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Resurrection Reminders

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Luke 24:36–49 ESV
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Opening Illustration:
Opening Illustration:
A bright young girl of fifteen was suddenly cast upon a bed of suffering, completely paralyzed on one side and nearly blind. She heard the family doctor say to her parents as they stood by the bedside: “She has seen her best days, poor child!”
“No, doctor,” she exclaimed, “my best days are yet to come, when I shall see the King in His beauty.”
That is our hope. We shall not sink into annihilation. Christ rose from the dead to give us a pledge of our own rising. The resurrection is the great antidote for fear of death. Nothing else can take its place. All the money and things in the world, education, worldly pleasures or pursuits, none of these things can bring us hope and comfort.
Luke 24:36–49 ESV
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 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.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 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.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The resurrection is our cornerstone of hope

Many of us are in mourning we find ourselves afraid or anxious, or isolated because of this COVID19 pandemic
The resurrection reminds us we have a God who mourns with us and has overcome evil
And, Resurrection Sunday is the annual reminder that evil will never have the last word in our world
As Pastor Lee was introducing the scripture, I couldn’t help but think of how much I love the resurrection account in Luke’s gospel:
It is rich with detail on the experience of many, with the resurrected Christ
Luke approaches the resurrection accounts with different perspective than the other gospel writers
What Luke does differently, I find, is that he looks closely at the heart condition of those to whom Jesus appeared
For instance the women who first appear at the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body were perplexed:
Luke 24:1–4 ESV
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
Luke 24:4 ESV
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.
These women had witnessed the terror of Good Friday and the grief of Saturday:
These women had witnessed the terror of Good Friday and the grief of Saturday:
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They arrived at the tomb without hope or expectation, resigned to Christ’s death
They came with no faith that anything would change
They had witnessed the terror of Good Friday and the grief of Saturday
Now, this empty tomb simply adds to their distress
Looking at our worlds circumstances, it would be easy and understandable to find ourselves with perplexed hearts:
To be perplexed is to be found in a “confused state of mind,” or to “be uncertain;” the women were perplexed, having found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty
Church, uncertainty and confusion have found it’s niche amid in our culture today
Beyond all the regular uncertanties this life holds, our world is now stricken with this Coronavirus crisis — we have questions about what is happening and why it’s happening
This past week Pastor Lee interviewed Dave Langford on his trip to the Congo. Dave said it best, “I left the certainty of the Congo, for the uncertainty of home”
Church, it would be easy to remain uncertain on account of the circumstances around us, if it weren’t for the fact that life also holds some unchanging truths to which we can cling:
Like, the fact that God is a God who loves us
Or, the reality that His posture towards us is yes
Or, the fact that He sent His son to die for our sins so that we could have opportunity to live in right relationship with Him
Like what Lee said on Friday, that when Christ died, our sins died with Him
Or the reality that He follows through on His word
Listen to what the angel’s say to these faithful followers of Jesus:
Luke 24:5–6 ESV
And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
One of our great challenges as Christians is keeping the truth of our Lord uppermost in our minds:
We leak. We forget. We wander and stray.
But if we keep our feet in the path of his teaching, then we’ll never be overcome in times of uncertainty and confusion
We will be the only people rejoicing even in the face of death if we keep our minds fixed on His Word
Just like Christ followed through on His word to these woman and his disciples, He is faithful to do so for us:
Just like Christ followed through on His word to them, He is faithful to do so for us:
He is faithful to stick with us amid the uncertainties of this life
He is faithful to go before and beside us as we navigate the perplexities the world offers
And, He is our stability in the middle of life’s greatest storms
Then Luke reviews the travelers on the road to Emmaus who were discouraged:
Luke 24:17 ESV
And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
These travelers were devestated:
They had hoped that Christ would be the one to redeem Israel
They had supported Christ and now they ached with disappointment and discouragement on account of His death
Here’s what I find interesting about these disciples:
They had already learned that Christ had resurrected from the dead
The women had run and told them what had taken place, as instructed by the angels, but they were discouraged
Yet, they were discouraged
Jesus shows up in the middle of their conversation, as they reveal the truth behind their discouragement:
They had hoped that Jesus would redeem Israel but their hopes had been shattered
These travelers were discouraged and disappointed because God did not do what they wanted Him to do
Finally, Jesus appears in the upper room amongst the disciples and finds them with troubled hearts:
What’s even worse?
These two know the facts of the gospel, but they don’t yet recognize the face of the gospel
As they walk, they actually tell Jesus about the experience of the women at the tomb
Their problem was not intellectual:
The problem is not that they don’t know some things they need to know
Their discouragement stems from an underlying issue of heart
Their discouragement came from disappointed expectations
Anyabwile, Thabiti. Exalting Jesus in Luke (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) . B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Church, much like these travelers, we often experience discouragement on account of disappointed expectations:
We want God take our problems away on our schedule
We expect God to act in a certain way and when He doesn’t we feel alone
Too often, our disappointed expectations cloud our ability to see God activity in our life circumstances
But, we can find incredible solace in those moments, even by looking at this account:
The way Jesus listened to the concerns of these two travelers
But when we see Jesus with fresh perspective
We see the way Jesus graciously rebuked them and pointed them back to His word
Luke 24:27 ESV
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:28 ESV
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,
Luke 24:29 ESV
but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
And ultimately, we see God remove the scale from their eyes to see Christ for who he really is
Luke 24:27 ESV
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
And ultimately, we see God remove the scale from their eyes to see Christ for who he really is
Church, hear me today:
The most powerful force in the universe is present with us
And, in His grace it is Christ who takes the inititiave to join us, through life’s journey
So, amid the discouragements we face in this life, we can hold onto the reality that the resurrected Jesus is with us
Finally, Jesus appears amongst the disciples and finds them with troubled hearts:
Luke 24:38 ESV
And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
The eleven disicples had gathered behind closed doors in Jerusalem, for fear of the Jews:
At this point, they’d heard Peter’s report of having encountered Christ
The women at the tomb had recounted their experience
They’d listened to the Emmaus report
Now, Jesus suddenly stands among them
Instead of breathing a sigh of relief, Jesus’ presence frightens only increases their distress:
They were “troubled,” skeptical of the varied reports they’d heard
They were “troubled,” unsure of who or what account to believe
Now, their feelings intensified with appearance of what seemed to be an apparition, that looked like and talked like Jesus
Let’s be honest here church:
Many of us, are hunkered down during this quarantine and living afraid
We are troubled and concerned, unsure of who or what to believe
Let me encourage you today, for those of you who are Christ followers, He is in your proverbial boat
And, Christ, in grace offers them the proof of who He is:
First, He speaks a word of Peace over his disciples
Many of you need a word of peace over your lives, to ease the trouble you face. You can hold on to this word he spoke over the disciples, “peace be with you.”
He allows them to touch him; they felt for themselves solid flesh over bones
Some even touched his open wounds
Jesus was physically there in His earthly body, but raised to a higher position
Jesus offered the disciples proof positive:
He wants us to have that same proof
He wants to prove that He is our friend; God is on our side
The Old and New Testaments are records of God’s attempts since the fall of man to reveal His heart is trustworthy and for us
Satan persuaded Adam and Eve that God was not for them
In a moments time, these disciples went from troubled to marveling:
They were in an unprecedented sense of positive disbelief
After this encounter nonone of the eleven ever again doubted the resurrection
The resurrected Christ walked through walls and sat to eat fish with these disciples
Then just as He did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, or to the women at the tomb, He reminds the disciples of His word
I find it so interesting that for these three different groups, Christ reminded more than He taught:
The women at the tomb were reminded, “the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
To the two travelers he sat with them and reminded them, “it was necessary that the Christ should suffer”
He reminds the disciples in the Upper Room, “the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
More often, we need to be reminded more than we are taught:
The resurrection serves to remind us of several realities amid life’s challenging circumstances
I want to take just a few moments to look at some of those reminders offered to us by way of the resurrection
THE RESURRECTION REMINDS US:

JESUS CAN IDENTIFY WITH OUR SUFFERING

Philip Yancey wrote, “One detail in the Easter stories has always intrigued me: Why did Jesus keep the scars from His crucifixion? …From the perspective of heaven, they represent the most horrible event that has ever happened in the history of the universe. Even that event, though, Easter has turned into a memory.”
Easter provides this reminder:
The darkest of nights and the most painful of situations are not beyond God’s power to redeem
Today, our world remains more broken than we’ve known it to be:
We know God will one day right all wrongs, but right now there are an immeasurable amount of wrongs.
Revelation 21:4 ESV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
We should not trivialize the very real pain and heartbreak in our world
These tragedies deserve to be mourned
But I hope they will push us toward the God who identifies with our suffering and not away from Him
As Edward Shillito wrote, “The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak; they rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne; but to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak, and not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.”
The resurrection reminds us we have a God who understands our pain and who will be there for us in the midst of our brokenness:
The resurrection does not guarantee that God will fix everything this side of heaven
The resurrection does guarantee that He will be there for us in the midst of our suffering
THE RESURRECTION REMINDS US:

THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY

The disciples didn’t know that Sunday forever change the world and solidify their faith:
From their perspective, it seemed like the story was over
The Biblical narrative details the horror of Jesus’ crucifixion on Friday and the miracle of His resurrection on Sunday. But it is surprisingly silent about the in-between day of Saturday.
Funerals denote finality
In his book He Still Moves Stones, Lucado encourages readers not to overlook the significance of : “Early in the morning, while it was still dark.” It had been dark since Friday. The disciples didn’t know the next day would forever change the world and solidify their faith. From their vantage point, it seemed like the story was over. Funerals denote finality. Dead men don’t make curtain calls. The disciples’ futures looked as dark as the night.
Dead men don’t make curtain calls.
The disciples’ futures looked as dark as the night.
We’ve read the end of the story, and we know how things turn out:
We know that Sunday came, enabling us to call that fateful Friday “good.”
We know that Jesus rose again, but the disciples didn’t know that at the time.
When the disciples went to the tomb on Sunday, they weren’t expecting to find a risen Lord:
Death was to them what it is to us: the unconquerable enemy.
Throughout all of human history, death had marked the end
Death was the one thing that could not be bargained with, even by the world’s most powerful and wealthy leaders
Death was the final word
No one was immune to its power, and no one was strong enough to overcome its grip
Until Jesus.
Jesus, the God-man born of a humble carpenter and an unwed mother, did the one thing no one else in human history had ever been able to do: He rose from the dead.
The world’s strongest force met its match in Jesus
The crucified Rabbi became the ultimate comeback kid—the only individual in human history powerful enough to deny death its power.
The resurrection proved, once and for all, that the end of the story is never really the end of the story when Jesus is involved.
THE RESURRECTION:

THE RESURRECTION GIVES US HOPE

In our human experience, we will face heartbreaking grief and devastating loss:
Yet the resurrection reminds us that we can still have hope, even if we lose everything else.
This is not a naïve hope that ignores reality or minimizes suffering
This is a precious and profound hope
One that looks for Jesus through tearstained eyes and clings to Him amidst circumstances that will never fully make sense in this lifetime
This is a faith that looks to the future, resting in the assurance that God will one day wipe every tear from our eyes, leaving us cognizant only of His goodness
The resurrection reminds us that God will one day make all things new.
Whether we’re in a season of joy or a season of loss, the resurrection reminds us that God is present with us through it all.
Even as tragedies strike and our hearts feel heavier than usual, we can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus will make all things new.
Jesus’ last recorded words ring as true for us today as they did for the disciples 2,000 years ago: “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” ().
Closing Illustration
We can see all sorts of trends come and go. Whether it’s disco, Rubik’s cubes, or the “Baby Shark” song, we have all experienced the power of a craze and trend that eventually dies out. Some trends have shaped everything about daily life (Internet, cell phones, and social media). The gospel of Jesus might have come on the scene in the first century as a trend, but Jesus has changed everything. The gospel is still good news today and lives continue to change as people respond to the message of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
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