Have you ever said to yourself, “boy, I hope this person knows what the heck they are doing”?
I ask that question a lot… like when I’m at the doctor, or the dentist, or the lawyer, or the accountant.
I trust these people for very important matters. I trust them because they have very specialized knowledge and experience. THEY KNOW STUFF THAT I DON’T. Lot’s of stuff.
And, I know that they know what they are doing because they have been educated, trained, evaluated, tested, and certified. It wasn’t just enough to KNOW book knowledge. It wasn’t just enough to KNOW what to say and do. They needed to learn and demonstrate that they also knew the why, and the how, and the when of their discipline.
We expect this rigorous knowledge and certification from professionals of all sorts… shouldn’t we expect the same from our spiritual leaders. YES!
This is some of what is going on in Luke 24:
36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.
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.”
Jesus is running them through their comprehensive exams
Shock and awe… he appears in his risen form
Reassurance and encouragement… he invites them to come and see him with the remnants of the wounds that killed him still evident on his body
Demonstration… he actually eats a meal with them, proving he is not a ghost or figment of their imagination
Examination and review… he systematically recalls his teaching, correlates it with the Scriptures, and opens their minds to understand.
Certification… he confirms them as witnesses to the truth and reality of who Jesus is and what he came to do.
Commission… he gets them ready to be sent into the world to tell the truth about his rising from the dead, his appearances in bodily form, his mission to forgive sins of those who respond to him in faith.
Jesus is seriously preparing these disciple/apostles so that, when they go in his name, the world will trust that they know what the heck they are doing.
And what follows is nothing short of amazing… the Scriptures and history record (especially in the Book of Acts) that many thousands believed and many churches grew and spread across the known world in that first generation of the apostles.