Summary: This sermon focuses on the resurrected Christ appearing to His disciples. Along with us having the ability to see Jesus in our everyday life.
So, the ladies have been to the tomb and found it empty, they have told the others and Peter and John have seen for themselves. Everyone has left the tomb except Mary and that’s when strange sightings, supernatural sightings, unbelievable stuff, begins to happen. Mary has an encounter with a risen Jesus and He sends her back to the others with a message, and then the evening comes.
The disciples are behind closed doors, hiding in fear because they are afraid, not of Roman soldiers but of their own people. They are afraid the Jews will be after them next and they will suffer the same fate as Jesus. Then in their darkest hour Jesus comes and stands in their midst and says “Peace be with you” and shows them proof of who he is and what has transpired by showing them His hands and His side as all doubt was erased from their minds. The scripture says they began to rejoice and Jesus gave them some instructions.
I want to make note that the disciple from Missouri wasn’t there it tells us that Thomas or Didymus as he was called wasn’t there, after they told him of Jesus he basically said, “whatever, I need to see it for myself before I believe it, you gotta show me, I need to touch the scars, I need to see some hard evidence before I believe this nonsense ya’ll are telling me.” Well, lo and behold Jesus returns eight days later and Thomas is there, Jesus shows up in a shut room and offers them peace and speaks to Thomas “ “Come here, touch my hands, touch my side and believe.” So Thomas when confronted with hard evidence believes. Jesus then says “Blessed are those who have not seen and believe.”
Then John goes on to write to us that Jesus did many other things that are not written in this book. But that he wrote these encounters with Jesus down so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, The Son of God; and that by believing we might have life in His name.
Jesus had already taught His disciples what to do and how to do it by setting the example during His time with them and during these close encounters Jesus not only gave the disciples proof of who He was and that He was alive he also gave them authority & power. He gave them the same authority that He had been given by the Father and then He breathed the Holy Spirit into them and friends that is POWER. Now at that moment they may not have realized the extent of what was happening but later on they certainly did.
So how does all this relate to us? Well, let me tell you what I think. We all need a close encounter with Jesus and we all have these encounters in different ways but one things for sure in order for us to have an encounter with Jesus we must be in the right place and be open to His presence. Now we aren’t much different than those folks that had locked themselves in that room we tend to encounter Jesus best when we are at our lowest point. Let me explain, as Christians as we journey through life we tend to talk about two places, The Mountaintop & The Valley. Now we all like it when we are on the Mountaintop right? We see the beautiful view and the greenery when we look out over the valley and we feel close to God and we think we would like to stay there forever. But, it seems that when we are on the mountaintop we tend to focus more on the view than on what’s really going on in our relationship with Christ. Things are great and we tend to be at ease and less dependent on our relationships with each other as well as our relationship with God.
Think about this, on the very top of the mountain what grows? Very little, some sparse grass maybe a few small flowers or a couple of scraggly trees. The higher the mountaintop the less growth it has some have only rock, snow & Ice.
It’s nice to get to the mountaintop and look back over the climb and see where we have been but we need to realize that we can’t stop, we must continue on and walk with Christ down the mountain and through the valley until we reach the next peak. It’s nice on the mountaintop but we tend to have those close encounters with Jesus when we are in the valley.
We encounter Christ in the same place the disciples did, in the time of our greatest need, in the sadness of life when we are hurting and grieving. When we lock everyone out because we just don’t know how we can continue on because we are so scared that we are next, or that the whole world is against us and that no one really cares. That’s the place that most of us encounter Jesus. When we are in the midst of pain, we cry out to Jesus, when we are hurting – We cry out to Jesus, when we have nowhere else to turn – We cry out to Jesus. When we are at our lowest, when we think we just can’t go on, Jesus appears and says “Peace be with you” and somehow we know that everything is going to be ok. So we get up and He washes our face and dries our tears and we rest in His presence and continue on.