Summary: Five things the disciples discoverd that forever changed their lives.
Well, it’s another Easter Sunday. This one Sunday of the year has come to be associated with people dressing up in extra nice clothes, egg hunts, family gatherings, and time off from work. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a Sunday in which we celebrate in a special way, the historical fact of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead.
But the resurrection of Christ from the dead should do more than impact our lives once a year. As Christians, we don’t celebrate our Lord’s resurrection once a year; but every Sunday of the year! We do so because we need to be inspired, reminded, and motivated to let the truth of His resurrection impact us every day of our lives.
It’s what the resurrection did for the disciples. An good example of the transforming power of the resurrection is what happened with two disciples on the Emmaus road (Luke 24:13-35). Though they’re called disciples, there were not from the group of the most intimate followers of Christ—the twelve—who’re referred to now as the eleven (verse 33) because Judas had already hung himself after betraying Jesus. This was a title for the group, not the number of the group, for as we find out, Thomas wasn’t with the group on this occasion we’re looking at today.
The two disciples on the Emmaus road had, as a result of our Lord’s crucifixion, fallen into despair. They’d forgotten the words of Jesus, that He’d be crucified, buried, and raised to life on the third day. And they’d also forgotten the works of Jesus - unstopping ears of the deaf, opening eyes of the blind, causing lame to walk, and raising dead to life, each time proving He had the power to do what He’d promised, being raised from the dead.
The fact they had forgotten these two things, led to the irony of giving into despair over death in the presence of the One who had overcome death for them. Jesus had joined them for the journey, yet they didn’t recognize Him.
But when they realized the risen Christ was with them, they turned from despair to delight, from forgetting Christ’s words to faith in His Word, from forgetting Christ’s works to faith in His working, and were filled with passion, promise, and purpose. God wants the resurrection of our Lord and His presence with us to make a similar difference in us. These two disciples returned to Jerusalem and told the Eleven all about what they had experienced. It is here that we come to today’s passage.
In this “upper room experience,” the disciples made discoveries that made them live lives of passion, promise and purpose, as God used them to turn their world upside down, then right side up for the Savior.
“The most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ? As a reward for their efforts, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking. Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.” - Josh McDowell
These discoveries are ones we need to make as we learn to live in the daily reality of the fact that our Savior is a living Savior, whose Word is true and whose works are powerful. Oh, may we have a similar “upper room experience”! Like these disciples, may we discover . . .
1. The reality of the resurrection - vs. 36-43
Jesus showed He wasn’t a ghost or figment of their imagination, but He was truly alive among them! A Savior who had once for all conquered sin, Satan, death and hell. And it’s on the basis of His authority they were sent out and we also are sent out to live life on mission for Christ.
“Jesus came near and said to them, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” - Matthew 28:18-20 (CSB)
The resurrection is also the basis of His promise to never abandon us.
“If Easter is not true, then all things perish: body, soul, hope, ambition, love, toil; nothing matters but thrills of a temporal existence. But if Easter is true, then all problems are solved. The strain and sacrifice of earthly life become worthwhile, because eternal values are added.” - Anonymous