Sermons

Summary: Expository sermon concerning messages Jesus spoke to His disciples: (1)Peace be with you (2)I am sending you (3)Stop doubting and believe. Used video clip from "The Inn of Sixth Happiness" to illustrate being sent.

Messages from our Resurrected Lord

Fortifying the Foundation # 45

John 20:19-31[1]

8-29-04

Come with me this morning to a small house in the city of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. The sun is setting as the first Easter day is coming to a close[2]. Some of Jesus’ closest followers have huddled together in this place trying to make sense of all that has been going on—afraid of what may happen next. They have securely locked[3] the doors out of fear for what the Jewish leaders may do. The news of the empty tomb has already reached the temple priests. The response of those Jewish leaders was predictable. They have hatched a lie that served their purposes and bribed the guards to say that the disciples have stolen Jesus’ body (Matt. 28:11-15). It is a fearful time. But it is also a time filled with unexpected, exciting news. Mary Magdalene and other women have reported seeing Jesus alive. Even Peter has seen him. Everyone has an opinion as to what it all means. Suddenly there is a knock at the door. I think every heart pounded a little faster when they heard that knock. Was it the authorities coming to arrest them? What would happen next? Everyone is relieved as Cleopas and another disciple enter the room. They seem excited and begin sharing what had just happened to them in Emmaus. As they were walking to that village a stranger had joined them and began to ask questions. They told him about the events surrounding Jesus’ death. They told him about strange reports coming from women who had seen him alive. For the rest of the journey this stranger explained all kinds of scriptures concerning the suffering and glory that the Messiah would experience. By the time they got to Emmaus a friendship had developed so they invited the man to join them for supper. It was there at the supper table as the stranger began breaking the bread and blessing the meal that they suddenly realized that this was Jesus himself. They are still telling their story when suddenly right there with them is Jesus![4]

What will Jesus say to them?

1st he says to them, “Peace be with you”.

That was a common greeting and probably one he had spoken to them many times. But in this situation it was more than a greeting. It was a message!

Luke tells us that when Jesus appeared they thought he was a ghost and were terrified—freaked out by someone suddenly appearing in the room when all the doors were locked. They had already been plenty jumpy over what the Jewish leaders might do to them. That’s why the doors were locked in the first place. Suddenly Jesus appears and they are scared out of their wits.[5]

What does Jesus do? He calms their fears. “Peace be with you.” That was certainly something they needed. “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love and of power and of a sound mind.”[6] Fear has torment and these disciples were being tormented by thoughts and vain imaginations. Have you ever been fearful of what might happen next in your life? In recent months I have had times when I would suddenly feel my gut tighten with fear. I couldn’t even associate it with an event. But I did know where it was coming from. “God has not given us the spirit of fear...” That’s what the devil wants to give us. And it is a spirit we are authorized to resist.

What a strange thing is happening in that room. The Prince of Peace has come to them and they are afraid. He is the very one who can calm all their fears. He is the one who had told them before his death, (John 14:27) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. But here they are very afraid. He proves to them that he is not a spirit, not a ghost. He shows them his hands and side. They see clearly that this is indeed the resurrected Christ.

At that moment of revelation their fears are gone. Their sorrow is turned to joy. Their hopes are revived. Isn’t it amazing how the presence of Jesus can turn our world around? Maybe I shouldn’t put it that way exactly. Since Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” maybe I should say it this way. Their awakening to his presence is what turned their world around. Are you aware of his presence in your life today? Are you mindful of him as you go through your daily duties at work? We may discover more peace in our lives if we learn to nurture our awareness of his presence. The more we partner with him during the day, the more we commune with him in our spirit, the more we depend upon him for guidance and strength, the more conscious we become of his presence with us.

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