Thursday, May 1, 2014
Famous last words
At least one reader regularly does this for fun… but for the rest of us it’s a big “how do I…” and “what if…” test of boldness, and faith that what you’re told to do, will work
THE DISCIPLES had food for thought in these early days of the resurrection. The fact that the Master was alive and had appeared to them a number of times was enough to process. And he had reminded them again that everything that had happened, had been spoken of in the past. It happened because it was ordained for it to happen: terrible death, glorious resurrection and now, most scary of all, the responsibility for continuing to walk in this salvation life and share it with others. They were Jews. They knew the Scriptures – a lot of Scriptures. And Jesus had said to them:
“This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem… Come… let us walk in the light of the Lord.
However, it was not just about this new revelation to God’s own people in Jerusalem. It was a call to proclaim this “to all nations”. This was the reality of the “light to lighten the Gentiles” – a controversial and difficult line of thought for a Jew under Roman rule, even if Isaiah had plainly prophesied it in Isaiah 42:6 and as below:
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.
So the big question for them is: what does this look like? With Jesus’ words “I am sending you…” still banging in their heads like a boiling pan banging its lid, they were both looking back to see where this was anchored, and also looking forward, hanging on to everything Jesus was now saying, to see what it might mean for them. They were like a bunch of people in a prop aircraft gaining height for their first parachute drop, desperately trying to work out what falling through the air would be like, and whether the ‘chute would open.
This is where we look closely at the last words that Jesus spoke before His ascension. Most people who have experienced the death or a parent or loved one will remember – and repeat – the very last things they said. These last words have a weight, a special significance. So it was with Jesus. Everything he said had weight and significance, but none more so than that final week after the “Hosanna!” entry into Jerusalem, and His words before the Ascension.
We’ll look at some particular ‘final words’ of Jesus tomorrow