Luke Chapter 24: 36-49 – ‘Taking tentative steps’
When Eunice and I were in London we decided to have a tour of Tower Bridge. We found the talk and visual displays fascinating and were grateful for the chance to go up to top and be able to walk along to the other side. What we were not prepared for was when we got halfway across and met a section of a glass floor. Peering down the people really did look like ants. Some people walked across normally. Eunice and I were hesitant and fearful, it took us a while before we plucked up the courage and eventually walked tentatively to the other side. I have this image that the disciples were fearful and hesitant and wondering how they could overcome their scary position and get to grips with the next phase of their life, whatever that might be.
In our continuing study of the account of the first Easter we reach the point where the disciples were trying to process the enfolding news that Jesus was alive and had risen. Verse 36 says they were still talking about this, and then Jesus appeared (with the customary ‘Peace be with you’). After giving them further proof and evidence (37-43) to calm them because they were startled and frightened, Jesus went on to suggest 5 tentative steps they needed to take in order to be prepared and able to move on in faith.
Step one: HISTORY. In verses 44-46 Jesus reminded them that their scripture explained through prophecy and teaching that this was all part of God’s plan. Our Bible study coupled with our experience enables us to look forward confident that God will never leave us or forsake us, and he is in control!
Step two: HERITAGE. In verse 47 Jesus explains that repentance and forgiveness will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. Our Christian heritage is to share/explain/offer the gospel message. It is such good news to know that repentance and forgiveness is available to those who turn to God.
Step three: HONOUR. Verse 48 says ‘You are witnesses of these things.’ I often marvel at God’s grace for the fact that we have been chosen by God to witness. We are not more deserving or special, it is all about God’s grace. What a privilege to be included in Gods purposes.
Step four: HOLY SPIRIT. I imagine the disciples were lacking confidence at this point and wondering how on earth could they live up to such a calling. The answer comes swiftly in verse 49 – ‘I am going to send you what my Father has promised’ Empowered by the Holy Spirit means all things are indeed possible! In their own strength the disciples were doomed to failure but with God’s help it would be a different story.
Step five HOLY TIMING. Here it is again, the order to wait for God’s timing. The second part of verse 49 has the instruction ‘But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’. If we are not in touch with God, we may move either too soon or too late. Sometimes we are called to sit tight and use the time to deepen our relationship with God before being called to spring into action. We need to be able to trust and obey God’s prompting.
With God’s help and guidance, I am determined to take considered tentative steps that will get me where I should be. How about you? What’s your strategy to tackle uncertainty?