Commissioned to be witnesses to the victory!

Today’s readings are from Joshua 20-21Luke 24:36-53.

While may of us would be familiar with the great commission at the end of Matthew’s gospel there is a similarly interesting finale to Luke’s gospel with a commission of sorts (I’m sure it’s still great for all involved)

It was the day of resurrection and many of the disciples had gathered in Jerusalem to discuss the reports that Jesus had risen from the dead. “As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 

During this appearance, Jesus explains from the scriptures the meaning of his death and resurrection. He then commissions his disciples to be “witnesses” (now to all nations and in the power of the Holy Spirit), he blesses them and then disappears.

It seems Jesus appears to his disciples in this  way to remove doubt: It is a group appearance, he shows them his wounds, even asking them whether they want to touch him, and then he joins the disciples in a meal.

Obviously, the psychological state of the disciple is by no means settled and so they are filled with doubts – “they still disbelieved for joy“, in verse 41. But it seems the purpose of this appearance is not just to dispel their doubts, but rather to commission them to ministry.  To undertake this mission the disciples will be empowered by the Holy Spirit and to this end Jesus ascends to divine glory and power.

We can draw great comfort and hope from the power of the Holy Spirit with us. We can rest in the reality that Jesus showed himself to the group and joins them for a meal. As was written in a recent post by Peter Clark – “In the New Testament we see Jesus, the Son of God as being “our Joshua”. Jesus has defeated every spiritual enemy, by His death on the cross (Luke 23:44-49) and now He reigns in heaven (See Ephesians 1:15-23 and Colossians 2:9-15).”

Now, because of everything that Christ has done, we can “live and rule like kings” (Romans 5:17)

There is the victory!!