Last month I started to focus the editorial article on the subject of evangelism. As many of you know, it’s a subject that is close to my heart. I’ll be developing this in the next few issues. This quarter I’ll be brief, as we are finishing the ‘Studying and Preaching with a Tablet’ series with two articles wrapped into one. Stephen Grant and Jeremy Singer continue with their series, and Paul Coxall completes his articles on Psalm 139. We really appreciate Paul doing this as he has not been well and has written the last article between his regular visits to hospital; please remember him in your prayers.
At the end of Mark 16, we discover that the disciples obeyed the Lord’s instruction, and He blessed their work. We need to have courage to do what the Lord tells us to do. The Lord still works with those who serve Him. We cannot guarantee when souls will be saved but Psalm 126 verse 6 promises that we will see results, one day!
Luke’s description of these final moments in the life of the Lord Jesus on earth includes conversations with individuals who are not identified as being part of ‘the Eleven’. The term ‘the Eleven’ describes the apostles after Judas had taken his own life. In verse 9 of Luke 24, a group of people are simply described as being ‘all the rest’. Verse 13 sees the start of the famous ‘road to Emmaus’ incident. One of the two individuals is identified as Cleopas, while the other person remains unidentified. Many have theories about who they were, but what we can be quite sure of is that they were not of the ‘eleven’! Let’s continue with the story. After the Lord reveals himself to them, they rush back to Jerusalem and find ‘the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them’. As they are explaining what took place on their journey home, the Lord comes into the room. Once again, He teaches them what scripture says about Himself, and He opens their understanding ‘that they might understand the scriptures’. I must stop and comment – what an amazing occasion that must have been! Can you imagine listening to the risen Lord explain the full meaning of the biblical prophecies that related to Him – awesome in the extreme! Hard on the heels of this teaching, the Lord tells all of those gathered in the room that day, ‘“Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem’. They are challenged by the Lord to be His witnesses, as they have had first-hand experience of the events surrounding the cross and the resurrection. My main point here is not just that the gospel message was to be communicated, but that it was to be communicated by all followers of Christ, not just the select group of ‘the Eleven’. Will we take up the challenge in our day!