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The Appearance of Jesus Christ Part 1

The Last Days of Jesus Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Do you know about Jesus or do you know Jesus?

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Introduction - Do I know you?
A handful of years ago, Julie and I were playing a game with some friends called “Like it or Lump it”
In the game, you have cards with words on them like “Cars, Fish, Vacation”.
You then give a person a card, they rank the cards from the one they Like down to the one they Lump - or dislike
You then get points for those answers based on how highly ranked your card is - but if yours is the last card, you lose points.
So, when it was Julie’s turn to rank the cards, I smiled, took a card and played it face down and sat back knowing I would win this round.
You can imagine my surprise when she put my card, “Chocolate Covered Cherries” on the very bottom!
I was shocked! I said, “But … you love cherries and chocolate. And you love chocolate covered strawberries. How?”
And she said, “It’s that gooey stuff around the cherry. That’s disgusting.” And, to be fair, I’ve never actually witnessed her eating a chocolate covered cherry.
Just when you think you know a person - but that happens a lot, doesn’t it?
People have a way of surprising you.
And just when you think you know a person, here they come out of nowhere with a shocking revelation.
Today, we will continue to explore the implications of the resurrection by looking at a text that dives into this very idea.
Do you know about Jesus or do you know Jesus?
Because there is a difference between the two - like the difference between knowing about your wife’s likes and actually knowing them.
The Scriptures Misunderstood
EX - These two people from Emmaus knew the facts, but they didn’t understand.
As we continue in our text today, we have two people heading home after the Passover celebration.
It is Sunday afternoon, they most likely spent the Passover Sabbath in Jerusalem.
And like all good people do on their way home from worship, they were talking about all the things that had happened.
And, as they were discussing all that happened, who shows up but Jesus?
Now, imagine if Jesus came over to your table at lunch today after church.
You might be just a little excited.
These two might have been, but Jesus hid himself from them according to verse 16.
During their conversation, it becomes quite clear that they did not understand what happened.
Oh, they had the facts alright. They also had the Scriptures and the Prophets.
But they did not understand why the tomb was empty.
They did not understand that Jesus had to die and rise again. Jesus foretold it. But so did the Scriptures.
The problem was they misunderstood. And if we don’t know the Scriptures, then we won’t know Jesus.
If we misunderstand the Scriptures, then we might just miss Jesus all together.
So, when Jesus asks what they are talking about, they are a bit surprised that he doesn’t appear to know.
But they relay the facts as they saw them!
Jesus, a mighty prophet was killed by the religious people. We hoped that he would be the one to redeem Israel.
But he’s dead, but there is an empty tomb and … we’re confused.
These two were not confused out of ignorance. They had the scriptures. They were confused out of negligence.
These two were known by the disciples. They had, most likely heard Jesus preach multiple times.
At the end of our text today, we see that they go and tell the disciples and those with them about the lessons they had learned from Jesus.
But we read in that
John 20:19 ESV
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
The doors were locked because the disciples were still afraid. They wouldn’t have just let anyone in.
This is important because these two were people who most likely had heard Jesus preach. They had heard his teachings.
But just like the others, they knew what Jesus said, they just didn’t process what He said and they didn’t understand how it all fit together.
IL -
IL - We stand on the Word of God
If you hang out with other people who have been part of our movement, you’ll hear the phrase “Where stands it written”. A lot.
What it means is that we as a church and denomination stand on the Word of God for all that we believe.
Where the Bible speaks, we obey.
Where the Bible is silent, we practice charity.
In fact, our statement of faith says, “Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.”
We are, quite simply, people of the book. But why?
For the past few sermons, you have heard me challenge us to not just be hearers of Jesus’ words but instead to be believers of it as well.
I think that passages like this demonstrate to us the importance of knowing the Scriptures and basing our faith and practice on them.
We need to be people who grow closer to Jesus through careful study and application of the Word.
And that is not to say that we don’t struggle with the teachings and what they mean or how they all fit together
AP - Jesus demonstrates that we must be people who go back to the Scriptures.
We need to remember that Jesus didn’t come just to teach us how to live nice lives.
In other words, everything about our lives must be influenced and informed by the Scriptures.
Jesus came to teach us what life is like in His Kingdom and how to get into His Kingdom.
Lik
We must be people who view everything in the world through the lens of Scripture, rather than the other way around.
IL - You must unlearn what you have learned.
Jesus didn’t come to tell us how to be kind to each other. He came to tell us that in His Kingdom, people are kind to one another because they are transformed by the living God.
We need to view the world and the events of the world through the lens of the Bible - not the other way around.
For many people, preconceptions are what get in the way the most.
He didn’t come to redeem Israel by liberating her from Rome. He came to redeem Israel by redeeming her from the bondage of sin.
I think the stumbling block for these two - why they were sad and couldn’t seem to believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead - is because they neglected to view the events of the day through the lens of the Scriptures.
Even in the accounts of the Resurrection, there are differences in the narratives.
We need to be people who listen to Jesus and his teaching - not as a way to please him but as a way to a deeper relationship with him. Not just to know about Him, but to actually know him.
And in case you think I’m being too hard on these two - I am simply going by what Jesus said in
Luke 24:25–26 ESV
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
Jesus calls them foolish not because they didn’t recognize him physically but because they didn’t believe that the Messiah was to come and suffer and die.
And that is where Jesus takes us because the Scriptures foretold everything that they were talking about.
And then, use that relationship to partner with Jesus in what He is doing to spread his Kingdom influence all over this world.
The Scriptures Foretold
EX - Jesus goes to an unusual source to validate his resurrection - the Scriptures
I say unusual because the resurrected Jesus IS RIGHT THERE!
Granted, Jesus hid their vision, but why would Jesus make an appeal back to Scripture.
Why didn’t he just show them himself and say, “Here I am! Now, believe!”
I think the reason for this is two fold
He knew that He wouldn’t be available indefinitely to personally show each person.
First, we need to see a pattern that Luke is driving at in chapter 24 here.
Last week, he deals with a misunderstanding about Jesus’ teachings.
This week, he is dealing with a misunderstanding about the Scriptures.
And next week, he will deal with a misunderstanding about the Kingdom of God - that is wasn’t about restoring a free government to Israel but instead bringing all nations back into relationship with God.
In essence, Luke is taking the events of the day to drive home a point -
You missed Jesus in His teaching
You missed Jesus in the Scripture
You missed Jesus in his Kingdom
So this encounter serves as a rebuke to both these two men but to the reader as well that “Hey - you misunderstood the Scriptures - but thankfully there is a way for you to understand them.
AP - Remember who the hero is
He knew
It’s true! Every story in the Bible is
If you hang out with other people who have been part of our movement, you’ll hear the phrase “Where stands it written”. A lot.
And
What it means is that we as a church and denomination stand on the Word of God for all that we believe.
Where the Bible speaks, we obey.
Where the Bible is silent, we practice charity.
In fact, our statement of faith says, “Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.”
We are, quite simply, people of the book. But why?
I think that passages like this demonstrate to us the importance of knowing the Scriptures and basing our faith and practice on them.
We need to be people who grow closer to Jesus through careful study and application of the Word.
It is easy to forget that the hero of the Bible is Jesus.
AP - Jesus demonstrates that we must be people who go back to the Scriptures.
We read things like Daniel and we want to know how long a week is in the 70 weeks. Or if the churches in Revelation are ages in history or real churches.
In other words, everything about our lives must be influenced and informed by the Scriptures.
We study Scripture not to find out how the world will end or how to be nice to our neighbor.
We must be people who view everything in the world through the lens of Scripture, rather than the other way around.
We study the Bible to find Jesus. To know him. Not about him. But to know him.
The problem was these people let their understanding of who the Messiah was to be and what he would do
It’s why in our Thursday night studies we always ask the question - “Where is Jesus in this text?” Because if you don’t see him, you need to look harder.
John 5:39 ESV
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
John 5:39
Friends, all of the Bible points us to Jesus. Who he is, what he is like, that He is the Messiah and that He is God.
If you misread your Bible and miss these truths about Jesus, then you will miss Jesus.
And if you miss Jesus, you’ll know some things about Him, but you will not know Him.
And if you do not know him - you will miss out on eternal life.
Jesus is the hero, the plot line, the climax … the EVERYTHING about this book and we read it not to learn how to be better people or how to please God - but we read it to know Jesus and how to enter into an everlasting relationship with Him.
The Scriptures Illuminate
EX - When we let Jesus explain the Scriptures, everything changes
The walk back to Emmaus was nearly complete now.
The two disciples were stopping as they had returned home.
But Jesus was going to keep going - but they insisted that he stay because the day was close to ending.
And in this we see that when Jesus stayed with them, he took bread and blessed it and broke it.
This language is meant to remind us of the Passover meal that Jesus ate a few days prior.
It should also remind us of the loaves and fishes as well.
And in both of these, their eyes were opened and the Scriptures tell us that they recognized Jesus.
And then he vanished.
But I love what they said before that. Let’s look again at
Luke 24:32 ESV
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
Did you see that? When Jesus explains the Scriptures it changes a person.
Their eyes were opened and their hearts aflame not because they SAW the Risen Lord in the Flesh but they saw the Risen Lord IN THE WORD OF GOD!
Friends, this is great news for you and me.
Chances are that we won’t get to see Jesus in the flesh until we see him in glory or he comes back to finally dispose of the forces of evil.
But we can see him in the pages of Scripture!
We can see him in the pages of His Word!
IL - Simeon Trust
Last week someone came up to me after the service and thanked me for the way I preach.
Now, I don’t share that to toot my own horn, because it isn’t MY way of preaching - it’s something I’ve learned.
The way I try and preach begins with this premise - “What does this text say and how does it point me to Jesus?”
Thus my job every week is to lead you back to the cross and empty tomb - to remind you that Jesus is the Messiah - the King of all.
And because He is a loving and compassionate King, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, how does this text deepen my faith and relationship with Him?
Too often, we try and read the Bible by saying “How do these ancient texts apply to today?”
And they DO apply - but not without first stopping and marvelling at the cross and empty tomb of Jesus.
To know first and foremost that these ancient texts show us King Jesus. And then King Jesus can show us how the texts apply to today.
And here in our text, we see Jesus doing that very thing.
That all of the Scriptures, from the books of Moses to the Prophets all point us towards the fact that while we were yet sinners, Christ would die for us.
And that the proper response to God’s never yielding love is humble repentance and gratitude.
And that when we love God with ever fiber of our being we fulfill what God has asked of us - and when we don’t, we can find rest and forgiveness in the world of Christ.
AP - Let the Scriptures Show You Jesus
Let us all change how we read the Bible from a book of facts to be learned or a code to be cracked.
May we change from reading the Bible to find out how to be a better parent, spouse or friend.
May we stop reading the Bible to find out what is wrong with society.
And instead of these and so many other false reasons, read your Bible to see Jesus in every page.
Conclusion - Will you seek Jesus?
I heard someone tell me that the call to act in a sermon must be more than simply read your Bible more and pray more.
Almost every text invites you to do that.
And I agree - so today I don’t want to challenge you to read your Bible more - I want to challenge you to read your Bible differently.
Will you read your Bible with the goal of finding out more about Jesus?
Will you make it your aim in reading the Scriptures to read in such a way that you see Jesus as the hero - so that you don’t learn stuff about Jesus but instead get to know Jesus.
Will you ask the question of every text you read “What does this text say about Jesus? What does it teach me about Jesus?”
So, a couple of years ago, for our anniversary, I got Julie some chocolates.
The truth was that I was travelling back from some meetings in Minnesota and I happened to drive right by the Russell Stover outlet (she knows this). So, I’m not some amazing guy.
But, whatever it was I got her, it was perfect.
In fact, Julie said to me, “After 20 some years of marriage, you found the perfect chocolate.”
What she really meant was “After 20 some years of marriage, you get me. You know me.”
Friends, we are to love Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
And, I would argue we should make it our goal to know Jesus better than we know anyone else.
Not just facts about his life - but know him.
These two on the road, they knew facts about Jesus and the Scriptures. But they didn’t know until Jesus opened their eyes.
Maybe Jesus has opened your eyes for the first time today and you finally see him as the risen Messiah.
You see your need to trust in Him and repent of your sins.
If you have, I want to chat with you afterwards. Come find me.
Or maybe you realize today that you’ve had the wrong priorities in reading the Bible.
Maybe you’ve read for secrets about life.
Or maybe you’ve read to try and get God off your back.
Or maybe you’ve read for any number of reasons except to know Jesus personally and intimately.
So let me encourage you today to start reading your Bible with new eyes by simply asking this as you read - “Where is Jesus in this text?”
Make it your point to know Jesus personally today.
Let’s Pray.
Benediction -
Ephesians 3:17–19 ESV
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
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