Monday, April 13, 2009

"Witnesses to New Life" Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending April 19, 2009

Purpose: To demonstrate that despite our fears, the risen Christ empowers us to worship and witness.

Scripture Text: Luke 24:44-53 (NRSV)

Background: Luke 24:36-53

Luke 24:44-53
(44) Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ (45)Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, (46)and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, (47)and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.(48)You are witnesses of these things. (49)And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

(50) Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. (51)While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. (52)And they worshiped him, an returned to Jerusalem with great joy; (53)and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

The Gospel of Luke, written by the “beloved physician” (Col. 4:14) is also the only Gospel written by a gentile. The fact that Luke was a physician might play a part in his fascination with Jesus eating broiled fish and honey after the resurrection. (Vs 42-43)

The overall theme of Luke is “Christ, the Son of Man” and many of the events in this book demonstrate Christ's humanity. Luke's writings also include the Book of Acts of the Apostles, so the Gospel of Luke, is the first part of a continuing story. The Gospel of Luke is constantly pointing us to Jerusalem and the cross, while the Book of Acts, starts in Jerusalem and extends to “the ends of the earth”, which Christ commands in Acts 1:8:“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. Today's lesson is simply preparing the disciples to do the work of witnessing to “the ends of the earth”.

Jesus is going to teach in just a short period of time, some 40 days, everything He had tried to teach them the three years prior, but they were unwilling to learn.

When I was younger I took flying lessons, and as long as the instructor was with me, in the right hand seat, I was very comfortable, no matter what the circumstance, because I knew he did not want to die prematurely, but when the day came and he climbed out and he told me to go do three “solo landings” and “take offs”, I suddenly wished I would have paid more attention to what he was telling me for the previous six weeks or so. The same was true with the disciples; they all of a sudden realized they were going to have to fly solo. It was them that would be responsible for spreading the good news around the world.

After I had achieved the ability to fly by myself, then I was certified to carry passengers with me, and some forty hours of flying time later, I began working on an instrument rating. I can relate that to what the disciples went through, the intense learning, and learning to trust someone else, a higher force, than what I was able to do with my own vision. Eventually I became able to not only fly solo, I was able to do it when I could not see the ground or other aircraft, I had learned to depend on someone who had the big picture, someone that knew where every airport was and who also knew where every airplane was in the sky. Of course I had to check in with them every time I wanted to fly, and they would give me the clearance to proceed to my destination.

Like the disciples, I had to learn a lot and I had to have my mind opened to understanding the Instrument Flight Rules. It was an intense learning time and I studied harder than I had ever studied and the final exam was the hardest I had ever taken, but the whole world was opened to me, I could literally fly anywhere i wanted to go and just about anytime I wanted to go, as long as I was in touch with the “controller”.

I think that is exactly where these eleven or so disciples were, they were told to wait until they received their clearance from on high, and then they were to go into the entire world preaching the gospel, but always staying in touch with the “controller”.

I must confess there were times when I would start out on my own, trusting my own sight, but if I found myself unable to see the way, I could immediately call the controller and tell him my situation and where I wanted to go, if the air traffic and weather were no problem, he would then direct me to my destination, if I obeyed his commands and did exactly as he said.

Who do you trust, are you flying by sight? Or are you willing to trust the Controller? God does not want to be our co-pilot; He wants to be the Controller


1 comment:

Ken Howell said...

Very meaningful illistration, what a wonderful teacher you are. I sure am glad we know you, and attend your class.

Forever in christ