Jesus Prepares for Witnesses
Imagine you are the baby-sitters for three small children whose parents are going away for the weekend. You are at their home, and they are leaving in fifteen minutes. What kinds of things do you think they’ll tell you? What will you need to know to make it a successful, joyful weekend?
In this passage, Jesus isn’t preparing baby-sitters, he’s preparing witnesses. This is his last recorded interaction with his followers in Luke’s gospel. As someone reads Luke 24:36-53, watch and listen for how he prepares them.
1. In the preceding passage, two of Jesus’ followers have been with the resurrected Jesus, heard him explain his mission from the Scriptures, eaten with him and recognized him. In 24:33-35, these two have returned to Jerusalem to tell “the eleven and their companions” what happened. In the middle of their discussion, Jesus appears. Why does he greet them the way he does?
2. What words and phrases communicate the thoughts of Jesus’ followers in verses 37-43? When have you wanted to believe something, but couldn’t believe it at the same time?
3. What are all the things Jesus does to help them believe it is really he, risen from death? How does this strengthen your belief in Jesus?
4. In verses 44-47, what does Jesus want his followers to understand? How does he help them understand? When have you experienced a similar “breakthrough” in Bible study?
5. In verses 48-49, Jesus lets his followers in on their role in the continuing fulfillment of the Scriptures. What will be involved immediately in being witnesses? What do you expect their “job description” to be once they are empowered by the Holy Spirit?
6. Imagine the parting scene in verses 50-51. What would a blessing from Jesus mean to you if you were there?
7. How do Jesus’ followers respond to their last interaction with Jesus (verses 52-53)? Why worship? Why obedience (returning to Jerusalem)? Why joy? How does the joy in verse 52 differ from the joy in verse 41? Describe a time when you’ve felt this way.
8. How did Jesus’ followers change from verses 37-43 to verses 52-53? What was the process? How have you seen Jesus use the same progression to prepare you to be his witness? (Note: The process includes (1) helping you believe Jesus is real; (2) helping you understand the Scriptures concerning him; and (3) helping you respond in worshipful, joyful obedience or action.) What do you need more of in order to take your place joyfully in God’s plan to preach “repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations”?
9. If you didn’t know anything about Luke’s next book, Acts, what would you expect it to contain, based on the end of Luke?
Through the Gospels, we are witnesses to the same things these followers of Jesus saw. Like these followers, we are witnesses to the work he’s done in our lives to bring us to belief, understanding and action. Name one opportunity you’ll have this week to “testify” for Jesus as his witness. What are you hoping to say or explain in order to point someone to him? Close in prayer for each other’s growth as witnesses in belief, understanding or action and for specific opportunities to testify as Jesus’ witnesses.
“Witnesses to Jesus” Bible Studies are available
Many thanks to those who gave their time to the writing and editing of these studies: the InterVarsity® staff authors (mentioned with each study); Kathy Burrows (design); Jeff Yourison (layout editor); and Shelley Soceka and Judy Yourison (proofreaders).—Bob Grahmann, editor
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