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Summary: Often we do not recognize when God is at work in our lives. Even those that walked with Jesus had difficulty recognizing the Risen Lord (Ideas for this sermon taken from an article entitled A Manifold Resurrection by John Witte and a Christianity Today)

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Introduction

2nd part of series- examining how people responded when they encountered Jesus after His resurrection

If we lived when Jesus walked on- earth, how would we have responded to- man- claimed to be God?

Would we believe He was who He said He was?

Why would the miracles convince us He was God?

Perhaps as we watched Him interact w/people?

How would you respond to- man- claimed to be God?

When He was finally arrested and crucified, how would that have affected our confidence in Him?

After the crucifixion, would we have recognized the Risen Christ if we had encountered Him?

Many of- early disciples that encountered Jesus after His resurrection had- difficulty recognizing Him.

Not unlike us today, who struggle many times to see the risen Lord at work in our lives/circumstances.

Review: Last week we looked at …

1. Mary Magdalene

Out of love- driven to find the dead body of Jesus.

Because of her preconceived ideas, she misinterpreted her circumstances, and did not recognize Jesus.

2. The Ten Disciples

They were huddled away in fear and doubt and would not believe what others said about Him being alive

More Encounters with the Risen Christ

This evening, look at two more disciples and how the responded to their encounter with the Risen Christ.

3. Thomas

Jn 20:24-31

V24 Jesus appeared to disciples- Thomas not w/them.

They were hiding in fear- Jesus was dead- their …

hopes shattered/dreams smashed/lives devastated.

V25 The disciples had seen the risen Lord- they were excited- testifying of what they had seen.

Thomas was skeptical- show me the nail holes.

I am sure Thomas wanted to believe, but he had not experienced the Lord’s presence personally.

Testimony of others can be- great encouragement, but their comes a time- we need a personal experience.

God designed the Christian life for each of us to personally experience Him, to encounter Him.

V26 Jesus waited- before showing himself Thomas.

Why did Jesus wait a week?

Perhaps- necessary for Thomas to struggle w/his own unbelief/wrestle w/reality of God in his own life.

V27 Jesus was compassionate towards Thomas’ unbelief, but exhorted him to a higher level of faith

V28 Thomas’ response to- presence of God/the Word of God was worship- something was awakened.

V29 What spiritual principle do we see in this verse?

What can we see in this story …

• Jesus counters our doubts with His presence and His Word.

Jesus allowed Thomas to experience His presence.

Deut 8:3 "He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

• The Lord understands our thoughts and emotions, our doubts and fears.

Jesus visited the disciples for the second time, but focuses His attention on Thomas.

Jesus knows us by name as well and will personally arrange circumstances to bring peace to our hearts.

• Jesus responded compassionately to Thomas’ unbelief, but exhorted him to a higher level

God is a God of love, but He wants us to grow in faith

• We are to walk by faith, not by what we see in the natural

Thomas would not believe without seeing.

2 Cor 5:6-7

6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord —

7 for we walk by faith, not by sight — NASU

4. Peter

Jn 21:3-25 (tell the story)

Perhaps this encounter- designed with Peter in mind.

Peter had lost courage and denied Christ three times.

He wept bitterly over that experience and wrestled with the guilt of his own cowardice and failure.

Peter himself had such high hopes-

not only in what Jesus would do for Israel, but

in his own ministry- now it was all gone.

How many times have we denied God by our own

Thoughts/actions- contrary to what is holy?

V4 Peter does not recognize the man as Jesus.

V7-8

How does Peter respond when he realizes it is Jesus? How about the other disciples?

What can we see in this story …

• Their nets were miraculously filled with fish, to teach them to trust in God, not in human endeavor

• The fact that the net did not break speaks of God’s ability to do the impossible

• Jesus assured Peter of His love and forgiveness

• Not only did God restore Peter personally, He encouraged Him to step into His calling.

Conclusion

Perhaps there is a little bit of Thomas in all of us-

times when- overcome w/doubt/skepticism,

we need God’s touch to anchor us to His love.

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