Devotional Word for Thursday, May 28, 2020
Wouldn’t you like to know what it was that Jesus taught His followers between the Resurrection and His Ascension? We will never know for certain because we weren’t there. The records we have for those occasions when Jesus did meet with His followers aren’t particularly specific – with the exception of Jesus’ conversation with Peter recorded in John 21. I do think, however, there are strong clues to inform our wondering. Let me give you some examples.
Luke 24:44-45 presents a compelling picture of what Jesus did during those 40 days between His Resurrection and His Ascension. Jesus said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
This is a significant teaching for us. The disciples certainly knew the Scriptures, and knew them well. They were observant Jews. But one can be steeped in the Scriptures, know what they say, and still not “know” the Scriptures. I’m reminded of the Sadducees who tried to trick Jesus with the account of the woman who had had seven husbands and they wanted to know to which one would she be a wife in the resurrection. Jesus discerningly and piercingly replied: “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” [Matt. 22:29] There are lots of folk in a similar situation.
The disciples made one decision between the Ascension and Pentecost. I believe it is an example of the transformation effected in them. It was occasioned by the death of Judas Iscariot. It’s recorded in Acts 1:16-17, Peter said, “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry. Peter goes on to quote from Psalm 69 and Psalm 109. They had come to understand that Scripture holds the key to life and to understanding life.
When the Holy Spirit is poured out on the Day of Pentecost, Peter stands up to explain it and he says this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel. [Acts 2:16] Peter has learned to interpret life through the lens of Scripture. He explains to the wondering crowd how and why Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected by quoting from Psalm 16. He ends his Pentecost sermon by explaining the Ascension of Jesus using the words of Psalm 110.
He is following the pattern of Jesus. Often Jesus explains matters by saying it must be so, for so it is written. For example, when telling the disciples on Maundy Thursday that He will be killed and they will abandon Him, He says, You will all fall away, because it is written, and then quotes from Zechariah 13:7. [Mark 14:27]
We can learn from the disciples. We want to be a People of the Book. We want to know and understand the Bible. We need to read it faithfully. All of it, not just our favorite passages. We need to pray and ask Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand the Scriptures. He will hear us. He will help us. It is a glorious, lifelong process.
If you’d like to read through the entire NT during June, July, and August let us know. We’ll connect you with or send you a Bible reading plan. It’s aggressive, but it’s doable.
Let’s pray: Lord Jesus, we thank You that You are the Living Word of God. All the books in the world could not contain all of what You said and did. But we thank You for giving us the Bible. It has all we need for a life of faithful understanding and fruitful application. Holy Spirit, we ask You to teach us and guide us into all truth. We want to be people of the Word. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.