Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 20, 2014

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THE THIRD DAY
(The resurrected JESUS restores those who believe)
(Luke 24:1-12, 36-53 & Hosea 6:1-3)

Unlike the other three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke’s account of the resurrection of JESUS is related to us in the light of Old Testament teachings about the MESSIAH, and, in JESUS’ OWN view of HIS mission. Also unique to Luke’s Gospel is the fact that he ends it, not with the resurrection of JESUS, but rather, he closes out his account with JESUS’ ascension back into Heaven.
William Barclay once wrote, “There is a tendency to think of Christianity and CHRIST merely in terms of something to be studied; beyond doubt study is necessary, but JESUS is not only someone to be studied; HE is also someone to be met and lived with everyday. HE is not only a figure in a book, even if that book be the greatest in the world; HE is also, a living presence”.
The Jews observe Saturday as the Sabbath because it is the last day of the week, and the day that GOD rested from all of HIS labors in creating everything in Heaven and the earth (Genesis 1). Christians observe Sunday because it is the first day of the week, and the day that Scripture says that it was discovered that CHRIST had been raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-2).
At the very heart of Christianity we find the resurrection of CHRIST. If you remove this concept from it, Christianity becomes null and void. The fact of the resurrection of CHRIST JESUS affirms to all Christians that HE is truly the SON of the living GOD. It also proves that JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha was accepted by GOD on behalf of all those who believe, then and now.
We must preach this resurrection account often because men always, before very long, begin to suppress the truth of GOD’s Word. We must often be prompted to remember (Vs. 1-8), trust (Vs.36-40), understand (Vs.44-46), and then, we must follow through (Vs.47-53). That is exactly the message conveyed by Luke, here in this final chapter of his Gospel account.
In verses 36-49 we can read about how JESUS came to HIS disciples when they were all gathered in the upper room, in the mist of all the excitement of the final night of the Passover celebrations in Jerusalem. Here in this passage we see several things being stressed, or put to note, concerning the coming Christian Faith;

·         First of all we see being stressed, “The reality of the Resurrection” (Vs.36-43) – Here JESUS invites HIS bewildered followers to touch HIM to re-assure their own minds that He was real, and not a ghost. HE also ate food, while they all sat and watched, which, is something that an apparition wouldn’t, nor could not do.
·         Then we see “The necessity of the Cross” (Vs.44-46) - Here JESUS stresses the importance of the fulfillment of Scriptures, and HE opens up the minds of HIS disciples to understand all Scripture that pertained directly to HIM, that had been written by Moses and the prophets. JESUS tells them that, HE must suffer unto death, and rise from the dead on the third day.
·         Then JESUS stresses “The urgency of the task” (Vs.47-48) – Here HE tells HIS disciples that “with HIS authority, take this message of repentance to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem: “There is forgiveness of sin, for all who turn to ME. And you are witnesses to all these things”.
·         And finally, JESUS gives them “The secret of the power” (v.49) – Which is the HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM JESUS would send, as promised by GOD the FATHER. They were to wait in Jerusalem until the HOLY SPIRIT came and filled them with power.

In this final chapter of Luke, we are reminded of the words of the Old Testament prophet Hosea, in his call for repentance (Hosea 6:1-3), where he proclaims, “Come, let us return to the LORD! HE has torn us in pieces; now HE will heal us. HE has injured us; now HE will bandage our wounds. In just a short time, HE will restore us so we can live in HIS presence. Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know HIM!” (NLT)
In Luke 24, verses 50-53 we see a vivid description of the “Ascension of CHRIST JESUS, and the happy ending to HIS earthly ministry. Here JESUS leads HIS disciples to Bethany, where HE blessed them before being taken up into Heaven. There they worshipped JESUS for a while before returning to Jerusalem, where they abided in the temple praising GOD.
The Ascension of JESUS will always remain a mystery because it attempts to put into words, that which is unexplainable, and to describe that which is indescribable. It is when the JESUS of earth suddenly became the CHRIST WHO art in Heaven. Upon HIS return to Heaven JESUS left us one charge, and one charge only, and that is, to make disciples of men and women all over the world. And so we see Luke’s Gospel account ending exactly where it began, in the most important place on earth, “the House of GOD”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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