ghost; He’s no phantom! He’s not a hallucination! He’s for real. He’s not there to scare them, but to assure them, to convince them of His UNMISTAKABLE RESURRECTION…HE’S ALIVE…
V.37 THEY WERE STARTLED….they thought …saw a spirit…
I don’t think Jesus had the appearance of shining glory; or a ghostly appearance; I think Jesus looked like everyone else. Remember when the two on the road to Emmaus…they thought he was a visitor to Jerusalem…there was nothing about Jesus to give the appearance of something angelic; no halo hovering above his head as you have seen in some pictures; Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was the gardener at first.
Why were they startled, frightened thinking they had seen a spirit? Because 1 second Jesus is not there; and then another second and He is there. HOW DID HE GET THERE? The doors are locked. That’s why they were scared. How would you react if all of a sudden someone appeared sitting on this front row? I would make an exit right through that door.
Jesus appealed through the sense of hearing… he spoke to them…they heard him.
And he asked…
v.38 why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
- Faith “why do doubts arise….” They could hear him, but they were having problems believing him. This might be a time to bring up Thomas…because he was not there at this first appearance. The disciples will tell Thomas about seeing Jesus, and he said according John 20:25 “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus appealed to their sense of HEARING; their sense of FAITH…
- SIGHT – v.39 “see my hands and my feet, that it is I myself”
Look at my hands. Why is that? The place where they pierced his palms or wrist with the nails when he was nailed to the cross. SEE my feet. Look at the scars where the nails were driven through my feet.
IT IS I MYSELF— in Greek – I exist, or I AM – John’s gospel – I am the Resurrection and the Life; I am the Door; I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
- TOUCH – v.39 “touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side
v.40 (read it)
They see and they touch…just like Thomas… who had to touch his side… touch the nail print hands and feet….see the scar in his side…where the Roman soldier had pierced him
v.41 (read it) too good to be true!
Have you anything here to eat?
- Taste – vv. 41-43
How can a supernatural, glorified body of the Lord Jesus partake of earthly food such as a broiled fish? The glorified body of Christ can adapt to any kind of situation. For example in Genesis 18 the Lord appeared to Abraham and Abraham had a meal fixed up…the Lord ate bread, some beef and drunk some milk.
Jesus took the broiled fish and ate it before them. What better proof can you have than that? And that says something about our glorified body. It will be able to adapt to the millennial kingdom here on earth. We will be able to eat a broil fish if that’s what the Lord desires for us. Jesus could. A broiled fish is not my favorite, maybe some chicken tenders, or a rib-eye, maybe… I don’t know, but I know for certain will be just like the Lord’s glorious body. Here Philippians 3:20…
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
He is the BREAD of Life…He is the Water of Life..
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
WE ARE HIS WITNESSES because WE HAVE COME TO
Hear and believe His message
We have come to SEE our need for Christ; we have come to SEE Christ the Lord who is as stated in the Song of Solomon 5:16 as altogether Lovely.
We have Touched and tasted the goodness of God’s grace
Now the last part —
To be His witness we must come to grips with the…..
III. The Unfailing Scriptures vv. 44-48
- The Incarnate Word – v.44 Jesus reminds them of all His words that He had spoken to them concerning himself. Not a word from His lips has failed.
Jesus is the Word of God- John 1 In the beginning was the Word…
All the scriptures – law of Moses prophets psalms – speak of Christ
- The Revealed Word – v.45 (stay in Jerusalem…clothed with power..Holy Spirit is the Teacher… show us the things of Christ…in His Word…)
- A. Ironside told of a godly man named Andrew Frazer, who had come to southern California to recover from a serious illness. Though this Irishman was quite weak, he opened his worn Bible and began expounding the truths of God’s Word in a way that Ironside had never heard before. So moved by Frazer’s words was Ironside, that his curiosity drove him to ask, “Where did you learn these things? Did you learn them in some college or seminary?” The sickly man said, “My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland. There, with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world.” – See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/gods-unfailing-word#sthash.ejPerLQX.dpuf
- The Written Word – v.46
6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
- The Preached Word – vv.47-48
Paul told Timothy “preach the Word”
Not our opinions; not our favorite topic; but the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Preach the gospel. As Paul don’t be ashamed of the gospel…power of God unto salvation for all that believe.
Preach forgiveness of sins found only in Christ