Summary: Jesus spoke about you on Resurrection Sunday when He said to His disciples, ”Because you have seen Me, you believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” It iis a blessing beyond description to know the Resurrected Lord.
Read John 19:30
Today is Resurrection Sunday. Have you let the Resurrected Lord change your life? Then Jesus spoke about you on Resurrection Sunday so many years ago when He said to His disciples, ”Because you have seen Me, you believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” I’m sure you will agree that is a blessing beyond description to know the Resurrected Lord.
Yet have you ever thought about what it must have been like to have been one of those who did see Him – see Him after the resurrection. At least 500 people could have claimed that blessing.
Well, using a little holy imagination, just maybe we can make a visit with one of those who saw Him. You have to understand that the one I’m referring to has some age on him by now. But let’s drop in on him for a few moments. So put on your imagination glasses and picture a clearing with a few large rocks and some grassy spots. In fact our eye witness has claimed one of those large rocks for himself. He is about to address us and others who have come out to hear him tell his story.
Shalom. Come have a seat – there a few rocks to rest yourself on – or find a grassy spot.
Thank you for coming out to hear an old man jabber on. In fact I never tire of telling this story you are about to hear. What happened to me has changed my life permanently. That is why I have decided to tell my story to anyone who will listen. I guess I’ve related these events hundreds of times. My name is Cleopas – but my friends call me Cleo.
You might have heard someone speak of this day as Resurrection Day. Do you know what they are referring to? This is where my story comes in. Resurrection Day occurred about 19, 20, 21 years ago. I’m not sure exactly, but what I am sure about is that I met the One who was raised from the dead on the day that He rose. Yes! I thought that would stir your interest. But you have no idea how exiting that real life event was and still is.
Let me begin this way. My wife and I, as Jews, had gone up to Jerusalem to observe the Passover – an event we attended every year. We were hoping also to see Jesus, our beloved teacher. I remember being filled with expectation and joy during the three hour walk from our quiet little village of Emmaus to the bustling big city. My mind was full of excitement wondering if Jesus would use this opportunity to proclaim who we believed Him to be – our long-awaited Messiah – and would He begin His move to reestablish a Jewish nation and sit on the throne of David.
Now, you may ask, “What was so special about this Jesus that made you believe He was the Messiah”? Jesus was perfectly exceptional. He worked all kinds of miracles. He healed more people than I can count – some of whom, in fact, were people who had been ill and crippled from birth. He freed people who long had been possessed of demons. He even raised the dead. There was simply no limit to His abilities.
But it was not only His miracles – it was His teaching. He was a great story teller. Now, I’ve tried to improve my story telling skills over the years, but He was the master story teller. Every story made me think. Every story challenged my established beliefs. Every story gave me new insight into our Scriptures, into God’s involvement with humankind, and into my specific life. Every story left me wanting to hear more. Yet His teaching also revealed how much of the accepted religious thinking of our day was contrary to our own Scriptures. That didn’t set well with our religious leaders. They would often prepare a debate; send their chosen spokesman to corner Jesus in a clever argument, to discredit Him before the growing crowds. Time and time again they returned having their argument showed to be full of flaws. This carpenter from Nazareth knew the Scriptures better than men who had studied them for years.
With Jesus it was impossible to be neutral. People were either for Him – believing Him to be a great prophet or even the promised Messiah – OR – people were against Him – believing He was an imposter and for some a very dangerous person. I wish you could have seen the crowds that gathered around the gate in Jerusalem to hail Jesus as king when He arrived for the Passover. People of all ages were shouting out of joy and laying palm branches along the path He traveled. Those folks were all for Him. But they were not the only ones who had strong opinions about Him. The hatred in the hearts of our religious authorities was much deeper than I could have ever imagined. It had reached the boiling point. But more of that in a moment.