Summary: The way Jesus spent His days on earth after his resurrection were quite different from His ministry before. we consider how and why it was.
1. Tonight we pause to consider the empty tomb.
2. As we said this morning the resurrection was of the utmost importance to the early church.
3. Easter was not just that day that Christ became alive, but the beginning of new life for His disciples and the promise and seal for new life for all who believe - including you and me.
4. This evening I want to just spend a few moments reflecting on that last 40 days that Jesus lived on earth.
5. Although Christ is always with us in spirit, the time between the resurrection and the ascension wase the last time that Christ was on earth as a man - as one of us.
1. While these last 40 days are important, there is relatively little said about them in Scripture. Only 142 verses and many if not most of them have to do with resurrection itself.
2. It seems that Jesus just appeared to the disciples once in awhile - we are not told where he was the rest of the time. He appeared to Mary Magdelene and the disciples, he walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaeus.
3. It seems that Jesus played little role in ministry during this time. We are not told of continued ministry or healings or teachings. He only spent time with his followers - and that time was limited - that was precious time.
4. It is interesting how this time was spent and why Jesus this time as he did.
5. It shows that the work of ministry had now been transferred to the disciples - a sort of in between time - between His ministry and that of His followers.
6. This time was spent to prepare them. When we think of what Jesus said to them we can also hear him say the same things to us since we, as his disciples, are to continue in the ministry as well.
7. First, I notice that Jesus wanted to make sure the disciples, not others, knew that he had risen - early disciples would greet each other with the words "He is risen" with the response "He is risen indeed".
a. His resurrection was proof of the truth of His message.
b. It was the chief motivation that changed the disciples to become bold and be willing to risk their lives, and even give their lives for their Lord.
c. And so he made sure that the disciples knew it was him - his body was glorified but they still could recognize Him.
d. He knew Thomas doubted that He was alive, so Jesus came back a week later just so Thomas could see and believe. What Thomas must have felt to say "My Lord and My God".
e. Jesus wanted them to know He was not just a spirit or a ghost, but that His body itself had been resurrected. He let them touch Him and he ate with them.
f. Although very little was said, his presence spoke more than words ever could.
g. Jesus wants us to know that he is with us as well - Jesus may well have been thinking of us when he said (John 20:29) "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
h. The writer of the gospel, John, says that these things, the gospel itself was written that we may believe.
i. Although we do not see Jesus in the flesh, we receive His assurance that he will be with us. (Mat 28:20)
8. He wanted them to know that He would continue to guide them.
a. He lets them know what side of the boat to catch the fish from.
b. He will lead and guide us to the real fish, the lost, that He wants us to catch.
9. Jesus shows His love and concern to them.
a. Thomas and his doubts.
b. He wanted Peter to know that He was forgiven even though he had denied his Lord 3 times. Jesus knew Peter was sorry , but he asked him 3 times "Do you love me?"
c. Each Peter says he did. Jesus did not need to hear it but Peter surely needed to say it.
d. Jesus knows that we also have denied him at times - but he asks us as well, "Do you love me?"
e. He does not need to hear us say we do for he knows our heart - but he knows that we need to say it.
10. Peter’s love for Christ and our love for him cannot be separated for our love and care for one another - for we also are called to feed his sheep.
11. Jesus also made it clear that he would empower the disciples for ministry by sending the Holy Spirit to them. (John 20:22)