Summary: Third Sunday of Easter, Year B
Luke 24: 36b – 48 / If Jesus Stood Among Us
Intro: Have you ever met someone really famous? --- The most famous person I ever met was John Y. Brown. When I met him he was married to Phyllis George and owned KFC. When I first met him, I didn’t recognize him. I was on the cleaning crew for the International Offices of KFC and was responsible for cleaning the executive suite.
I. If Jesus was to walk through this door today, what would you expect? Things hadn’t turned out for the disciples as they had expected. There is a progression of emotions:
A. Those in the room are already on edge thinking all the “what ifs” that life could bring there way.
B. Jesus appears and they are startled. It was unexpected, out-of-the-ordinary. They thought they were seeing a ghost. They are not prepared.
C. They move from being startled to being downright terrified and I don’t think it was because they thought they saw a ghost. They were “caught.” --- They were found out! Verse 44 – The disciples were A.W.O.L. They weren’t where they were supposed to be or doing what they were supposed to be doing. If we are not actively involved in building up God’s church in this community, then we too are Absent With Out Leave!
II. Verse 45 – 48 –“YOU ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS.”
A. With open minds, the disciples are to go to all nations proclaiming repentance and forgiveness.
B. Open minds would result in open mouths that proclaimed the good news of Christ Jesus.
C. The church is not a consumer based needs gratification center. It is not a glorified Community Christ club, nor is it a place to be coddled, served, catered to and entertained. The church is the army of God called from behind closed doors to do battle with sin and evil in our world.
III. In many ways we are like those disciples long ago. The word of God calls us to peace rather than security. Our society seems to be mostly concerned with security: national security as well as personal security. Often what keeps us from moving beyond our doors is fear.
A. Behind locked doors each one of us is hiding. Our fear may be personal, like hearing the word “cancer.” Our fear may be unemployment, loneliness, loss terrorist attacks, not being able to pay our bills or even death.
B. Hiding behind locked doors may help us feel secure, but we are still left with our fears and mistrust. Sticking your head in the ground like an ostrich will not make the fear or the problems go away. The passage from Luke asks us, “How are we to be released from those fears in order to be a proper witness?”
C. We must move from knowing ABOUT Christ Jesus to KNOWING Christ Jesus. If we KNOW Jesus we understand that Jesus conquered the ultimate threat, death and any fears we have are groundless.
Conclu: The challenge to 21st Century Christians is great. Are we able to let go of our desire to be secure, whatever that may look like? We must find hope in knowing and doing the word of God. We must learn to act as though Jesus were right here watching everything we do or don’t do! If we believe in the resurrected Jesus, then we must live as though he is present and working beside us to set the world free from fear. Would we act differently is Jesus stood among us?