“everything written about me…must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44)
I arranged for a guest preacher to speak at our church while I was on holidays. Unfortunately, he came down with Covid and so, while away, I had to arrange something else. I turned to the online service at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, and found that Professor Darrell Bock had just preached on Luke 24:44-53. Perfect – Bock will fill the gap. So it was, that our church members had a sermon from the the Texan professor.
Darrell Bock has written a number of large commentaries on the books of Luke and Acts. It was certainly a privilege to listen to him and I do commend the sermon. Bock brought out the manner in which this passage is less of an ending and more of a pivot or transition into the book of Acts, indeed, the Ascension of Jesus serves as a beginning for the kingdom of God. As I listened to Darrell Bock spell out the implications, I was struck by the prophetic nature of his words:
“and so we become part of an open-ended story that continues. Luke 24 is not the end…it is the beginning…And we are one of the chapters in that story….If you have entered into that story…then you know that Acts is the next chapter, and you know that there is a story after Acts. …The story is being written in Sydney…right here and right now.”
I was also struck by the way he showed how Luke’s gospel underlines that repentance which is, of course, to do with turning back to God, has direct consequences for how we relate to others. Bock also noted the fulfilment theme here at the end of the Luke 24 is precisely how the book begins (Luke 24:44 and Luke 1:1). It was certainly wonderful to listen to someone who was so comfortable both with the big picture of the book of Luke and all the details in between.
I later went on to listen to the introductory interview that Dean Sandy Grant had with Professor Bock. The Dean asked him for a favourite passage in Luke – the impossible question! But even then, Darrell Bock came up with a wonderful note about the woman in Luke 7:36-50 who poured perfume on Jesus. He noted that there is not a word recorded about this woman speaking but her action speaks forth more loudly than all the others whose words are recorded in the passage.
I’ve read that passage many times, even preached on it, but I’d never considered it in that way. We can give thanks to God for the faithful labours of Darrell Bock in opening up the Scriptures, especially Luke and Acts, for us today.