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Luke 24.38 thru 48 Don’t We Have a Loving God

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Don’t We Have a Loving God!

 Luke 24:36-48 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 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." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Imagine, the disciples are sitting together discussing Jesus.  “Did you hear what Peter said he saw?”  “Can you believe that Mary heard him…?” Suddenly, amazingly, miraculously Jesus is standing among them.  Wow!   They were “startled and frightened.”  What the?  We were just talking about….where did He come from? They were afraid. They didn’t know what was before them. Jesus in His love blesses them.  “Peace be with you.” Jesus in His divine knowledge knows they’re shocked and afraid.  He says, “Look at my hands and feet,” “touch me and see.”  “It is I myself.”…He is trying to tell them, “You’re senses don’t deceive you, I’m real…I’m alive.” Fear was the first reaction to take hold of the disciples…then there was a different kind of confusion…

Imagine you’re sitting at home in your bathrobe reading the paper, say it’s a Saturday morning.  You’re just about to finish your coffee…and the doorbell rings.  You answer the door and, to your surprise, Ed McMahon is standing at your door… with balloons…and a TV crew.  It takes you a moment to grasp what is happening. You’ve won the Sweepstakes!  And you don’t even remember entering! How do you feel? You’re probably in shock.  Excited!?  Embarrassed…maybe a little.  Well, you’re in your bathrobe.  No way! Then Thrilled!  You’re a millionaire!  Wow! Waaawho!  Yippee!  “Honey, come quick!  You won’t believe it!”

In our text we have a similar reaction, “…they still did not believe it because of their joy and amazement…” Joy and amazement…?  They couldn’t believe because of their joy?  Huh? Remember how you felt with our imagined Sweepstakes win?  Shock…disbelief.  Maybe you’ve had a real experience where something so amazing happened to you that you just couldn’t quite accept it as reality.   Not at first at least.  Many parents can relate to the birth of a child. What a beautiful event. This miracle happens right before our eyes, a new life enters the world. There is an indescribable joy that bursts out of you. I know for me each of my children put me in euphoria when they were born. These bundles of joy came into my life with amazement and marveling. The thing is that all of this overshadowed the reality of becoming a father and all of the responsibilities that entailed. I really didn’t understand or even believe what had been told to me about my world being turned upside down after my first child was born…

I think we can identify with the disciples. We probably have all been in a position in which we were so overwhelmed with joy that we really didn’t believe the gravity of the situation and all that it meant when it was posed to us. Even little things like a surprise party or when you get into a new car at the car lot…do we really understand the factors involved. This was true for the disciples. They were joyful and marveled at Jesus’ appearance before them…but they really didn’t understand even how He could be standing there. But the Truth is…Jesus was standing there among them.  He was physically present.  He had hands and feet that could be touched.  He loved them so much that He came to them to show them Himself the reality of His resurrection. Then, when they had trouble comprehending all that He had told them before His death…when they didn’t understand the depth of this resurrection and how it fulfilled the passion predictions He had shared with them and all of the Old Testament prophecies, He didn’t throw His hands up in disgust! He went to further lengths to show them! This is because of His love for them.

He asked, “Do you have anything to eat?”  They gave Him a piece of broiled fish. He showed them the truth of His bodily existence. He did eat that fish! He did stand among them in flesh and blood.  He did rise from the dead!  He step-by-step revealed to them both His identity as the Christ who had been crucified and His having a true flesh and bone resurrected body. First He told them it is “I myself” then he showed them his physical attributes to reassure them that He was not a spirit of some kind. He offered to have them touch Him. Then, when they were still having trouble believing in the midst of their joy He asked for something to eat. This was so that He could cement the fact that He was not a ghost or some kind of phantom but their risen Lord having come back as He said He would!

So what does this have to do with us? This part of Luke is a wonderful account of the whole gospel message. Jesus comes to His followers in grace with limitless love for them. He reassures them that He is truly with them as He said He would be. He goes to great lengths to prove that He is with them even when they are unbelieving. Does this all sound familiar? This is what He does even today. We are similarly gathered together as the disciples were. We are talking about Jesus and what had happened, but do we truly believe He is here with us. Just like He was there with them He really is here among us.  We too are often huddled together wanting more proof in our lives that He is with us…especially at those difficult scary times in our lives. We sometimes have trouble trusting that He is there…meanwhile He is showing us in no uncertain terms that He is with us every day of our lives. He is always accessible to us; we just don’t look for Him in the right way. He shows us He is with us in very real ways. We come together and praise Him for what He has done. We celebrate how He died and rose again during Easter. We are joyful in our marveling of His resurrection…but do we really get it. Do we really see that He is now with us as the resurrected Lord?! Do we have a complete trust in our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ?

He is such a loving God! He gives us so much to see and believe! He goes on to show the disciples how the Old Testament prophets wrote of Him and He fulfilled everything the prophecies had spoken of. He loves us so much that He continues to help us with our lack of understanding. Just as He opens the disciple’s minds He also opens our mind. He gives us the very faith that we have in the scriptures and the truth that lies within them. Then, He recounts the incredible love shown on the cross as He tells them how it had been written before of how He would suffer and die and rise again from the dead. He explains to them that this was done for the forgiveness of sins. He does the same thing for us through His word. We have all of these truths laid out before us in the scriptures. He gave these to us so that we might believe and have eternal life in Him! He did all of this out of love for us, just as He loved the disciples so much as to keep helping them to understand and see and believe.

Therefore we have to realize that our senses are not deceived.  He is in fact with us each day of our lives. He is in this sanctuary right now! HE Lives!  And because He lives we are free.  We win!  Waawho! Forget the Sweepstakes, the lottery whatever else.  You’ve won.  You’ve got the big prize…freedom from the guilt of sin and eternal life!  Jesus won that for you! And like the disciples we can share this fascinating news. Verse 40- says…. “You are witnesses of these things…” You’ve won!  But you’re prize is so big. There is plenty to share.  We can share this amazing news with others that Jesus really did come.  He did die for their sin and rose from the dead.  He did stand among the disciples and eat. And we are witnesses of these things through the word of God. 

We were standing in our life…in our bathrobe.  Jesus came.  At first we couldn’t quite grasp it. This great gift of freedom from all my sin is mine…my sin? It seems too good to be true.  I win a different life without condemnation?  For free?  Are you sure you got the right guy?  Yet through His Spirit we can say today that it is true! And we can tell others of this great news. We are His witnesses. Let’s get the balloons and go amaze the neighborhood.

He is risen!

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