There are four, different sermons on this page...
Year B Easter 3
Luke 24 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. 36 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 Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and 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."
15th April 2018
I don’t know if you are planning something? It may be what you will eat in the next few days, where you will go on holiday, or something even further in the future. Sometimes these plans may not come to fruition because of things outside our control. Today, we will see how Jesus life, death and resurrection fulfilled a plan revealed hundreds of years before and devised by God before time began.
Three times in Luke 24 he records people being told that the death and resurrection of Jesus was predicted in the Old Testament. First angels tell this to the women who had gone to the tomb to anoint His body, verse 6. Then Jesus tells the men on the road to Emmaus, verse 27. Finally, in verses 44-45, part of today’s gospel, Jesus does this again.
Which Scriptures did Jesus use on that day? We can’t be sure but here are some suggestions. There are many others, but we have a limited amount of time!
The sacrifice and resurrection of the Messiah are throughout the Old Testament. Psalm 22, written by King David a thousand years before Christ, paints a picture of Jesus hanging on the cross.
The first verse was uttered by Jesus on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? “(Mt 27.46, Ps 22.1)
It describes how the people mocked Christ, “7. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. 8 ‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say, ‘let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’ (Psalm 22:7-8; Mat 27:41-43),
It foretold how they cast lots to divide up his clothes, “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. “ (Psalm 22:18;Mat 27:35),
It describes how his bones were out of joint. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. (Psalm 22:14),
Psalm 22 says “Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:16) These wounds which were shown to Thomas later (John 20:27).
Psalm 22 ends by saying God's righteousness would be declared to "a people that shall be born" (Psalm 22:31). This links with Jesus telling his disciples in today’s reading, Lk. 24. 46 “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.”
Next, we turn to Isaiah 53, one of the “Servant Songs” written over 500 years before Christ’s death and resurrection, which prophecies about Him.
Isaiah 53. 3. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgement he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
There are so many parts of this passage that refer to Jesus. Some have suggested it refers to Israel, but it clearly refers to a person who would be rejected, suffer, be punished for others’ sins, be killed with those who were wicked and be raised from death.
No bone of Jesus was broken on the cross, John 19.33. Psalm 34 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
The bones of the sacrificial lamb used in the Passover were not allowed to be broken, Exodus 12. 46 It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. John the Baptist linked Jesus to the Passover by declaring that He is “the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”, John 1.29.
The Bible contains typology. Typology is a special kind of “prophetic symbol”. A type in the Bible is a person or thing in the Old Testament which points to a person or thing in the New Testament. So the Passover points to Jesus the Passover Lamb who would be sacrificed once and for all so many people would escape death. This contrasts with the Passover lambs in the Old Testament that were sacrificed repeatedly to remember the deliverance from death and slavery for a relatively small number of people, the Israelites.
The book of Hebrews, written for Jewish Christians shows that Jesus is a better type of prophet, sacrifice, priest and King than those found in the Old Testament.
Jesus is also a type of Jonah. Jesus said, Matthew 12. 40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
The death and resurrection of Jesus was no accident. It was God’s plan to put people right with Him before the beginning of time, before Adam and Eve sinned. Ephesians 1. 3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,”
This tells us that by God’s grace, His undeserved favour, He reveals to believers what He has done for them in sending Jesus and enables them to respond by trusting Him. It is based on His choice, not our cleverness, our goodness, or anything we have done or possess or can do.
Job looked forward to Jesus, chapter 19.25 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
Our Epistle today told us 1 John. 3. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Believers can look forward to this Scripture being fulfilled. That one day we can look forward to having perfect resurrection bodies like Jesus and that we will see Him and be with Him in paradise for ever. If you know this for yourself you can rejoice, knowing that God is in control and has chosen you to be with Him in glory forever. If you do not know this in your heart now, then ask God to reveal Himself to you in Jesus and give you the gift of trusting in Him.
26th April 2009
Most of you will have heard of Susan Boyle. The plain, overweight, "never been kissed", 47 year old Scot who proved you can't judge a book by it's cover when she sang on "Britain's got talent".
The faces of the judges and the audience were transformed when they heard her sing "I dreamed a dream".
Today's reading is one of the accounts of people having their lives transformed as the risen Lord Jesus Christ is revealed to them.
Earlier in Chapter 24 the two men on the Road to Emmaus had walked and talked with him, but they only recognised him when he broke bread.
Mary Magdalene recognised that Jesus was not the gardener only when he called her name ( John 20:16 ).
Verse 34 tells us that Jesus had earlier revealed himself to Simon Peter.
These things happened before today's gospel. Now the disciples were together, talking about what had happened. They were in a locked room because they feared the Jewish leaders who had just murdered Jesus. Then the jaw dropping bombshell. He is in the room amongst them, speaking, "Peace be with you." This didn't bring them peace, but terror and fear. They thought they had seen a spirit or ghost, pneuma, literally "breath ".
Just as he had revealed himself to the others, who had not recognised him straight away, Jesus reveals himself by speaking to them, showing them his wounds and inviting them to touch him. He gives additional proof by eating some fish. Their fear gives way to joy and amazement, tempered with incredulity.
Just as he did with the two men on the road to Emmaus, Jesus reveals that what has just happened, his rejection, death and resurrection, had been foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures.
The disciples were witnesses of this. There would be over 500 more during the next forty days.
We have a God who want to reveal himself to us and wants us to respond. This is why he planned before the beginning of time that he would become a man, die on a cross, and rise again. This is God's rescue mission for a world that has rejected him and gone its own way. Jesus took the punishment for the sins of the world as he endured separation from God the Father on the cross. God showed that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead. The way to God is now open to anyone who trust in Jesus.
Jesus revealed himself in person to Mary Magdalene, Simon, the two men, the group of disciples.
Jesus revealed himself by breaking bread with the two men.
Jesus revealed himself to the two men and the disciples by examining the Scriptures with them.
The object of that revelation was so they could be witnesses of this to the world. That the forgiveness that this brings, and the need to follow Jesus would be declared.
Today's reading starts at verse 36 and ends at verse 48. I would suggest that it should include verses 35 and 48. 48 says, 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."
Jesus was promising his disciples the Holy Spirit, the power from on high, to equip them to tell. That same Holy Spirit would also lead people to admit they had fallen short of God's perfect will for them, and to trust in Jesus death and resurrection.
God is continuing to reveal himself to people through Jesus, by the words of his followers, empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are here today because this has continued for around 1980 years.
We need to pray that God will give us the opportunity to speak of Jesus. God will supply us with the openings and the boldness we need, if we will ask and rely upon him.
We need to pray that God's Holy Spirit will work in the people around us to bring them to trust in Jesus.
Over the last twenty years I have had the joy of seeing scores of people have their lives transformed as the Holy Spirit has worked in them and through the Scriptures. Can I encourage to pray for the Alpha Course we are starting next week. Even that you would pray about if God is calling you to come, or if He is calling you to invite someone to the Course.
30/4/06 Luke 24:36b-38
LUKE 24:36 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 Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
Play Mission impossible soundtrack.
This week Mission Impossible 3 was launched around Europe. On Monday Tom Cruise was in Rome, despite having become a father to baby Suri the week before. He said, "My mission impossible was to be here today. I didn't want to come. My daughter was just born, and I didn't want to leave her and her mother." On Tuesday he was in London where he spent four hours chatting to fans, talking on their mobile phones and signing autographs.
I imagine we are all familiar with the start of Mission Impossible where a seeming unattainable task is presented to the agent who has the option to refuse or accept it before the recording disappears.
Jesus accepted the mission given to him by God the Father. To visit earth. To live a perfect life. To die a terrible death. To defeat death and rise to new life.
The Mission Impossible involved not only defeating death but also escaping from a tomb with a large, sealed stone acting as a door with a guard of Roman soldiers outside. Not only that, Jesus had to convince a band of surprised followers that he was alive!
Today's Bible passage concerns the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Jesus ate fish and showed his wounds to the disciples. It was the same body that had been crucified and buried but it had been changed. It could appear and disappear at will. It was no longer subject to death.
Not a hallucination. A hallucination does not have flesh and blood and eat fish!
Not wishful thinking, "His spirit lives on with us". His disciples did not think in this way and were not expecting to see Jesus. They were startled, the Greek literally means to fall away from.
Luke records the witness to the resurrection.
First he refers to the disciples as "witnesses", verse 48. They were the first of many, over 500 are mentioned in Paul' letter to the Corinthians. Five hundred witnesses, many of whom were still alive when Paul wrote that letter.
Paul himself describes himself as a witness. He was a hostile witness having persecuted the church until he met the risen Lord Jesus on the Road to Damascus.
The Roman and Jewish authorities always admitted that the tomb was empty, although they tried to cover up what happened.
The frightened disciples of Jesus were locked up, hiding from the authorities who had killed their leader. In a few weeks time they would be telling those same authorities that they had crucified Jesus and that he had risen. Why would they do this? Two reasons. Firstly it was true. Secondly they were empowered by the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to his followers. 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."
Jesus also mentioned the Scriptures as a witness to what had happened. We, too have the witness of the scriptures to tell us about Jesus. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke's credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded about today's gospel writer: "Luke is a historian of the first rank.... This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."
There are other things that we can use to prove that Jesus has risen and is alive including the way that he has affected lives for the last 2,000 years, including people who are in this church today.
I have seen Mission Impossible 1 and 2. I can remember little about them other than there being lots of action and the theme tune! I don't think it is really important. What is important is how we respond to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Overwhelming evidence is there to support the bodily resurrection of Jesus. This justifies his claims to be God and man, to have conquered death and to open the way back to God. Jesus offers friendship with God, forgiveness of all that we have done wrong and a new power to live.
Ask yourself a question; "What difference does this make to my life today?"
You can have a friendship with Jesus today. One that will last into eternity. One that brings peace, hope, joy and love. That friendship is just a prayer away. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. If you have never trusted Christ, you can do so right now. The prayer I prayed is: "Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and trust You as my Saviour. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You that I can trust You."
4/5/03 Year B Easter 3 : Luke 24:36-48
36b 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? 39Look 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?" 4 2They 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 Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
This passage is about the presence of Jesus.
1) with his disciples.
They thought they were seeing a ghost or spirit, verse 37
Jesus shows his scarred hands and feet, invites them to touch him, tells them he has flesh and bones, verse 39.
He also eats a piece of fish, verse 43.
This shows us that Jesus' resurrection was a bodily one - contra liberals.
Without the bodily resurrection there can be no Christianity.
The bodily resurrection authenticates the teaching of Jesus and the claims of Jesus about his person, his life and his death.
Someone once said, 'Our friends will bring us to the grave and leave us there, but God will not.' The bodily resurrection of Jesus gives a confident hope that the same thing will happen to His followers. The Bible tells us this. The Bible's teaching about Jesus life, death and resurrection has already come true. Therefore, we can be sure that it's teaching about the return of Jesus to gather up resurrected believers will also take place.
The first appearance of the risen Jesus provoked alarm in the disciples, verse 37. This turned to joy and amazement tinged with disbelief when Jesus showed his hands and feet, verse 41.
Yet Jesus greeting in verse 36 was 'Peace be with you.'
When we are convinced that Jesus is risen we can know his peace. A peace that has conquered death. A peace that can weather the storms of life because we have a certain hope that God is in control, and that our eternal destiny is in His hands. A peace that comes from the knowledge that there is more to life than what we can see, hear and touch.
Those first disciples were confused, fearful, uncertain. The resurrection of Jesus and the power of His Spirit transformed them into preachers who boldly spoke of a certain hope. As the disciples of Jesus today we can know His peace and his power in our hearts to enable us to live and witness for him.
The presence of Jesus...
2) In the Bible. Just as he had opened the minds of the men on the road to Emmaus earlier that day, Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to understand that what was happening was part of God's plan revealed in the Bible.
This involved the past, the present, and the future. In each case Jesus used the Old Testament to show that this was part of God's plan of salvation.
We also know from the gospels that Jesus had told his disciples that he would suffer, die and be raised to life on several occasions, but they never fully understood what he was saying until after this had happened and Jesus explained this to them.
Jesus said that the Christ 'will suffer', verse 46. He was talking about what he has suffered two days before as he hung on a cross. This suffering included the physical suffering of a long, painful execution devised to be as painful as possible to discourage onlookers from transgressing. It was a commonplace sight until about 330 AD when the Romans outlawed it because it was so barbaric.
Jesus also suffered the rejection of people whom he had come to help. The religious leaders conspired with the crowd to crucify him.
Death on a cross was shameful and humiliating. To the Jews it was a sign of being cursed by God. And Jesus was cursed by God on the cross. Jesus was cursed with a punishment that he did not deserve. He was separated from God because he received the punishment that sinful humankind deserve. He who had no sin was made sin for us so we can be free.
Jesus was killed by men because he followed God. He was separated from God because he identified with men.
We can read of the suffering that he endured in the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 is one example. Another is Psalm 22:1-8,12-18. This starts off with the words quoted by Jesus as he hung on the cross that express his isolation from God.
Jesus said the Christ will rise from the dead on the third day, verse 46. The first day was the Good Friday, the third that Easter Sunday.
This resurrection was apparent to the disciples because the risen Jesus was standing before them, talking to them having just eaten some fish. Jesus was to continue appearing to over 500 people over the next forty days. The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus establishes it beyond reasonable doubt.
C.S.Lewis wrote, 'Jesus has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because he has done so.'
Psalm 118:17-24 may have been one of the Bible passages that Jesus referred to. Some of it will be familiar because it is quoted by Peter in his first letter.
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
2 1I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
23 the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
In verse 47 Jesus outlines what is going to happen. There are five elements to this.
- Firstly there will be preaching. This will be based upon the Scriptures and the personal experience of the disciples. This will happen because the disciples have been witnesses of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, verse 48.
cf 1 John 1:1
God may not call and equip all of his people to be preachers or evangelists. But he does call us all to be witnesses. To tell in word and show in deed that we have a personal relationship with the risen Lord Jesus. That we know his resurrection power in our lives.
- The preaching will include a call to repentance. This is referring to a conscious turning away from following the ways of the world. Rejecting selfishness and following the way of the crowd. Turning to follow the teaching and example of Jesus. Asking ourselves 'What would Jesus do?' cf. badges with 'W.W.J.D.' on them.
Living life this way will go against many of our instincts that have built up over the years. It will not be easy for us. It will need the power of God's Spirit working within us to put to death what is wrong and to give power to live for Jesus.
The prophets were persecuted for proclaiming the word of God. Jesus was rejected for following God's ways. He warned his disciples that they would also be rejected and persecuted for following him. A life that shows the fruit of repentance will be radical and will threaten others. True faith will show itself by changed lives.
Do we follow the ways of Jesus, or the way of the culture in which we live ?
- The preaching will include the offer of the 'forgiveness of sins'. Those who repent and turn to Jesus will receive forgiveness for the sins. This offers a new start with God. Replacing a wrong relationship with Him marred by sin with a right relationship through sins that have been forgiven.
Jesus has died in our place, receiving the punishment for our sins. Therefore, God does not see each of us with our sin, but sees us with the righteousness of Jesus.
It also promises us a new future because this forgiveness will follow us to eternity when we can look forward to being in the presence of God where there will be no sin, and no effects of sin. No more crime, injustice, starvation, suffering, sickness, disability, death or mourning.
- The preaching will be 'in his name', verse 47. When an ambassador acts in an official capacity he/she is acting on behalf of their government and is acting with the authority of that government behind them. So when they speak, the government speaks.
In a similar way the preaching that demands repentance and offers forgiveness should be with the authority of Jesus. He demands that people turn to him. He grants forgiveness of sins through his life, death and resurrection. It is only through Jesus that we can receive the forgiveness of God. Jesus said, ' I am the way the truth and the life, no-one can come to the Father except through me'.
Unfortunately we have people in the church who preach backed by their own intelligence, or by church tradition. These things are powerless in themselves. Only preaching that is in agreement with Jesus' teaching can provide a true Christian faith.
Oswald Chambers wrote, 'It is a shallow nonsense to say God forgives us because he is love. The only ground upon which God can forgive us is the cross.'
- The preaching will be ' to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.' verse 47. The first preaching of the gospel occurred on the day of Pentecost. Since that day it has spread and continues to spread throughout the world. Around the world thousands of people are turning to Jesus every day in fulfilment of Jesus' words nearly two thousand years ago.
We are here today because people have, over two thousand years been preaching the gospel of repentance and faith that is rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This was all part of God's eternal plan that he disclosed through the Old Testament, some of which was written over a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.
This should lead to wonder and gratitude towards God for what he has done for us in His Son. We can follow and worship the Lord Jesus full of the confidence and faith that this can give us. We can also look to the future return of Christ with equal confidence, because this is the only prophecy that has yet to some true.