Summary: Jesus’ words to the disciples in the days following the Resurrection
MORE THAN KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Did you ever wonder where Jesus was when He wasn’t appearing to people after the Resurrection? My first guess is that He was in Paradise and would come and go from there. I conclude this because He told the thief on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus appeared to the disciples on several occasions to help them in the early days following the Resurrection. They were usually huddled together behind closed doors for fear of what might happen to them because of their association with Jesus. It is just this very case when Jesus first appears to the majority of them.
1. He appeared so they would know their purpose (20:19-23)
Sent as Jesus was sent
a. Proclaim forgiveness (v.23) God forgives, we proclaim…and if people don’t hear how can they call on the Lord?
i. Romans 10:14, 15 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
b. Good works
i. that minister to needs
ii. that validates truth
i. wherever called
ii. whatever circumstance
2. He appeared so they would have unshakable confidence to believe (20:24-31)
a. Thomas was nowhere to be found after the crucifixion. He wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to the women or to those gathered behind locked doors.
b. Thomas wasn’t going to be persuaded to buy into a story. He wanted personal proof. (This skepticism would never be included in a fabricated account.)
c. John tells us, the reader, that these appearances and miracles are recorded so we can believe. God is still active in the miracle business.
i. Illustration-Corrie Ten Boom tells of a time in the German death camp Ravensbruk during WWII. She had smuggled her Bible and a small bottle of liquid vitamins into her barracks. Her sister Betsy was sick and growing sicker but she demanded that Corrie first give a dose of vitamins to all the other sick in their barracks before she would accept any. Corrie tells that a strange thing was happening. The vitamin bottle was continuing to produce drops. It scarcely seemed possible, so small a bottle, so many doses a day. Now in addition to Betsy, a dozen others on our pier were taking it. My instinct was always to hoard it – Betsy was growing so very weak! But the others where ill as well. It was hard to say no to eyes that burned with fever, hands that shook with chill. I tried to save it for the very weakest – but even these soon numbered fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five…. And still, every time I tilted the little bottle, a drop appeared at the tip of the glass stopper. It just couldn’t be! I held it up to the light, trying to see how much was left, but the dark brown glass was too thick to see through. “There was a woman in the Bible,” Betsy said, “whose oil jar was never empty.” She turned tot it in the Book of Kings, the story of the poor widow of Zarephath who gave Elijah a room in her home: “The jar of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the works of Jehovah which he spoke by Elijah.” Well – but – wonderful things happen all through the Bible. It was one thing to believe that such things were possible thousands of years ago, another to have it happen now, to us, this very day. And yet it happened this day, and the next, and the next, until an awed little group of spectators stood around watching the drops fall onto the daily rations of bread. Many nights I lay awake in the shower of straw dust from the mattress above, trying to fathom the marvel of supply lavished upon us. “Maybe,” I whispered to Betsy, “only a molecule or two really gets through that little pinhole – and then in the air it expands!” I heard her soft laughter in the dark. “Don’t try too hard to explain it, Corrie, Just accept it as a surprise from a Father who loves you.” “The Hiding Place” (Corrie Ten Boom) pg. 202-203
ii. Tony Campolo tells a story about being in a church in Oregon where he was asked to pray for a man who had cancer. Campolo prayed boldly for the man’s healing.
That next week he got a telephone call from the man’s wife. She said, "You prayed for my husband. He had cancer." Campolo thought when he heard her use the past tense verb that his cancer had been eradicated! But before he could think much about it she said, "He died." Campolo felt terrible.