Summary: How Easter makes a difference in our lives
“Easter Qualities”, Luke 24:33-48 Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
Today people will only commit to things they feel are relevant. They say, “OK, Easter happened. So what? How will that make a difference in my life tomorrow?”
In Luke 24 the risen Jesus appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They didn’t recognize their Lord—perhaps they were too overwhelmed by grief. They invite Him to have dinner with them. As He breaks bread with them and offers thanks, they see that it is Jesus, their Messiah. From this event we can see that Easter brings 4 relevant qualities to make our lives different: peace, joy, hope, and mission…
Peace, verse 36
Jesus knew His followers were confused and frightened. They had hit rock bottom. And so He says, “Peace be with you.” This is not simply a salutation; it’s the first application of Easter—peace. Everyone wants peace of mind. We live in such a troubled world. Even the Holy Land is polluted with violence and unrest.
People attempt to attain peace by their own efforts. Optimistic songs have been written about being able to dream the impossible dream, climb every mountain, and fly with bluebirds over the rainbow…very idealistic, and not very realistic, without a Higher Power. Before we can get peace of mind, we need to find peace with God. Unbelievers are at war with God, even if they don’t realize it. They are choosing to live apart from God, to live as though God doesn’t exist.
The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, means fullness, wholeness. Peace comes by realizing that we’re forgiven, that we’ve already passed our judgment test with God. Peace means that the grave is not the end of life. By applying Easter’s peace today, we can face tomorrow with calmness, serenity, assurance and confidence. We know that whatever the Prince of peace brings into our lives will work out for our good.
On 5th Avenue in New York City there is a visual reminder of the Source of true peace. At the entrance of the RCA Building is a huge statue of Atlas struggling to keep the world on his shoulders. On the other side of the street is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Behind the altar is a small statue of Jesus effortlessly holding the whole world in one hand. Peace is hard to come by when we strive to balance the world on our own backs, but when we heed God’s invitation to give Him our burdens, the weight of our world becomes effortless for our risen Lord.
Joy, verse 41
Joy is the next Easter quality, vs 41: “they still did not believe because of joy and amazement.” Elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus states, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). The disciples were surprised by joy; they felt the resurrection was nearly too good to be true; overcome with grief, they’re now overwhelmed with joy. It’s like being told you’ve won a million dollars—at first you can’t believe your good fortune. Jesus gave His disciples time to let the reality of His resurrection sink in. He asked for something to eat, and they realized that He was truly alive.