Summary: This sermon explores three transformations that take place in the lives of people who encounter the resurrected Christ.
I remember a geography lesson I received while in Primary School in South Africa. We learned that the southernmost tip of Cape Town, South Africa is Cape Point, which has experienced treacherous storms over the centuries. For many years no one knew what lay beyond that cape, for no ship attempting to round that point had ever returned to tell the tale. Among the ancient mariners it was known as the Cape of Storms, and for good reason.
But then a Portuguese explorer in the fifteenth century named Vasco De Gama successfully sailed around that very point and found beyond the wild raging storms, a great calm sea, and beyond that, the shores of India. The name of that cape was later changed from the Cape of Storms to the Cape of Good Hope.
Until Jesus Christ rose from the dead, death had been the cape of storms on which all hopes of life beyond had been wrecked. No one knew what lay beyond that point until, on that first Easter morning, Jesus rose from the dead, giving us new hope for life beyond the grave.
Suddenly, like those ancient mariners, people could see beyond human death to the good hope of eternal life in heaven. More than that, we now dare to believe that we can experience in our own human bodies what Jesus experienced in his, for the risen Christ says to us, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).
And because Jesus is alive, he is now in the process of transforming people. He is transforming people whose lives are so often filled with storms to lives filled with good hope.
I want you to notice how Jesus started transforming lives on the very first day of his resurrection from the dead. Please pay attention as I read to you from John 20:19-31:
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”