CBT trains believers to discover the story, understand the story, and tell the story to others. Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations drives every facet of Chronological Bible Teaching Ministries. While the story begins in Genesis, different people in Scripture put the story together for their generation. Moses gives the Hebrews a comprehensive worldview from the story to replace 400 years of bad theology under the tutelage of the Egyptians. Joshua rehearses that history for his generation, as do differing psalmists and prophets. After the return, Ezra retells the story to a generation that had forgotten God’s plan and promises (Nehemiah 9).
Jesus references the chronological story when He refers to the blood of Abel to the blood fo Zachariah (first and last books of the Hebrew Bible) in Matt. 23:35. In Luke 24, Jesus walks the believers on the Emmaus road through the chronological story, and then does the same with the assembled disciples (Luke 24:27, 44). His teaching throughout assumes a basic knowledge of the story in its chronological format (among His hearers), for He deals with marriage from creation forward, He walks through the Law and its implications in the sermon on the mount, and even some of His parables show the build of God’s work from the beginning to bring the reader to Jesus as the culmination of His kingdom’s coming.
Jesus held a forty day “boot camp” for His disciples before He ascended into heaven,
“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3).
He explained the kingdom story and assigned to them the role of witnesses—extending His kingdom to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20).
Luke provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what Jesus did during this forty day boot camp,
“Then He said to them, 'These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things’” (Luke 24:44-48, emphasis added).
Jesus presented an apologetic for His identity and substitutionary work from the Hebrew Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi. Being a witness of Christ requires discovering, understanding, and telling the Old Testament story. It was required of the first disciples and it is a necessity for 21st century disciples of Christ.
Why was this prerequisite so important to Jesus? One might conclude that the apostles became capable witnesses after they confirmed Jesus’ resurrection with their own eyes. As eyewitnesses, were they not already prepared to preach the gospel to the nations? Why did they need a forty day boot camp?
These men followed Jesus for three years. They heard Jesus teach, watched Him perform miracles, and witnessed His death and resurrection. However, Jesus intended that His witnesses not simply report what they had seen to the world. Even nonbelievers were aware of the historical facts of Jesus’ ministry and were able to confirm them, as Paul reminded his hearers at one of his trials:
“But he said, 'I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe” (Acts 26:25-27, emphasis added).
Jesus emphasized that a witness must not only declare what he has seen or believes; he must prove from the Scriptures the truthfulness of the message he declares. A successful witness must be able to explain the Big Story of the Bible. Stephen explained the story to his Jewish persecutors in Acts 7. Paul explained the story to Gentile idol worshipers in Acts 17:22-34.
A person’s belief about Jesus is not the power of the Gospel. The power of the gospel is the reality that Creator God foretold Jesus’ coming, His death, and His resurrection during a period of approximately 4,000 years before these events occurred,
“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).
The strength of our witness is not only that we believe the gospel is true, but that we are able to prove that it is true. Scripture tells a coherent story that demonstrates the promise of the gospel and applies the power of the gospel.
Discover the story, understand the story, and learn to tell the story. Jesus required this discipleship process of the apostles, and He requires it of all witnesses until He returns. CBT provides a powerful toolbox of discipleship resources to help you begin and finish this journey. You can find these resources at www.chronologicalbibleteaching.com.