Passover and Resurrection (2): Receiving Christ in Scripture
Passover and Resurrection (2): Receiving Christ in the Word
Luke 24:45–47 NRSV - Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 24:46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
This Eastertide series is about how Christ’s resurrection fulfills the Old Covenant hopes and promises. Christ is our Passover who has been sacrificed for us and who was raised for our us. Because of this we can celebrate the feast. The mission Christ has for us is the transformation of the world by “repentance and forgiveness,” beginning in our own hearts and families. But before accomplishing this . . . .
We must receive the Risen Christ by the Spirit before engaging in our mission. Jesus needed to reveal Himself by the Spirit and they needed to “receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22). Jesus “opens” (dianoigo) their eyes at the Table (v31); their hearts burned as He “explained” (dianoigo) the Scriptures (v32) and finally (here) their minds were “opened” (dianoigo) in His resurrected presence (v45). This is the direct work of the Spirit, such as when the Lord “opened” Lydia’s heart (Acts 16:14). Unless we “see” Jesus as He is (risen and reigning) through the work of the Spirit, we cannot accomplish His mission in our lives. This is a prerequisite to doing His will. When others have not yet “received” Jesus, we should pray and be patient. If you are frustrated with a child for not being more spiritually-minded, do you pray or do you just worry? Jesus Himself had been teaching them (v44), but God had His own timing even with the apostles. So we must be patient, not frustrated, with others who are not yet enlightened with a full acceptance of the Risen Christ and His mission for us.
We must receive the Risen Christ in the Scriptures before executing our mission. The work of the Spirit to reveal Christ is not independent from the Bible. The Word is the necessary body of revelation to ground our receiving of Christ. His Spirit’s work was to “open” their minds to understand the Scriptures. To be prepared to do His mission we must know, “Thus it is written” (v46): a) Jesus fulfills the OT, b) He is Messiah (King-Redeemer), c) Redemption is through His cross and resurrection, and d) The mission of transformation through repentance and forgiveness to all nations empowered by the Spirit (v49). The Scripture teaches us the whole counsel of God in Christ, leading to the gospel transformation of the world. We cannot yield on the question of authority. God’s Word recorded in Scripture is the final authority and the means of this revelation. Does your life evidence this belief through your obedience to learning it, believing it and obeying it? If you agree that Christ and His gospel are the content of the Scriptures do you take time to learn the Bible and opening its truth to your family? If you want grace, are you using the means of grace - the Word, prayer and the sacraments.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more