7731 - The Torch

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What a rich blessing we’ve had as we studied about Jesus and his apostles enjoying a last intimate evening together in the upper room. During this meal the Lord has continued to teach them truths, which were pertinent to their life after he departs, and which gave insights into his relationship with Christians during the age of the Church.

In Luke 22:28-30 we detect that Jesus is passing the torch to these faithful men who had lived with him, traveled with him, ministered with him, suffered deprivations with him and had even endured scorn with him.

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You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus acknowledges the faithfulness of these eleven apostles who remained in the room, since Judas had already departed.

Jesus said, “I confer on you a kingdom...” Those words ring with the sound of something new in the making.

These men still were anticipating that Jesus would establish his earthly kingdom at this time, and that Israel would be in authority. But Jesus knew that this new dimension of the kingdom of God was speaking about the indwelling authority of Trinity God as a spiritual reality in the inner being of people who would choose by faith to be a part.

This was in accord with God’s eternal plan. Jesus came to earth to remove the barrier of sin which stood between holy God and sinful man. He would accomplish this great act by giving his perfect human life as an atoning sacrifice to pay the penalty for all sin. Then, according to God’s eternal plan, Trinity God could take up residence within the heart of people who repented from their sin and by faith invited Jesus Christ to be Lord over their life.

Jesus had said previously, “The kingdom of God is within you. (Lk. 17:21).” This would be fulfilled in reality at Pentecost, fifty days later, when the Holy Spirit came to permanently indwell people of faith.

The introduction of this truth regarding this new relationship was the task Jesus was passing to these apostles. Of course, many others would be raised up by God and commissioned to join in that task. Countless others have been sent forth by God to continue this teaching. The apostle Paul is an example, as well as missionaries, preachers, teachers and each individual believer has a part in the task.

Those words, “that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom...” reach far into the future from that day. Here we are about two thousand years later and we too look forward to participating in the ‘glorious kingdom’ with Jesus Christ.

Notice also he said to the eleven that they would sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This is thought to portend that the apostles will have authority over those from the twelve tribes of Israel who likewise are included in the ‘glorious kingdom.’

Later that evening Jesus would pray to the Father (Jn. 17:12-18) regarding these men for whom he felt deeply: “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe...None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled... I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world... My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one... As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

Friend, Christ’s coming to earth ushered in the kingdom of God, as it had never been fully comprehended on earth. The apostles were entrusted with picking up the torch and fulfilling the duties of being the hands and feet of God to jump-start the age of the Church, which precedes the ‘glorious kingdom.’

However, all who by faith commit to be being subjects of the Lord Jesus are counted as citizens of this special kingdom of God, which will unfold for eternity with him.