Summary: Easter Sunday, evening message, 2007
Title: Peace be with you.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
Jesus was led away from the Garden of Gethsemane by temple guards, elders and priests. He was taken before the ruling council and questioned. During that time He was beaten and deprived of sleep and food and water. He was then taken to Pilate, who, after learning that Jesus was from Galilee, sent Him off to Herod. Herod had jurisdiction over the Galilean area, and happened to be visiting Jerusalem. Like Pilate, he examined Jesus but could find no basis for the Jews accusation against him. So, he sent Jesus back to Pilate.
Pilate desired to release him, but finally succumbed to the pressure of the Jewish ruling council to crucify Jesus.
Subsequently, Jesus was led out along with two thieves to a place called the Skull and crucified there. After He gave up the Spirit, His body was taken down by Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, whom the Bible calls a good and upright man, placed Jesus’ body in a tomb that Joseph had purchased for himself.
These events, though briefly described are written about in great detail in the gospels. Additionally, one can find in historical texts and tablets this same event. But, that’s not where we want to focus. What we want to take a look at is His glorious resurrection and what it means to you and me.
Buddha is still in the tomb. Confucius is still in the tomb. Mohammed is still in the tomb. And, all their bones can be found there if you care to look through old musty bones.
But, Jesus on the third day after being placed in the tomb rose again. Like the great light that shone forth on the third day in Genesis 1:14, Jesus, rose from the dead to be a light to all men.
On the third day, the Lord told Moses, in Exodus 19, that He would come down on Mt. Sinai before the sight of all the people. And, when He did the people trembled at the sight of the smoke and the sound of the Lord’s voice.
People still tremble today when they are given the opportunity to put their faith in Jesus. People still tremble today when they are given the opportunity to follow God. Jesus triumphed over death by rising again and loosing Satan’s hold over those that have put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Our scripture focus tonight, Resurrection Sunday, is:
He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
Why are you troubled? You’re free!
Why do you doubt? You’re free!
Why are you troubled? You’re Free!
When the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee rowing against a strong wind, Jesus came by walking on water. Scripture says that He would have kept on walking by, but the disciples called out to Him. He knew they were in trouble, but they almost didn’t recognize the need to call out for Jesus.
When He came to them, He said “Peace be with you.” The NIV says in the book of John, “Do not be afraid.” Which is essentially the same thing that He says when He appeared to the disciple after His resurrection, “Peace be with you.”
Calm your troubled mind… Don’t be afraid, he says, for He is with you until the end of time.
I want to call your attention to one very important detail concerning the last day of Jesus’ life before His death. When He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He appeared before the Jewish ruling council, and before Pilate, then before Herod, then again before Pilate, and as He went to the cross, there is one important thing that is missing. In all of that there is no mention or inference that He doubted, or was afraid or was troubled. The only time when we could possible infer that He might have been afraid is when God had to turn His back on His Son while the sin of the world was laid on Jesus’ shoulders. That was your and my sin, by the way.
Can you picture being without God and His Spirit to guide you? Can you picture being all alone in this world without the Spirit of God to comfort you in those difficult situations? Try as hard as we can, we could never visualize such an occurrence because it would never happen because that is why Jesus went to the cross in the first place!