Summary: Jesus impacted millions of people 2,000 years ago. But what about the billions of people alive today? The Jesus of history is the Christ of faith. A look at what the LIVING AND RESURRECTED Jesus is doing for us today...
What Is Jesus Doing In Your Life Today?
By Stephen H. Becker, M.Div.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church—Elk Grove
Sunday, April 6th, 2008; 3rd Sunday of Easter
Evening Contemporary Services
Do you know the greatest recorded event in human history? This event is a fact of history, written about by many individuals who either saw the event themselves or spoke with eye witnesses. Is it Columbus’ arrival in America? Is it the D-Day invasion of Normandy or perhaps the detonation of the first nuclear bomb over Hiroshima? Or maybe is it Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon? These are all climactic human events in the history of our world. None of these events are disputed. In fact, each one of these events has much written about it. But they are not “the” event that I am talking about here my friends. No, what I am referring to is the resurrection of Jesus Christ: a historical fact. Now, there are those who have tried to pervert history. There are nay-sayers who say Jesus’ resurrection was a fable, a story, a sham, or whatever. But regardless of what they are anyone says, Jesus’ resurrection is a historical fact; it’s literally the turning-point in human history; it is a real fact that impacted millions of people 2,000 years ago and continues to impact billions of people today. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is more powerful than the nuclear bomb of Hiroshima or Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon. And tonight, we’re going to look what this historical fact is doing for you and your life today. What is Jesus doing in your life today? Let’s pray open with prayer…
Last week in the message we looked at this guy who got the unfortunate name of “doubting” Thomas. I suggested that we are all “doubting Thomases” at times but that God never stops loving us, even when we doubt. It seems amazing that Thomas, who was an eye witness to Jesus’ life and ministry had to see and touch Jesus’ resurrected body in order to believe that Jesus lives! And the message tonight is even more profound in that these two men walking along were talking about this huge event that had just happened in Jerusalem, in fact the most profound event in the history of the world—the scandalous and sensational execution by crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth—this Jesus guy who Himself had been healing the sick, raising the dead and was even called “the King of the Jews.” These walking men were talking about it; they obviously know most of the details, maybe even saw Jesus as He dragged His cross through the village, and then, as they’re walking along, Jesus Himself appears to them and they don’t recognize the Lord for Who He is. Jesus appears and they just think He’s a fellow traveler, just like they are. They continue to talk about Jesus, not knowing that in fact they are talking with Jesus.
I think the dialogue between Jesus and these traveling men is so revealing. Why can’t they see Jesus for Who He is? How come they can’t see Jesus at work in their lives right in this very moment? Friends, has that ever happened to you? Because, you know, Jesus is always at work in your life. Always, in good times and in bad. Certainly these men couldn’t see this fact. So Jesus asks them interrogating questions in order to lead and guide them into understanding the importance of these events that they had just witnessed. I like how Jesus opens the conversation by asking them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” Now of course its generally accepted that its rude to answer a question with another question, but one of these men, named Cleopas, basically asks Jesus, “what else would we be talking about? I mean, where you have been, on the moon or something? Haven’t you heard about this great scandal, about the things that have just happened here in these last few days?” How ironic when you think that he’s asking Jesus these questions! And then Jesus’ answer is great, “hmm…what things?”
Although these guys open their dialogue with calling Jesus a prophet, “powerful in word and deed before God and all people,” the rest of their dialogue, although correct, reveals that they don’t really understand the importance of the crucifixion and resurrection. They do reveal that they had hoped that Jesus was the promised Messiah, that Jesus would be the One to finally deliver and free Israel. But to them, it couldn’t be the case because the Jews and the Romans killed Jesus. To them, Jesus was just another false prophet. Maybe a good guy, but a false prophet.
And yet these men knew that Jesus said that He had to die and would be raised again on the third day. And they reported to Jesus that some people had just been reporting that they had heard that Jesus had risen from the dead. These men are just like the Jewish Pharisees…it’s all right there, right in front of their eyes. And yet they can’t put two and two together. The Jews couldn’t see Jesus for Who He was and so they killed Him. And these men couldn’t see the Savior of the world working in their lives. In fact, Jesus is walking with them, they’re talking about Jesus, and yet they can’t see Him for who He is. And friends, if you can’t see Jesus for Who He is, its pretty tough to see what it is that Jesus is doing for you. So how do we go about recognizing Jesus in our lives?