Summary: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. These words have been on the lips of believers for almost 2000 years. For a few dark days, it appeared that all was lost, as the disciples of Jesus, his closest friends huddled in an upstairs room,
Christ has died …… Christ is risen ……… Christ will come again. These words have been on the lips of believers for almost 2000 years. There is an air of assurance and confidence that all is well in the Christian church. Though for a few dark days, it appeared that all was not well, and in fact all was lost, as the disciples of Jesus, his closest friends huddled in an upstairs room, contemplating their fates. Fear had consumed them and all but crippled them.
What happens next leads this group of down and outs to a new sense of urgency. We must conclude that they saw the risen Jesus; for if they hadn’t, they sold the world the greatest lie ever known.
Before Jesus went up to be with his father in heaven, he visited numerous people. In fact, Luke tells us in the book of Acts that Jesus spent forty days, from the time he rose from the grave to the time he ascended into heaven speaking about the kingdom of God. Paul mentions in his first letter to the Corinthians that he appeared to more than five hundred people before he ascended.
For his disciples, this time was crucial in order that they fully understood the purpose of Jesus’ mission. They also needed to comprehend their new role as the leaders and guardians of the emerging Christian church.
Luke in his gospel gives an account of Jesus appearing before the disciples as a reminder that Christians do not belong behind closed doors. We need Jesus to open our minds up so that we can comprehend his purposes. And if we are going to be the church, reaching out to those who yet do not believe, then we need to wait to receive the power of God’s Spirit to go with us.
READ: Luke 24:36-53
1. Closed Doors
ILLUSTRATION: The 2004 movie, “The Aviator” depicts the life of the eccentric film producer and aviation mogul Howard Hughes. Hughes (Leonardo Di Caprio) becomes a recluse, fearing contact with the outside world. His greatest fear was that through contact with other people, he would pick up germs that would make him sick.
Behind closed doors, it is easy to accept a fate worse than reality. We see this in the actions of the disciples as they contemplate their reality. Questions abound, such as, “did Jesus have to die? Was it wise to attack the religious and political authorities? Did Jesus sabotage his own mission? He said we would take on the injustices, who will now take up that challenge? Why am I here? Can I help?” ... and finally, “No, we are powerless?”
While they were too afraid to come out from hiding, they had to now deal with reports that certain people had seen Jesus ... and he was very alive. One might think that this might comfort them. But somehow I doubt it.
READ: Matthew 28:11-15
They may have believed that Jesus was alive ... but they were likely fearful of the authorities that they wanted this mess with Jesus to go away quickly ... and for peace and calm to full upon the region. The disciples at this point would not want any further trouble for themselves ... other than the trouble they were already in for being associated with Jesus.
This is the reason that the disciples were behind closed doors. They were fearful of being linked with Jesus. So what turned the disciples around? They encountered the risen Jesus.
We as Christians sometimes live behind closed doors. We do so for a whole host of reasons. Whatever our reasons, we cannot afford to stay behind closed doors. Our faith is meant to be lived out in the open. Jesus is alive, and his story deserves to be told to every person.
2. Open Minds
Luke tells us that as the disciples hid behind closed doors, they talking about the possible sightings of Jesus being raised from the dead. At that moment, Jesus entered the room. It is clear that the disciples were not in a frame of mind to “proclaim the good news.” This is why Jesus appeared to them. If they were to continue the mission and ministry of Jesus, they needed to be convinced it was worthwhile.
Jesus’ first words: Peace (v.36)
Jesus’ impact (v.37-38)
1. The disciples were terrified and frightened (v.37)
2. The disciples were troubled and questioning (v.38)
Jesus’ proof (v.39-43)
1. He is flesh and bones (v.39)
2. He shows them his wounds (v.40)
3. He ate with them
4. He talks (v.41-43)
Jesus “Opens their minds” vv. 45-49
Scripture fulfilled (v.44-49)
The forewarning (v.44a)
The utter necessity (v.44b)
The particular prophecies (v.46-49)
1. Christ must suffer and arise (v.46)
2. Repentance and forgiveness must be preached (v.47-48)