Brian Russel has just finished an excellent series of four posts on the resurrection narrative in Luke 24 which are well worth reading.
The thing which struck me most from these articles was the way in which the resurrection of Jesus transformed people and gave them a clear mission in life. Here are some extracts from some of Brian’s posts:
Resurrection creates the Church as a missional movement. The women in this story shift from mourners taking spices to the tomb to proclaimers of the Resurrection Story. This group of women (only the two Mary’s and Joanna are named) become the initial witnesses and servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Profoundly in the 1st century, the testimony of women was not valid in a court of law. Thus, the first witnesses to the Resurrection come from the margins of society. God entrusted the Gospel to a band of marginalized women to become his initial preachers. Mission is the shared stewardship of all followers of Jesus the Messiah. (part one)…
Cleopas and his friend are transformed from forlorn former followers to empowered, passionate proclaimers. Just as the women in vv. 1-12, Cleopas and his friend are transformed into Jesus’ witnesses. There is no commission given, but they immediately return to Jerusalem to announce to the Eleven what they had seen and heard. Encountering the Risen Jesus is all that is required for a call to a missional life. (part two)…
1) YOU are witnesses. Disciples move from frightened and demoralized people to serving God’s vanguard. Jesus emphasizes the missional role in which each disciple will serve. This makes explicit what has been implicit throughout Luke 24-an encounter with the Risen Jesus unleashes believers into the world as witnesses. Mission is the reason for the existence of God’s people in the post-Resurrection era.
Notice the scope of the sending: all nations. Jerusalem represents the starting point. The world is in view.
How large is my understanding of mission?
2) Witness is empowered by Holy Spirit. God’s missional movement is Spirit-drenched. This is so important that Jesus emphatically orders the disciples to wait for the filling of the Spirit. The emphasis on the work of the Spirit is a good reminder that ultimately the fulfillment of God’s mission is the work of the Spirit through us. We are not called to be super men or women. We are called to be Spirit-filled, sent out humans. The work of God in the world is about power. This power comes only through the Spirit. (part four)