Summary: God's presence will convince a skeptic and God's power will draw a crowd, are we witnessing to the presence and power of the living Christ?
I love it that we can linger a few weeks just taking in the wonderful message of Easter, with our focus upon the risen Lord, as we read accounts of Him walking on this earth after he broke forth out of that tomb. He is ALIVE!
If the salvation story had ended at the crucifixion, our faith would be dependent upon a dead man and really would be no different from all those who follow the teachings of Buddha and other long-buried religious men.
But not us, no not us!
We have it on reliable authority that he arose from the dead and was seen by over five hundred people. He walked, talked, ate and met with friends in a body that was his familiar and touchable self, scars and all, yet which moved freely through locked doors, and could appear and disappear instantly.
Both the passages in our scripture this morning point to the fact that Jesus is powerfully alive and working among us even to this day.
God’s presence will convince a skeptic…
Right here in Luke it says when he appeared to the disciples after he was risen, they were troubled and doubts rose in their minds.
(I am so glad it didn’t say that they just acted like it was a normal visit by their old friend, Jesus.)
I mean, man, if the risen Christ isn’t an amazing dude, then I am not sure he would convince anybody he was God’s death-defying son!
I am glad that the Bible never glosses over our human short-comings.
Jesus realized right away that they had a lot of doubts about him. And he knew they wanted to touch him and prove to themselves he was more than a dream or a ghost.
But the scripture says they still couldn’t believe it…for the joy and amazement of it all.
So he ate a piece of fish….mmm (It says ‘broiled’ but I’m sure it was fried, aren’t you?) Or maybe it would have been but there was nothing specially prepared for supper because they didn’t expect him to come that night!
Now I want you to know that Jesus didn’t eat that fish because he was hungry… he had just gone home to eat with the two he met on the road to Emmaus! But he wanted to convince them he had a real physical body.
Jesus always goes beyond our expectations.
He said, yes, it is I, let me show you in all of these ways…but also remember that:
I TOLD YOU SO…..
Verse 44 in Luke 24 says….I told you everything must be fulfilled that was written in the law and the Prophets.
And verse 45 says “He opened their minds so that they could understand the scriptures.”
Ahh, that’s what we need….an open mind and the teacher himself standing over us explaining how all the prophecies fit.
You know the author is available to you today anytime you want to study the Bible.
The very person of Jesus Christ comes to us in the form of the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach us when we ask, seek and knock.
Just say, “Here I am Lord, getting ready to open the Bible now and I need you to explain what you wrote. I know this whole book is about you, so point out all the places I might miss seeing you in the details of someone else’s story, or in the foretelling that the prophets wrote about.”
Jesus told them, “This is what is written: Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the 3rd day and repentance and forgiveness will be preached in his name.”
“YOU are witnesses of these things.”
He is saying, if you guys don’t get it, who will?
You were told in advance, and then you lived through what was prophesied, and now you are the ones who must go and tell what you know to be true.
We were given that same command by Christ…to be his witnesses to our world in our day.
There is a story that a man built a large and beautiful church in a town and when the people came to see it for the first time they were amazed that there were no lights installed. The man explained that he had put hooks all along the wall and each family would be given a lamp to bring each time they attended church.
Mmm, would the church be lighted well if it depended upon our attendance?
That is a good way to illustrate how we must all bring the light of Jesus’s story to the dark corners where we live.
Another clever pastor had been disturbed because his church attendance was dropping off so much. So he announced he was going to have a funeral for the church the next Sunday. Well, of course this aroused so much curiosity he had a packed house that next week. When they got to church they were told just to go up front and file by the coffin to pay their respects to the dead church. Sure enough, when they looked inside the coffin there was a mirror!