MARCH 27, 2016

MAIN TEXT: LUKE 24: 1-49

 

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.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, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 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. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 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. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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 and 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.”


The Good News of Jesus comes to us through scripture. The Bible is a grand story that reveals to us the truth of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. This is the story of God and man. 

It is vital that followers of Christ understand the primary components of the Bible story. The major themes of the Bible bring richness and application to the smaller stories. We must not merely maintain a collection of disconnected Bible stories without seeing the grander story of God, mankind, and His creation. God’s work of redemption in creation is comprehensive. We have a place in this story, and when we are in Christ, we have a role and mission within the biblical story. 

Here are a few of the major points of God’s redemptive story:

  • Creation: It was good and brimming with peace – the relational wholeness that God intends for His creation. God loves this world and His glory and character are written all over it.
  • Fall: Evil and sin is now woven into every aspect of God’s creation and every dimension of each person and humanity as a whole – in spite of our rebellion, God does not give up His purposes for His creation and His Kingdom. 
  • Incarnation: At a major cost to God the Father, Christ laid aside His glory and came in flesh to our level. Jesus came into this world as a Rescuer – sent on a mission of rescuing, restoring, and redeeming mankind to God. He did this by paying the full penalty for our sin. 

Today we focus on the pinnacle moment of history: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Everything seemed lost

Our text shows us the disciple’s despair that resulted from the crucifixion. They didn’t know what we now know. Everything that they had hoped for seemed lost. Verse 21 confirms their hopelessness:

“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” 

“Had hoped”, meant that their hope was lost and was in the past tense. This meant that their future was very indefinite. With a dead leader and a lost cause, the disciples were very afraid and needed to decide what to do next. All of this begins to change in our text. The major events are gradual discoveries that build upon one another:

  • the empty tomb 
  • the angelic announcement 
  • the appearances of the risen Lord 
  • testimonies of those that see Jesus alive 

We find that the highly skeptical disciples are gradually convinced of the truth that Jesus is alive. They come to accept the fact that Jesus is indeed alive, raised from the dead. But what does this mean for them? 

Seeing the cross through the lens of the resurrection

The New Testament interprets the crucifixion in a positive way.  In 1 Corinthians 1:18, Paul says, “For the word of the cross is folly (foolishness) to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 

Paul understood that the Christian view of the cross was scandalous and misunderstood. The Romans saw crucifixion as a way to weed out Rome’s enemies. The cross was a random act of cruelty: humiliation, defeat, torture beyond human endurance, and an exposure of ones weakness to the point of death. 

However, the early church was bold in saying that the cross was the central act of God in all of human history. This view came only because they saw the cross through the lens of the resurrection. It is clear that the world sees the cross as a picture of:

  •  weakness, 
  • foolishness 
  • humiliation 
  • defeat and 
  • absurdity.

 

But to those that know that Jesus is alive again from the dead, the cross is full of God’s:

  • wisdom  
  •  power 
  • glory 
  • victory and  
  • purpose. 

Jesus grappled with Satan, sin, and death and conquers them all as he died on behalf of all people. He died for the sake of all creation and bore God’s judgment on a creation that has become corrupted and polluted by sin. As followers of Christ today, we share in the victory over sin as we share in Jesus’ triumph over it (Romans 6:1-11). 

His resurrection ushered in the Kingdom of God

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! There is no greater message than this for a world so twisted and enslaved by sin! The darkness and evil of the night have ended and, with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a new world is dawning. The light of God will fill the whole earth again! 

The early followers of Jesus struggled with the meaning of this new reality. Their traditional Jewish views had been shattered, but under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they sought to interpret Christ’s resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). We quickly conclude through their preaching in the book of Acts and the New Testament letters that they joyfully proclaim the resurrection of Jesus to be good news, an event with cosmic consequences, and the beginning of God’s renewal of creation. 

John 11:25-26 states that the resurrection of Jesus has implications far beyond His own return to life. Jesus’ death and resurrection is an act on behalf of all of us and the whole of creation. He IS the resurrection! By dying He takes upon himself the judgment of the world. In rising from the dead, the renewal of all of creation begins – including our physical bodies. Therefore, whoever believes in Jesus will live and share in His resurrection. 

Jesus has marked our path into the Kingdom of God. We can enter that Kingdom as we follow Him – it is but a foretaste on this side of the completed Kingdom. Someday – at last – His kingdom will be established on the new earth!                                                                                                    

jesus’ return from the grave is the dawn of a new day!

 


APPLY TO LIFE

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing as you open God’s Word together.


BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

DISCUSS THE MESSAGE

Read:  Luke 24: 1-49

  • Describe what you might have thought if you were Jesus' disciples and you saw him die on a cross.
  • How do you deal with despair?
  • In what ways does your life point to the truth of a risen Savior?
  • As you consider God's Kingdom being fully and finally established on the earth, what is one thing that you desire to see restored and what is one thing that you desire to see done away with?