This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Luke 24:36-48 Seeing is Believing
Has anyone ever told you
something so outrageous or so unbelievable that you thought you couldn’t believe
it unless you saw it for yourselves? Have you ever seen anything that was so
unbelievable that it was scary? If so, then you can understand how the
disciples felt after they saw the risen Jesus in the reading we just heard from
The disciples did not
immediately believe after seeing the resurrected Christ. They felt great joy,
but the truth had not created faith in their hearts. Perhaps it still seemed
too good to be true. This detail alone should quash any thought that the
disciples desired so much to see Jesus alive that they made themselves believe.
In fact, even when they saw, doubts arose in their hearts. They needed to see
that being with Jesus was a metaphor for being with God. He signaled the coming
of the Reign of God.
How many of us have been in a
similar place? We might have been in a place of disappointment or hardship.
Jesus was there with us, but we didn’t see him because our thoughts were on our
situation. We might even wonder in the disciples needed consoling so much that
their imaginations played tricks on them. Jesus helped them to see that God can
bring new life after death.
Luke wants to make it clear to
us that our real, physical world is so valuable that God came to earth in the
person of Jesus Christ, our Risen Saviour. He came to heal our physical,
mental, spiritual and emotional needs. He continually meets us in this world,
especially as we gather around the word of God.
The apostles were the first
witnesses, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, all believers are the
custodians of the truth. God poured out his Holy Spirit on us at Pentecost.
That Spirit is a present power in our lives. We are being healed, transformed,
liberated and sent on missions because of the supernatural God living in and
among us by his Spirit.
What do you think would have
happened if Jesus had not made his presence known when he did? Perhaps the
disciples would have gone back to whatever their lives were before Jesus called
them. Jesus stood among them. He reminded them that his coming was for peace.
He invited them to see for themselves that it was him in the flesh and not a
ghost. He told them to stay put and wait for the power that was to come.
This passage emphasizes the
reality of Jesus’ resurrected body and the need for Jesus’ death and
resurrection to fulfill God’s plan for salvation. In Jewish folklore, the
spirits of the dead appear to mortals only to engage in evil activities. When
Jesus suddenly appeared to the small group of disciples, it was a frightening
Jesus spent time with his
disciples, summarizing his ministry, especially the Old Testament prophecies.
He prepared them to continue his work after he returned to heaven. He laid out
exactly what their message after he left earth should be about. He gave them
the courage to speak publicly on a street corner in Jerusalem at Pentecost, and
that speech led thousands of Jews into the Christian faith in a very public baptism
as written in Acts 2. The disciples had the mission and power to change the
Jesus and the risen Christ are
the same. The only difference is that the body of the risen Christ is different
from his pre-resurrection body. It is fully healed, strong and not subject to
the death and decay of the flesh. Jesus presented himself to the disciples not
as a disembodied spirit, but as a person in bodily form. His body was
recognizable by sight and touch. His body was capable of eating food. Just like
Jesus was raised from the dead, we will also be raised from the dead in bodily
form according to the Scriptures. Our bodies are not useless pieces of garbage
that we will leave behind when we die. They are an integral part of our
Luke reminds his readers in
verse 44 that Jesus came to satisfy all the prophecies made about him in the
Old Testament. It has been said that Jesus was concealed in the Old Testament
and revealed in the New Testament. Everything that was written about Jesus in
the Bible was fulfilled. That was why Jesus taught his disciples in the
Scriptures while he was with them during his life and his resurrection. They
needed to understand the significance of the past. Jesus came to fulfill the
Old Testament, not to abolish it.
We, like the disciples, can’t
understand life after resurrection, but we know that resurrection is God’s plan
for us. Jesus is the model for God’s plan. The resurrected Jesus was no ghost.
He explained the Scriptures to the disciples, especially the Scriptures dealing
with resurrection. The disciples were physical witnesses to the resurrection,
and we are witnesses to the risen Christ through the Scriptures. We are
witnesses when we come to church. We are witnesses when we come to the Lord’s
Table to receive communion. We are witnesses when we do a kind act for someone.
We are witnesses when we invite a friend or neighbour to church. We are
witnesses when we do things such as teaching a Sunday school class, sponsor a
youth group, sing in the choir or serve as an usher. We are witnesses when we
get up in the morning and decide to let God guide us through the day.
In verse 39, Jesus offered the
disciples proof that he rose from the dead, and he wants us to have the same
proof. More important, he wants to prove that he is our friend. God is on our
side. Satan persuaded Adam and Eve that God was not their friend and that the
fruit of the tree of knowledge was forbidden because if they ate it, they would
become as wise as God. Satan convinced them that God couldn’t be trusted. The
Old and New Testaments are the records of God’s attempts ever since to convince
us that he is our friend and we can trust him. Jesus wants to stand with us
through job uncertainty, illness, loneliness and estrangement.
The disciples heard the Lord
teach innumerable times. They watched him perform miracles for at least three
years. They saw him crucified and now they stood in his resurrected presence.
It was only when the Lord opened their minds to understand the Scriptures that
they truly comprehended. The understanding of the Scriptures-that is,
understanding how all of the pieces of redemptive history fit together-is a
gift of God. Spiritual understanding comes through the Spirit of the living
God, or it does not come at all. God’s influence helps us understand and accept
the truth of his word. Without understanding, the things of the Holy Spirit are
foolish to normal human beings.
We can, and should, read the
Scriptures at home, but it doesn’t replace hearing the Word of God preached and
taught in church. Preaching can strike us in a way that adds new meaning to
God’s Word. Understanding Scripture has a lot to do with the mindset that we
bring to the pages of the Bible. We need to be open to new revelations to
really understand the meaning of God’s Word for our lives. In return, God works
in us to go into the world to share the gospel. When we do, future generations
will be able to put their trust in Jesus and continue his work until he
In verses 46 and 47, Luke
makes it clear that the message of Christ must include a focus on repentance
and the remission of sins. One without the other is incomplete. When we
understand Scripture, we move from doubt to worshipping and great joy. We are
to preach repentance and remission of sins in his name and in all nations. Jesus
said that after his death and resurrection, the message his followers would
carry to others would be about repentance and forgiveness. In fact, Jesus
called on his disciples to preach this to all nations.
Salvation occurs when we trust
Jesus as our Saviour. He forgives us, changes us and sees us as righteous. In
that moment, we are redeemed, and though we continue to struggle with sin, it
is a defeated foe. Then, as time goes on, our service, gifts and love for him
should naturally become greater. We as modern disciples are an extension of
Jesus’ ministry. We are witnesses to the same real relationship with Jesus that
the disciples had. Just like Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples, he
does not leave us alone. We have his power so that we can touch lives and
1.Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)
R.: Swindoll’s New Testament Insights on
Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; 2010)
3.ESV Study Bible.
Part of Wordsearch 10 Bible software package.
4.Larsen, B. &
Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary
Series, Vol. 26: Luke (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1983)
5.Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible,
NKJV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2005)