The disciples are still struggling with the Resurrection. You’d think they’d have accustomed themselves to Jesus being alive, but they were obviously still struggling. As part of this last appearance, Jesus explained the Scriptures and His place in them. This is not the first time he did this after the Resurrection.
This time, though, it comes with a command, to preach the Resurrection and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sin. This mission doesn’t start immediately. It has to wait until the heavenly power comes (the Holy Spirit at Pentecost).
Waiting in Jerusalem, however, does not mean being inactive. Peter’s healing of the lame man (Acts 3:1-10) opened the door (so to speak) to begin the mission. Peter tells his listeners what it is all about, “But this is how God fulfilled what he foretold through all the prophets: that his Christ would suffer. Change your hearts and lives! Turn back to God so that your sins may be wiped away.” (Acts 3:18-19, CEB)Much later, John wrote that we have hope in Jesus as we (progressively) purify ourselves (so as to become more Christ-like). This reflects the changing of hearts that Jesus and Peter made known.
Jesus’ and Peter’s declarations could also be restated as it is in Matthew 28:19–20, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you…” [CEB]While the passage in Matthew could be interpreted as only applying to the disciples, the passage from Luke cannot be (without serious contortions). The changed heart is also consistent across the Scriptures.
We are all called to tell the world about Jesus, sin, redemption, and the place of changed hearts in all of that. In the current culture, we are having to learn how to do this well. Sadly, we are in the midst of getting rid of the baggage that we’ve been carrying, and that is painfully difficult. So much so, that most of us no longer have effective tools or methods to reach (and “preach to”) others.
In all likelihood, the Western Church will have to relearn how to live in a true and deep community. We have all become accustomed to the shallow community of the Western Church, not the Christian fellowship as described in the Scriptures.
This does not excuse any of us from looking for opportunities to talk about the grace of Jesus Christ and the change in our hearts. Perhaps, rather than excuse it, it should drive us more.
- Are you doing anything that resembles telling the world about Jesus in the way Jesus talks about in Luke?
- If you are, it going?
- If you aren’t, why not?
- In regard to telling the world, is it your responsibility or someone else’?
Almighty God, you gave your only Son to be for us both a sacrifice for sin and an example of godly living: Give us grace thankfully to receive his inestimable benefits, and daily to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [Third Sunday of Easter Collect, Book of Common Prayer 2019]