Summary: Jesus really is alive. He addresses fear, and doubt. And He empowers us by the Holy Spirit to share what we have seen with others who have not seen.
What Happens When We See Jesus? Series: Seeing Jesus
Luke 24:35-49 Apr 22, 2007
Intro (before Corporate Prayer):
A small boy once approached his slightly older sister with a question about God. "Susie, can anybody ever really see God?" he asked.
Busy with other things, Susie curtly replied: "No, of course not silly. God is so far up in heaven that nobody can see him."
Time passed, but his question still lingered so he approached his mom: "Mom, can anybody ever really see God?" "No, not really," she gently said. "God is a spirit and he dwells in our hearts, but we can never really see Him."
Somewhat satisfied but still wondering, the youngster went on his way. Not long afterwards, his saintly old grandfather took the little boy on a fishing trip. They were having a great time together - it had been an ideal day. The sun was beginning to set with unusual splendor as the day ended. The old man stopped fishing and turned his full attention to the exquisite beauty unfolding before him.
On seeing the face of his grandfather reflecting such deep peace and contentment as he gazed into the magnificent ever-changing sunset, the little boy thought for a moment and finally spoke hesitatingly:
"Granddad, I - I - wasn’t going to ask anybody else, but I wonder if you can tell me the answer to something I’ve been wondering about a long time - can anybody - can anybody ever really see God?".
The old man did not even turn his head. A long moment slipped by before he finally answered. "Son," he quietly said. "It’s getting so I can’t see anything else."
A Prayer Exercise:
I want to begin this time of prayer with a question: in this past week, where did you see God? I’ll back up a bit while you think about that: last week I issued a challenge, as we start a new season in the Christian year, moving from the cross and the empty tomb at Easter and towards the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes in power: the challenge was this: to set aside 10 minutes each day to see God: 10 minutes of reading your Bible and praying, with the desire to see God. So I want to follow up with the question: where have you seen God in the past week? Doesn’t have to be in your ten minutes, but I hope some of them are!
Where do we need to see God at work, and what do we really need Him to do?
In this new season, between Easter and Pentecost, we are looking for Jesus by re-telling the stories about His appearances between the resurrection and the time He was carried up into heaven. Scripture says there were forty days, where Jesus appeared to His followers to prove He was alive and to teach. Last week we looked at Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene, right outside the empty tomb. This morning, we are going to look at a story that happened later that same day…
The story begins on a road. Two disciples, we don’t know their names, but they are leaving Jerusalem and walking seven miles to a place called Emmaus – more than a 2 hour walk. They are perplexed, trying to figure out what the cross means, trying to understand what went wrong, what happens next, they are deep in conversation when a man suddenly joins them and their conversation, and begins to walk with them, ask them questions, hear their story, and then He responds. In Luke we are told that they didn’t recognize it was Jesus, but it was and Jesus begins to teach as they walk along and He walks them through the OT Scriptures and made it very clear to them that everything that happened to Jesus was exactly the way Scripture said it would happen. There is more to the story, but eventually they are able to see that it IS Jesus, and so in their great excitement they jump up and walk all the way back to Jerusalem – another 2+ hours, and here is what happens:
Luke 24:35-49 (NLT)
35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.