Summary: Just before Jesus returned to his rightful place in Heaven there were final things he wanted to do for his disciples. He still offers to do these for his followers today.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 70
It was an almost impossible situation that the eleven remaining disciples (after Judas’ death) faced as they met in private to discuss the plan for their next move. They were frightened and confused. Their initial response to the reports and the evidence of the resurrection was disbelief. Now they are hiding behind locked doors, grieving in the safety of their own quarters. Life seemed to have closed in on them and it now seemed impossible for them continue the ministry that they had when Jesus was with them.
Their faith had been tried and tested, and when all was said and done, most of them ran for the hills. One had even denied ever knowing him. Talk about defeated. We find this morning that they are still in disbelief. They were overwhelmed, just like some of you are today. And before he returned to his rightful place in Heaven there were final things he wanted to do for his disciples. He still offers to do these for his followers today.
FIRST, HE TURNED THEIR PANIC INTO PEACE (vv. 39-43)
But into this scene walks the very last person they expected to see, Jesus. In fact his presence so startled them that his first words to them were “Peace, be with you.” Their leader who they thought was gone, now stood before them. His presence brought forgiveness for the past, joy for the present and hope for the future.
People everywhere search for those things that bring peace. Some search for it through artificial means like drugs and alcohol; some through temporary thrills like sex or some other temporary fix; and some try to find it through use of psychics or New Age mediation. Sooner or later, usually sooner, each of these prove inadequate and spiritually bankrupt. When this happens the seeker is left even more troubled and less peaceful than before. So where can true peace be found?
In verse thirty-six we find, “Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." (37) But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. (38) And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? (39) Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." (40) When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. (41) But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" (42) So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. (43) And He took it and ate in their presence.”
Jesus first words to this group of bewildered and fearful disciples were, “Peace be with you.” In the original Greek it is simply two words. Here in the south we would render it, “Peace y’all” Then in verse thirty-eight he asked them a question, “Why are you troubled?” The word troubled literally means “to be stirred up.” Because they were so stirred up and afraid Jesus did two things to reassure his disciples that it was indeed Him and not a ghost.
First, He allowed them to touch Him. He wanted them to understand the He not mere an apparition.
Secondly, he asked for and received something to eat. Everyone knows that ghost don’t eat, right?
Have you ever asked someone “How are you doing?” only to have them reply, “All right under the circumstances?” Someone has said, “Circumstances are like a mattress. If you are under either of them you will suffocate but if you get on top of it, you can rest.” We have a choice to make we can either focus on our circumstances in which case we will be constantly stirred up or we can focus on Christ. The great old hymn of the faith says,
“Turn Your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full into His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
In the light of His glory and grace.” [Praise: Our Songs and Hymns. (Grand Rapids: Singspiration Music, 1979) p. 284.]
WILL YOU ALLOW HIM TO TURN YOUR PANIC INTO PEACE?
SECONDLY, HE TURNED THEIR CONFUSION INTO CLARITY (vv. 44-48)
“Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." (45) And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (46) Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (47) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And you are witnesses of these things.”