“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:46–48).
THIS STATEMENT WAS MADE BY JESUS TO A GROUP OF HIS DISCIPLES ON THE EVENING OF THE SAME DAY ON WHICH HE HAD BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD. As He appeared to them in the room in Jerusalem where they were gathered, the disciples were frightened, but Jesus assured them they were not seeing a ghost and asked if they had anything to eat. Then He began to talk to them about the momentous events of His death and resurrection.
He said, “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 and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Not one detail of what had happened in the previous week should have been surprising to the disciples. All of it was a part of what had been written about the Messiah in the three divisions of the Tanakh (the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings). And then “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (v.45).
Now we come to our text in vv.46–48. Specifically, what Jesus showed His disciples from the Hebrew Scriptures is that (a) the Messiah would suffer, (b) He would rise from the dead, and (c) repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And when the apostles themselves began their work, they preached from the Hebrew Scriptures, showing that what the prophets had foretold about the Messiah was perfectly fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 3:22–26; 9:22; 10:43; 17:2,3; 18:5; 24:14; 26:22,23; 28:23,24; etc.).
There is no greater study for us than to immerse ourselves in the Hebrew Scriptures, reverently looking there for every detail which God revealed about the coming of His Messiah. The Messiah was to be a King, obviously, but as it turned out, He was a very different King than anyone expected. In particular, His horrible death and victorious resurrection caught everyone by surprise. But that is the way it often is with events that shake the world.
“What happened on that day [of Jesus’ resurrection] became, was, and remained the center around which everything else moves” (Karl Barth).