Summary: In these final instructions Jesus declares the church's mission of worldwide evangelism and discipleship. Jesus has completed His mission of dying as the Lamb of God for the sins of the World (Jn. 1:29). Now Jesus commissions His disciples with a mission.
LUKE 24: 44-53
COMMISSIONED AND EMPOWERED WITNESSES
Having assured the disciples of His physical resurrection (vv. 36-43), Jesus now gives them the great commission. In these final instructions Jesus declares the church's mission of worldwide evangelism and discipleship. Jesus has completed His mission of dying as the Lamb of God for the sins of the World (Jn. 1:29). Now Jesus commissions His disciples with a mission. Their mission is to proclaim in Jesus' name the gospel and call people everywhere to repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30).
Now disciples everywhere in all generations are commissioned to be Jesus's witnesses proclaiming what they have seen and heard starting in Jerusalem and continuing until all peoples have received the opportunity to respond to the gospel. To enable them for this mission they will receive divine power from God the Holy Spirit, [but for that power, they must wait in Jerusalem until Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8). Luke will retell the ascension of Jesus in the beginning of Acts.]
I. The COMMISSION, 24:44-47.
II. The PROMISE, 24:48-49.
III. The ASCENSION, 24:50-53.
In verse 44 Jesus leads them to recall His words and life which are the fulfilment of Scripture. "Now He said to them, 'These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled" (NASB).
Jesus reminds them that everything that had occurred had been prophesied by Him. His words and life have been a fulfillment of Scripture. Often as Jesus taught the disciples they did not truly understand. One example is in Luke 9:45 where we read, “But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.” Later in Luke 18:34 when Jesus had explained to His disciples what was going to happen to Him we read, "But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken."
Have you ever been confused? I mean really confused? You may be like the university student who was seen with a large "K" printed on his T-shirt. When someone asked him what the "K" stood for, he said, "Confused." The questioner replied, 'you don't spell "confused" with a "K." The student answered, "You don't know how confused I am." [Source unknown -www.bible.org/illus/c/c-121.htm]
Not wanting His disciples to be confused Jesus revealed to them the things written in the Old Testament about the Messiah. The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms are the three divisions of the Old Testament as sometimes referred to in Jesus' day. [More often "Moses and the Prophets" were said to comprise the OT, V. 27.)] He showed them from different parts of the Old Testament (e.g., Deut. 18:15; Pss. 2:7; 16:10; 22:14-18; Isa. 53; 61:1) that He is the Messiah and that He must suffer and rise from the dead (Luke 24:46; v. 26). "All things" meaning all the facts and prophecies concerning the Messiah's first coming had been fulfilled by Him. Jesus is the complete fulfillment of Scriptural promises and hope. What God promises He brings to past. [Bock, Darrell. The IVP NT Com. Luke. InterVarsity Press, Dover Grove, IL. p.388.]
Jesus also in verse 45 opens their mind to understand His explanation of Holy Scriptures. "Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,"
I pray that Christ may give us all the grace to understand and feel the significance of these historical events. Until the Lord takes the opaque casing off of our minds, we can scarcely perceive the significance of the ascension at all. That's why the apostle Paul teaches that, unless Christ takes it away, a veil lies over our minds, concealing the splendor of His work (2 Corinthians 3:14).
Here Jesus opened their minds by a supernatural enablement to comprehend and interpret Scriptures, particularly concerning those things which relate to Christ. This understanding included the Scriptures concerning His purpose for coming. He had performed many miracles, and healed many sicknesses and diseases. However, that was not His purpose for coming.
Now that they could more fully understand the Scriptures He states in Luke 24:46 & 47 His true purpose for coming using three themes [seen in the Greek infinitive forms]. In verse 46 we learn first that the Christ had to suffer and second be raised again the third day. "... and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, …"