Summary: Sermon 3 in an after-Easter series.
Jesus Commissions His Fearful Followers
Sermon # 3 in After Easter Series: Close Encounters with the Risen Lord
April 22, 2018
TEXT: Please turn in your bibles to Luke 24.
Illus. – Lee Eclov tells of a dear friend who gave him a small cross adorned with roses bearing the inscription, “Hope raises no dust.” He read that phrase and tried his best to figure out what in the world it meant. He didn’t want to look dumb, so he didn’t say anything, but just said “Thanks.”
Pondering it for a while, he just had to get to the bottom of its meaning. It had been written on a cross, for crying out loud, so it had to mean something! When he googled the phrase “Hope raises no dust,” he found out that the phrase was originally uttered by Paul Éluard, a French poet associated with Dadaism. When he looked up Dadaism, he found this definition: “The Dada movement tried to express the negation of all current aesthetic and social values and frequently used deliberately incomprehensible artistic and literary methods.” [SHOW LOOK OF SCEPTICISM:] What?!!!! He then read some of Éluard’s other famous quotes, like, “Elephants are contagious,” and, “Earth is blue like an orange.”
All of this brings us back to the phrase, “Hope raises no dust.” You see, everyone believes hope is vital in people’s lives, but most people’s hope is about as vague as the Éluard quote painted on that little cross.
But for Christians, hope is not vague. We have a hope that is real and personal, based on the historical fact of Jesus’s resurrection. We have a hope that stands in front of the empty grave of Jesus and declares, “This world is not the end. Jesus is ALIVE AND WELL! And if we trust in Him, we too can be resurrected and have eternal life.”
We have been looking at some of Christ’s appearances to His disciples in our series on “Close Encounters with the Risen Lord.”
The first sermon in the series was, “Jesus Restores a Defeated Disciple” about when Peter was forgiven for his denial of Jesus and restored to Christ’s service.
The second was titled “Jesus Enlightens Some Dim-sighted Disciples” about three appearances of Jesus in which those who saw Him did not recognize Him because of grief, sorrow, loss of hope, busyness and just plain moodiness; how we too can be clouded from recognizing Jesus in the midst of our own distractions; and how we must look for Jesus in those difficult times in our lives.
Now for today, note with me three things from our text, Luke 24:
I. FIRST, LET’S LOOK AT THE CLOSE ENCOUNTER THESE DISCIPLES HAD WITH THE RISEN LORD IN VERSE 36.
First let’s examine the context of this verse. In verses 13-35, Luke tells us that Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, which we looked at last week. Once they recognized Him, Jesus vanished from their sight. Luke says in verse 33 that the two Emmaus disciples “found the eleven.” In verse 35, the two Emmaus disciples told the disciples about their close encounter with the risen Lord, how Jesus had expounded the Scriptures to them, and how they didn’t recognize Him until Jesus broke bread in a meal with them—whereupon He vanished from them. Thomas was in that gathering, and apparently did not believe the report of the two Emmaus disciples and left the group before Jesus makes His dramatic appearance, for John 20 tells us that Thomas only saw Jesus eight days later.
As the disciples listened to the report of the two Emmaus disciples, they must have had a mixture of astonishment and bewilderment. By now they knew the tomb was empty, as Peter and John had seen for themselves. The women had reported the empty tomb, and also Mary had reported that she had seen Jesus alive.
The disciples really having trouble processing all this—I mean, really, it all seems impossible, doesn’t it? That brings us to verse 36 – “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, ‘Peace be unto you.’”
II. NEXT NOTICE HOW JESUS’S ASSURES THESE DISCIPLES IN VERSES 37-43.
Can you imagine the reaction the disciples must have had? Verses 37-43 records their reaction, and how Jesus dealt with their reaction. In verse 37, we see that the disciples react in sheer panic. Luke says in verse 37, “But they were terrified and [frightened], and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
When Jesus appeared to the Emmaus road disciples, Luke says that, when Jesus “drew near and went with them” like any other traveler. Nothing particularly shocking about that appearance. But here, Jesus suddenly appeared in the room among them. One moment there He was NOT there, and the next moment—POOF!—there He was! So, you can understand why they were startled and frightened and thought they were seeing a ghost.