Luke- Session 26- The Aim of Discipleship

Scripture: Luke 24:36-53

Subject: Discipleship

Central Theme: Aim of Discipleship

Objective Statement: We can see the aim of Jesus’s discipleship by seeing the characteristics He cultivated in His disciples.

Keyword: Characteristics

  1. Experiential- They were witnesses to His Work. V.36-43, 48
  2. Scriptural- They were witnesses of His Word. V. 44-45
  3. Missional- They were witnesses to His World. V.46-51
  4. Worshipful- They were witnesses to His Worth. V. 52

Resources:

Luke Series- Session 26- Luke 24 36-53

Introduction:

Connection:

  • There is a principle advocated in Steven Covey’s well known book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” that says this: “Begin with the end in mind.”
  • While this is in no sense and advocacy for everything in that book, I believe that idea is a powerful one.
  • In the book, Covey recommends an exercise in leading someone to write a “personal mission statement”. I believe that can be very helpful for people.

Tension:

  • In Jesus Christ we see the ultimate example who lived with an end in mind.
  • Today we will complete our study in the book of Luke. Here we are at the end.
  • Jesus’ ministry started with calling the disciples.
  • Jesus had told them, “Follow me”, the words of a rabbi calling a disciple.
  • Remember that Jesus had told them what He would do with them. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.
  • And over the three years of Jesus ministry, we see that His men were His method.
  • His plan to evangelize the world was being accomplished in the development of the men He would send into it.
  • Jesus used three tools to disciple these guys:
    • He would teach them what they should know.
    • He would let them experience what they should know and do.  Sometimes that experience came by watching him.  Sometimes that experience came by doing.
    • He would then watch them and help them to grow and change.
  • In the garden when Jesus said that He had finished this discipleship work that God had given Him to do.
  • In today’s text we see Jesus at the end of this discipleship process. These guys were ready for the next step.
  • I believe that God has called us to not just be Christians. He has called us to be disciples.
  • He does not just want us to be converts. He wants us to be missionaries.
  • I believe that seeing Jesus’ aim for them will give us insight into His will for us.
  • So let’s look at what He said and did with these disciples here at the end.

We can see the aim of Jesus’s discipleship by seeing the characteristics He cultivated in His disciples.

Characteristic #1- Experiential: They were witnesses to His resurrection. V.36-43, 48

 

Luke 24:36-53

(36)  And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

  • The passage seems to indicate that they had just gotten the news from those on the road to Emmaus.
  • They were sharing that they had seen Jesus, and that He had taught them the Word about Himself.
  • We are not sure how much of that story they got out when, all of a sudden, Jesus appears “in the midst of them”.
  • He says what the angels always seemed to say when they appear to people in the scriptures: “Peace be unto you”.
  • Clearly they were scared. Look at verse 37.

(37)  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

  • They were terrified AND affrighted.
  • As you and I would be as well.
  • Their brains had to process what they were seeing.
  • It says that they “supposed that they had seen a spirit.”
  • We forget how incredible the resurrection of Jesus was.
  • We think about it sometimes as even part of our doctrine.
  • Here it was something totally new that they were experiencing.
  • To the point at which, in their minds, in that moment, it was more plausible to be a ghost than Jesus resurrected.
  • So Jesus responds in verse 38 and 39.

(38)  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

(39)  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

  • Do not be troubled! Why are you worried?  It’s me!
  • He tells them that Spirits do not have bodies- flesh and bones.
  • He tells them to look!

(40)  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

  • Why His hands and His feet?
  • Well, at least at some level, it would have been because His hands and His feet have the wounds.
  • Remember that Thomas said He wouldn’t believe until He could put his hands in Jesus’ wounds.
  • They were still there.
  • Look at their reaction:

(41)  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

  • It says they “yet believed not for joy”.
  • The idea is that they had a hard time believing something they terribly wanted to believe.
  • You’ve heard of news that was too good to be true.
  • It’s as if they are saying, “Is something this incredible even possible?!??!”
  • Every jaw is agape.
  • Every eye is wide. They cannot believe what they are seeing!
  • There is an awe to what they are experiencing.
  • At the end of that verse we see that Jesus asks for food. He wanted them to see His physical nature.

(42)  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

(43)  And he took it, and did eat before them.

  • The disciples experienced seeing the risen Christ in the flesh.
  • Jesus wanted them to know that He had risen.
  • He wanted them to know that He had risen bodily. This wasn’t just a spiritual appearance.  It was a physical resurrection.
  • They were incredibly joyful, to the point of it being difficult to believe because it was so good.
  • They were witnesses of Jesus fulfilling a refutable claim.
  • We will continue to see why He was making this appearance to them in the coming verses. He says it clearly in verse 48.

(48)  And ye are witnesses of these things.

  • These disciples were the witnesses of Jesus’ bodily resurrection.
  • He was alive. They saw Him, spoke to Him touched Him, and knew He was alive.
  • To the point that they were even later willing to die.
  • The religious leaders that were used to help crucify Jesus looked at Peter and John and told them to stop preaching in Jesus name. They replied this way in Acts 4:20:

Acts 4:19-20  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  (20)  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

  • All of the 11, except for John, died a martyrs death. John died a natural death in the midst of persecution on the Isle of Patmos.
  • The claim wasn’t just that Jesus was a good teacher, moral man, incredible philosopher, or good example. Their claim was that they saw Him die and rise again.  Their claim was that He predicted that He would die and rise again.
  • They were a witness to His resurrection. Jesus wanted them to experience that so they could be a witness to it.
  • But that wasn’t the only characteristic that Jesus was cultivating in His disciples.

We can see the aim of Jesus’s discipleship by seeing the characteristics He cultivated in His disciples.

Characteristic #1- Experiential: They were witnesses to His resurrection. V.36-43, 48

Characteristic #2- Scriptural- They were witnesses of His Word. V. 44-45

(44)  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

 

 

  • After Jesus showed them his physical body and let the experience seeing him eat and drink, He pointed to His Word for confirmation of what they experienced.
  • He speaks to two sources of revelation to which they would be a witness.
  • First, He called them to remember the Word He had spoken to them.
    • Jesus had predicted His death, burial, and resurrection.
    • Jesus had even told them the reason for which He would die and rise again.

(21)  And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

(22)  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
Luke 9:21-22

(31)  And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 8:31-33

  • Some of these apostles would be instrumental in writing down Jesus’ prophecy concerning Himself and much more.
  • Secondly, He called them to understand the Word He had written, by the Spirit, in “Moses”, “the Prophet”, and “the psalms”.
    • The term “Moses” here was a reference to the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible written by Moses.
    • The term “the prophets” was a reference to the rest of the Bible not including the last category termed “the Psalms.
    • He was saying that all of the then written revelation of God, the scriptures, pointed to Himself!
  • The Bible is about Jesus!
  • And look at that wonderful phrase about what happened next in verse 45.

(45)  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

  • Talk about an incredible Bible study!
  • Like He had done on the road to Emmaus, Jesus walked through the scriptures and showed Him that the Bible pointed to them.
  • It’s as if they had all of these blanks in their own minds regarding the Old Testament, and once Jesus rose again, all of the blanks begin to be filled in.
  • Can you imagine when he took them to Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22 and they thought, “I saw that come true. I was there!”
  • These disciples were a witness to the resurrected work of God, and to the inspired Word of God.
  • But who were they witnesses to? What was the point?
  • Well we see Jesus cultivating a third characteristic here:

We can see the aim of Jesus’s discipleship by seeing the characteristics He cultivated in His disciples.

Characteristic #1- Experiential: They were witnesses to His resurrection. V.36-43, 48

Characteristic #2- Scriptural- They were witnesses of His Word. V. 44-45

Characteristic #3- Missional- They were witnesses to His World. V.46-49

 

(46)  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

  • Why was this written? Why did Christ suffer?  Why did Christ die and rise again from the dead on the third day?  Look at verse 47-

(47)  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

  • Why? What was the reason?
    • So, there could be remission of sins for the repentant! So, there could be a faith that ultimately and finally saves.
      • What does the scripture say? “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.”
    • So, that this message of the Gospel could be preached “in his name”- who’s name? Jesus!  “For there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
    • So that this message of the Gospel could be preached “among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For it is the power of God to all them that believe, to the jew first and also to the Greek.”

(48)  And ye are witnesses of these things.

  • These disciples were the witnesses…
    • …of the person of Jesus Christ– His resurrected body…
    • …of the prophecy of Jesus Christ – in Moses, the prophets, and the psalms…
    • …of the purpose for his death, burial and resurrection. – that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
  • The purpose of Jesus’s predicted coming, life, birth, death, burial, and resurrection was a missionary purpose.
  • He came to “seek and to save those that were lost.”
  • His purpose in discipleship was so that the end of that discipleship would be “sending”.
  • He wanted His disciples to witness all the needed to be witnessed so that repentance and faith for the remission of sins in Jesus’ name could be preached to all nations.
  • And he knew that they would need the Holy Spirit’s power to do that.

(49)  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

  • Not only had he trained them…
  • Not only had he died for them and rose again…
  • Not only had He made it possible for them to witness these things…
  • He was going to empower them by sending the Holy Spirit to them to accomplish the mission He started and was sending them on.
  • True, Biblical discipleship always leads to replication. It always leads to sending.
  • Until the disciple can replicate- “teaching them to observe all that (Christ) hath commanded”- the discipleship process is not complete.
  • And we know that to truly do that takes the work of the Spirit.
  • And we see the point of this repentance and faith in Jesus in this last characteristic that Jesus cultivated in His disciples.

We can see the aim of Jesus’s discipleship by seeing the characteristics He cultivated in His disciples.

Characteristic #1- Experiential: They were witnesses to His resurrection. V.36-43, 48

Characteristic #2- Scriptural- They were witnesses of His Word. V. 44-45

Characteristic #3- Missional- They were witnesses to His World. V.46-49

Characteristic #4- Worshipful- They were witnesses to His Work. V. 50-52

(50)  And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

  • Bethany is this village on the mount of olives.
  • We see the disciples here with Jesus. We know and will see in our study of Acts a parallel passage and further things that He said to them.
  • Here he blesses them. This is a time for goodbye in a sense, though He told them He would be with them, even to the end of the age.  Look at what happened in verse 51

(51)  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

  • Jesus ascends into heaven. We know that He sits down at the right hand of God.  Look at the reaction of the disciples:

(52)  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

(53)  And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

 

  • They worshipped him.
  • They went to the temple, where this veil was torn from top to bottom.
  • Now, before Jesus was resurrected where were they staying? (Upper room).
  • Why were they in the upper room? We were told they were afraid.
  • Now that Jesus had revealed Himself and His purpose to send them to these disciples, look at where they went. They went to the temple.
  • Who was at the temple? Those who had helped kill Jesus.
  • Their fear was subsided. Jesus had authorized them to make disciples.
  • Jesus had commissioned them to be on His mission.
  • These men had killed Jesus, and He rose again.
  • Their mindset changed. What could they do to them?  Jesus was alive, and Jesus had said, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”
  • So what did they do?

(53)  And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

  • The end of discipleship is sending to the ends of the earth so that the whole earth would know, love, serve and worship Jesus Christ!

Conclusion:

 

  • Let’s make this really practical:

We can see the aim of Jesus’s discipleship by seeing the characteristics He cultivated in His disciples.

  1. Experiential- They were witnesses to His Work. V.36-43, 48
    1. We can believe that the Bible is true, and that our sins can be forgiven because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    2. These previously fearful, unqualified, uneducated men turned the world upside down by preaching Christ crucified, risen and coming again and even dying for what they said they saw.
    3. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we do not serve a dead philosopher. We serve a risen Savior!
  2. Scriptural- They were witnesses of His Word. V. 44-45
    1. The disciple of Jesus Christ are people of the book.
    2. We read the Word, know the Word, obey the Word, proclaim the Word, and live out the Word of God.
    3. The whole of Scripture is about Jesus Christ. It is about the gospel.  We are sinners.  We are yet in our sin outside of Christ.
    4. Christ came, died and rose again, and it was predicted in both the Old and New Testaments.
  3. Missional- They were witnesses to His World. V.46-51
    1. Discipleship always leads to sending.
    2. If discipleship doesn’t lead to evangelism then there is something wrong with our discipleship.
    3. It is the great commission, not the great suggestion. Jesus called us to make disciples so that repentance and remission of sins could preached, in his name, among all nations.
  4. Worshipful- They were witnesses to His Worth. V. 52
    1. Those that repent and believe in Jesus can truthfully, rightly, and sincerely praise and worship God for everything He is, and everything He has done.
    2. Our lives and our lips praise and worship the God who made all of this possible.

 

Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?

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