Luke 24:1-8; 36-48 — We have a risen Lord!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 8, 2012 AM
This week’s message focuses on the resurrection of Jesus as an event that means much more than a historical fact. His victory over death brings peace and comfort to all who have trusted in Him as Lord and Savior. Further, Jesus’ resurrection is the basis for the believers’ resurrection and living with Him forever. In eternity, the best thing for me will be that we will be with Jesus. Therefore, this is the beautiful truth of Easter: We have a risen Lord!
After Jesus’ death, Joseph buried His body hastily in a nearby tomb. A large stone rolled in front of the entrance was meant to keep out marauders and wild animals as well as Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 27:62-66). All day Saturday Jesus’ followers grieved, but they could do nothing. The Fourth Commandment prohibited work, including preparations for burial, on the Sabbath. Finally, Sunday morning dawned, the first day of the week and some of the women who had followed Jesus went to visit His grave. They could not have imagined what they were about to experience. Their initial response was fright, but soon they realized that Jesus had risen! Let’s rediscover this truth again…
The inspired writers of the New Testament who declared the resurrection of Jesus never actually described the sequence of events inside the tomb. Nobody saw Jesus’ dead body when God miraculously transformed Him. No human eye observed Jesus coming out of the tomb. What the Gospels and the Epistles record, instead, are two amazing facts: Jesus’ tomb was empty and He appeared alive to His followers. The only possible conclusion was that He had been resurrected. Because of this we know for certain…
I. Jesus is alive! (Luke 24:1-8)
1. This life is the threshold of eternity because of Jesus! — Leeferism
1) First, they found the stone rolled back from the mouth of the tomb. Second, Jesus’ body was gone. Third, the women were confronted with men wearing dazzling clothes. Next, however, they heard unexpected words. The news they received began the process of taking them from despair to hope and faith. And the words they heard were from a very unlikely source. They were asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” They did not find the body they were looking for. Instead they saw two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning, an obvious reference to angelic beings. These men reminded them of the words Jesus had spoken about His crucifixion and resurrection (Luke 9:31; Luke 18:31-34). If they could not find what they were looking for, why were they looking for it there? The fact was, “He is not here; he has risen!” They had forgotten what Jesus had told them while still in Galilee, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” It has occurred! We have a risen Lord! Jesus is alive!
EXAMPLE: When a teenager named Poh Fang learned about Jesus’ love for her and received Him as her Savior, her parents weren’t sure about the merits of Christianity. So they sent her older sister with her to church to keep an eye on her. But something happened that they didn’t expect. The powerful Word of God penetrated the heart of the older sister, and she accepted Jesus as her Savior as well. Think back to the time you first realized Jesus is truly alive. If you were a child, what difference did this make in your life? If you were a teenager, what impact did it make? If you were an adult then you can identify more clearly with the women at the tomb. What emotions do you think are suitable for individuals who have for the first time realized that Jesus Christ conquered death and is now the living Lord? How important is it for those feelings to continue to be expressed by Christ’s followers? Consider today, this Easter, that proclaiming the good news to lost people must include the truth that Jesus arose from the dead, for there is no good news without Jesus’ resurrection. How can you help others know that Jesus is alive?
Luke writes that the women told their experiences to the disciples, who thought they were spouting nonsense. Later that day, two of Jesus’ followers were walking home to Emmaus from Jerusalem. Jesus appears beside them with His identity concealed and engages them in conversation. When at last they realized He was Jesus, they rush back to Jerusalem. They discover that rumors about the resurrection were spreading like wildfire. In the turmoil that follows we find that…
II. Jesus provides peace! (Luke 24:36-48)
1. Peace is not the absence of strife but rather the presence of Christ! — Leeferism
1) We now find the disciples still discussing what occurred when without warning Jesus Himself stands among them! That they were “startled and frightened” was because they still hadn’t grasped the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. That night, Jesus helps them understand this new reality. Jesus immediately tells them, “Peace to you!” The first gift of the Lord Jesus was peace. The Jewish greeting now had a much fuller significance. Christ’s followers had been in terrible turmoil, seeing their Lord tortured and crucified. But now even in the midst of this they could have “peace”. He asks, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” And then reassures them, “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.” He provides proof by showing “them his hands and feet” and asking for something to eat and then eating with them. Jesus showed His followers all the facts written… in the Old Testament about the Messiah in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. In doing this, He “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Namely, that “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.” They could find peace in this because they were “witnesses of these things!” They experienced every bit of the prophecies being fulfilled! In His presence, in His fulfillment, and in His resurrection Jesus provides peace!
EXAMPLE: Today around the world millions of Christians will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. They will meet in cathedrals, storefronts, and homes. Some will meet openly with thousands of other believers. Others will meet secretly with a handful of fellow Christians for fear of persecution. All will be there affirming the good news that Jesus offers His followers peace in troubling circumstances, just as on that first Easter. One challenge we face, especially at Easter, is to help others find peace and encouragement. We are to be alert that the same Jesus, who calmed the fears of His first followers, longs for the good news of His resurrection to bring peace and joy to new disciples. Consider again what the risen Lord provided that day: His peace, confirmation of His resurrection, confirmation of bodily life in the resurrection, and His presence. Which of these has been the most important for you personally? Which of these will be the most important for you to emphasize to others as you celebrate Easter? Remember, we have a risen Lord and because of this Jesus provides us peace!
We have a risen Lord! Jesus’ resurrection is established by the empty tomb and by His appearances. The risen Christ provides peace in the midst of troubling circumstances. Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled the prophecies of the Scriptures.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.