Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus always being present.

NEWSFLASH – Jerusalem day 3 A.D. – Panic at Passover. As reported to the Jerusalem Starry Times – The body of the prophet known as Jesus, son of Joseph, the wandering prophet who was executed by crucifixion last Friday appears to be missing from the tomb it was laid in. More amazingly then that several of his disciples are concocting an incredible story that in fact the body is not actually missing but that Jesus has risen from the dead. Roman authorities are searching out these disciples to administer blood and psychiatric testing. A source speaking on the condition of anonymity has stated that should these individuals be found to be intoxicated or high they will be locked away until their actions can be properly dealt with. The commandant of Pilot’s elite Roman Guard has stated that that charges of inciting a public riot are not out of the question.

The following is a press release just received from the Office of the Governor – the Honorable Pontius Pilate (he who turned Jesus over for crucifixion) –

Dear Citizens,

You will have no doubt heard some rumors floating around Jerusalem at this time about this man Jesus.

I want to state on the record and quite categorically that whatever might have happened – and we don’t know whether anything has happened – but if it has, which it might have, then it has, in all probability nothing to do with me.

I wasn’t even here at the time it happened, if it did happen. I’m not entirely sure where I was, but I was probably a long way from here making very tough decisions which I’m very good at, actually.

Signed – Everybody’s friend, Pontius Pilate.

(Letter taken from “The Tabloid Bible”

A source within the Governor’s mansion, again speaking on the condition of anonymity, has informed us that when Pilate was initial told of these reports he completely lost it – throwing his almost full goblet of very expensive 75 B.C. red Gathsemene Grape Delight wine against the wall while shout, NOT HIM AGAIN.

Oh yes, that first Easter Sunday did anything but calm those who were wondering what to do next with their lives. Ten of Jesus’ chosen twelve were huddled away in fear, behind locked doors, Thomas was probably off mourning in private, when the unthinkable happened. Jesus appears in the midst of them. In his calming voice he simply says, “Peace be with you.” In fact with his presence there one would think that would have given them all the peace they could have asked for. He proved it was him by showing the very visible signs of his death. I am sure this must have given them some peace, but his next words may have taken it away. “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Can you just imagine their thoughts at that moment. You mean you want us to go out into the public? Don’t you realize that the authorities are looking for us? I’m afraid of needles, and I don’t want just anyone drawing my blood out of me, never know when I might need it. Besides, you never know who, or what, was last stuck with the silly thing.

Obviously, these gentlemen were being just as obedient to the crucified and risen Christ as they were to him before all these things happened. A week later, when Jesus reappears to them, there they are still in the same house with the doors shut, only all of them are there at this time, even Thomas. And Thomas’ presence has unfortunately given him a place of infamy in history he probably doesn’t deserve. Could you just imagine the week he had been through. If that was me, I could hear me saying the same thing – Paraphrasing: Unless I have the physical proof I won’t believe. I could imagine he probably thought that this was just some sick, ill-timed practical joke the rest of the guys were playing on him, to get him going. And don’t tell me you wouldn’t have thought the same thing.

Isn’t amazing that Jesus didn’t find the disciples, at least 10 of them in the streets singing “Joy to the Lord?” Ooops, it wasn’t written yet. Well the should have wrote it.

One of the most often missed, yet important, facts of this passage is Thomas’ reaction the following week when he proclaims who Jesus is – “my Lord and God.” In those words Thomas is actually singing Joy to the world the savior’s come. Of course Jesus accepts happily accepts Thomas’ belief in him yet states those who believe without seeing, what they think they must see, are truly faithful. Many, many things about this passage are as true today as they were when the Jerusalem Starry times reported them way back during that panic filled Passover that was the stage for the greatest show of love, humility, sacrifice and grace that ever did, or will, occur on this planet. This small portion of God’s creation we live upon.

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