Summary: The first in a series about living in the light of the resurrection. How did it feel to be a disciple of Jesus who followed Him, loved Him, lost Him, and then experienced His resurrection and the promise of the Holy Spirit?
Clothed With Power - April 12, 2015 Sermon - Luke 24:33-49
It’s the first Sunday after Easter, and I’m going to ask us all here today to use our imaginations, to engage our minds and hearts and souls as we consider what it means to live in the light of the resurrection of our Saviour.
Today is the first in a series of messages about just that: “Living in the Light of the Resurrection”, where we’ll consider how life changes when the reality of God’s love, so beautifully expressed in Jesus’ willing sacrifice for us on the cross…when that really starts to sink in. So…
Imagine yourself, living your life as normal, just think about the week you’ve just had. You know, dealing with life’s ups and downs, struggling to make peace...with yourself, with your past, with other people, with your own heart, worrying about stuff, mad at some folks, focussing on your own life, living with life’s ups and downs because, well, that’s what you know.
And then imagine yourself being invited into a friendship, a relationship where the other person is so interesting, so not run-of-the-mill, so different from you but still so approachable, and who keeps reaching out to you to draw closer.
Well, that was the experience of the band of people who followed Jesus. Of course there were the 12, who we know as Jesus disciples who were among that band of people,
But we also know there were many, male and female, who journeyed with Jesus for the 3 or so years of His public ministry.
They witnessed His miracles, they heard his teaching, which turned conventional thinking on its head, normal wisdom was turned upside down by Jesus. What do I mean?
Normal says, “Nice guys finish last”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, the meek will inherit the earth”
Normal says, “People who are confident and self-assured get ahead”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, it’s the poor in spirit who come out on top”
Normal says, “The purpose of life is to be happy”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, people who mourn are blessed.
Normal says, “You have to get people to like you!”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, you’re blessed when people persecute you.
Normal says, “Adultery is really bad”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, looking at somebody lustfully is just as bad.
Normal says, “Murder is really, really bad”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, calling somebody a fool is just as bad.
Normal says, “Divorce is always an option”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, marriage is a permanent union, and divorce is a last resort in extreme cases”
Normal says, “If somebody hits you, hit ‘em back”; Jesus says “In my kingdom, We turn the other cheek, We love our enemies, We pray for the very people who make our lives miserable!
So these people that followed Jesus kept following Him. They kept wondering at His teachings - wondering what life would be like to live by them.
Just like us.
They followed Him, pursued Him, as He moved around the countryside, from town to town. They saw His compassion as He healed broken people, as He gave hope to condemned people, as He demonstrated what could only have been, His followers slowly realized, the power of God.
And on top of that, Jesus began making it clear that He’s divine. He’s God in the flesh.
Imagine yourself journeying with such a One.
Imagine your life connected to such a person. Now, some gave up on the journey. As His teaching got a bit harder, a bit less ‘in your head’ and more ‘you gotta live this out’.
As He started to invite people deeper into Himself, foreshadowing what we know as communion by telling people that they needed to eat His body and drink His blood, the crowd started to thin out.
As the demands on them got bigger, there were fewer and fewer followers. In fact it says in John chapter 6:66 that after Jesus first taught about the Eucharist or communion, “66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him”.
But say you’ve stuck it out. You maybe haven’t fully grasped what He’s been saying, but it’s starting to make sense. You’ve started to really care for this fellow. You’ve started to love Him, and you’re starting to even enjoy some of the other people who have been following Jesus.
But then, last week, 10 days ago - Good Friday, happens. This fellow who was so amazing, so special, so dynamic, so powerful and yet so gentle...He gets drawn up on fake charges, judged all wrong, beaten, mocked and murdered. And left to hang for the vultures on a cruel cross. You’d be, I’d be messed up.
This ‘kingdom of God’ that Jesus was talking about that gave power to the poor and the weak, that gave dignity to children, that honoured instead of used women...