44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:44–48 (ESV)
The title for today’s blog is The Witness of Scripture. Among other definitions, a witness is one who pledges to tell the truth about a particular subject. Truth is that which reflects reality.
The biblical text today is taken from Luke 24:44-48. This is the gospel writer’s account of Jesus’ Great Commission to his disciples when He appeared to them following the testimony of His appearance to the two Emmaus Disciples (Luke 24:13-35). This would chronologically be the first of three commissions by Jesus recorded in the New Testament (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:1-8).
Jesus instructed His disciples then, and disciples today, that His eternality, incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection and eternal reign was not just spoken by Himself but also revealed by Scripture. Within the immediate context of Luke 24, Scripture, or the Old Testament, refers to the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. This is the three-fold division of the OT Hebrew Bible.
Today’s text says that Jesus opened (διανοίγω; dianoigo) diagnosed, or explained to His disciples so they could understand His death on the cross followed by His bodily resurrection. It was through this work by the Lord that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. It is to this gospel, or good news, that disciples in Christ continue to be witnesses of even to this day and age.
Dr. John Walvorrd, former President of Dallas Theological Seminary, writes, “Jesus showed His followers all the facts written … in the Old Testament about the Messiah. The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms are the three divisions of the Old Testament sometimes referred to in Jesus’ day. (More often, however, Moses and the Prophets were said to comprise the OT; e.g., v. 27.) In other words He showed them from different parts of the Old Testament (e.g., Deut. 18:15; Pss. 2:7; 16:10; 22:14–18; Isa. 53; 61:1) that He is the Messiah and that He must suffer and rise from the dead (Luke 24:46; cf. v. 26). Because of His death and resurrection, the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins could be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem for they were witnesses of His death and His rising from the dead.”
It is our goal during this 2021 Advent Season to particularly examine what the Psalms record about the person and work of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. When next we meet, we will begin studying Psalm 2. I encourage you to read this psalm which Acts 4:25-26 attributes to King David, attesting to the interpretive principle that Scripture interprets Scripture.
Soli deo Gloria!