Then He said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about Me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.” He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in His name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses.”
When it comes to church life, it’s very important for all of us to understand the important role we are to play in God’s bigger story.
Jesus makes it very clear here what that role is. We are to be witnesses to His resurrection. Nothing more. Nothing less.
This role as witnesses is vital to the larger story God is telling the world. It’s an important role we’ve been cast in and, as we’ve said earlier in this blog, there are no small parts in this magnificent play. Only small actors!
And as actors, on stage performing Act III of God’s great redemption story, we must be very careful to not lose track of our assignment. We can’t go off on tangents or rabbit trails that will, quite honestly, distract all of us in the auditorium from the task at hand.
Any confusion on our part as Jesus’ witnesses in God’s bigger story might also bring a fog of confusion to our audience. Quite honestly, there’s nothing worse than having an actor on the stage who doesn’t know their lines or wanders aimlessly around the floor while the rest of the cast is doing their best to tell a story.
So it is with us believers in Jesus.
As I see it, Jesus’ ‘commission’ we find at the end of each of the four Gospels contains a warning for His friends and fellow actors on the stage. If we fail to receive and respond to Jesus’ words in this commission, we put at risk the vital role we, the church, is to play in God’s bigger story.
The script, you see, has already been written. The writings of what we call the Old Testament are very clear. These holy words set up the story so well. They proclaim the truth that God knows, from the very beginning, where the story is going and how the story will end. Act I has long been established. God’s story has now begun.
The script for Act II is found in what we call the New Testament. Our readings in Luke’s second literary contribution to God’s advancing Kingdom (The Book of Acts) is a prime example on how to live our lives on this stage we call the world. Now that Jesus has come, the pastoral letters of Paul and the revelatory writings of other first-century authors help us fill in a lot of the blanks as the curtain goes up for Act III.
And now, the final act has begun. For two thousand years now Act III of God’s holy trilogy has been lived out. Each generation has been given the unique God-assignment of being witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. A commission that Jesus spells out so clearly here to His first-century followers.
So that leaves us with a few burning questions.
Will we choose to play the part in this story that has been assigned to us? Will we show up on stage? Will we say our lines with meaning? Will we live the part with passion?
Or will we choose to ignore the playwright and director, playing a role not assigned to us? Will we sleep through much of the play and miss our cues? Will we try to be creative and add our own good ideas to the script? Will we go on stage unprepared, only to embarrass ourselves and our fellow actors?
Those are some of the tough questions we players face as we come closer to the end of Act III.
My prayer: Jesus, Your holy commission is fairly simple in nature. As we experience You, the risen Christ, and the power and presence of God’s in-breaking Kingdom, our part on the stage of life is to simply be a witness to that experience. We are not called to create anything for You, just bear witness to what we’ve seen and heard. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How am I guilty of adding to or subtracting from the simple commission given by Jesus to His followers? How do I need to re-align my life so that my role on stage is to simply bear testimony of what God has done in my life, giving an eye-witness account to Jesus of Nazareth and all He has done, is doing, and will do in my life?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are journeying through this Lenten Adventure?
Thank you for joining me for our 48-day Lenten Journey, as we took a deeper look at the stories surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus (especially the last week known as Holy Week) as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. If you’d like to have future access to the entire series, we suggest you bookmark our Our Lenten Journey home page for ease of use.
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