April 19/20

Main Text: Luke 24:36-50

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 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.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 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.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 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.”

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.

Main Text: Ephesians 1:18-23

having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills iall in all.

Today the Christian church enjoys its annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today, here at Red Mountain, we join countless millions of other like-minded followers of Christ around the world in celebrating one of the most profound miracles in history and of our faith. The resurrection ranks in importance with other faith anchors such as

  • the virgin birth of Christ,
  • the life and ministry of Jesus, and
  • His vicarious death on the cross.

He is risen! He is alive! Death could not keep Him! Death has been defeated; not only for our savior, but for all mankind who believe. What the Old Testament law was powerless to do, God did by sending His own Son (Romans 8:2-4). These are just some of the many realities of the resurrection. No other religion in the world can claim this of their prophets, leaders, or God. This truth sets Christianity apart from all other world religions.

The whole concept of the resurrection is incredible! It is

  • powerful,
  • hope-filled,
  • far-reaching with ramifications, and
  • unique.

Easter always leaves us with great faith and belief in our loving God, wonderful Savior, and powerful Holy Spirit. Here are some realities about Jesus Christ today:

He is with the Father

Sometimes in exasperation we ask, “Where is God”? The truth of the resurrection means that there is truth in what Ephesians 1:19-20 tells us - that Jesus was raised from the dead and today is seated at the right hand of our Heavenly Father. The same Jesus who

  • walked on the earth,
  • suffered the cross,
  • was sealed in a tomb,
  • is now in heaven.

Jesus rose from the grave with a physical body – not merely as a ghost, phantom or spirit. Not all the laws of nature applied to Christ’s risen body; that is obvious. For example, Jesus could appear and disappear, and He will never die. Other laws, however, remained. After the resurrection, Jesus could
be touched,

  • eat,
  • drink, and
  • show the healed wounds of His passion.

Jesus found it important to show His disciples and us that He did not lay aside His human side when He rose from the grave. Rather He took it up again and glorified it by adding to it the needs for heavenly existence at the right hand of God. So, what does Jesus do there? He is sitting at God the Father’s right hand and prays for us (Hebrews 8:1-2; Romans 8:34). Though Jesus has a physical body, God the Father does not. This analogy of where Jesus is now sitting comes from earthly kings. (John 14:6)

Jesus has been given this position from the Father. He has been put in charge of all things according to Ephesians 1:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:27.

We live in a place where every authority figure is challenged, discredited, or ridiculed by a rival. Jesus Christ is above all of this. In fact, Paul tells us that He is far above it. There is a source of ultimate authority and power today – it is Jesus Christ and He is on the throne of heaven. He has commissioned us to represent Him and make our earthly existence committed to His purposes.

He is still with us

Jesus assured His disciples that although He was present to them in a limited way while here in flesh on earth, when He left them He would fill them with His presence in a more powerful and complete sense. (John 16:7; John 14:18-19; John 16:14)

And Jesus did just that. His resurrection brought the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) that changed the disciples and changes you and me. When we turn to the book of Acts, the disciples are

  • adventurous,
  • articulate, and
  • passionate.

Suddenly, these unbelieving, wavering, doubting, and apprehensive disciples are talking about Jesus with equal zeal before

  • lepers,
  • religious courts, and
  • Roman emperors.

They face wild beasts and offer comfort to the distressed. In their wake they leave the first Christian communities. They started to move through this world and transformed it in ways that Jesus only hinted at. After Jesus rose from earth to heaven, we see how much more He poured out His Spirit upon His disciples, how wonderfully His kingdom advanced, and how much greater power He displayed in helping His people. Although Jesus left the earth, He did not stop being present with believers on earth or exercising His power.
we now reflect the resurrection

The same is true for us today. Although we don’t see Jesus physically in our world, we do see people everywhere, like you and me, who believe in His name and are given power. His Spirit dwelling in us now marks us with Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22):  

  • joy,
  • peace,
  • patience,
  • kindness,
  • goodness,
  • faithfulness,
  • gentleness, and
  • self‑control

In addition, spiritual gifts are given to us by the Spirit and are powerful (Ephesians 1:19). This Powerful resurrection power can dwell in us (Romans 8:10-11). By the way that we live our lives, we can bring resurrection life into a life-sapping environment (Colossians 3:1). Believe, ask Him to forgive you and follow Him and you will know the peace, power, and joy that He desires you to have all because of the resurrection.
Just believe!

Further Discussion

This week, as you reflect on the message, think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing and fellowship as you open God’s Word together.

Read: Luke 24:36-50

Put yourself in the disciples shoes, describe your thoughts and feelings as you see a man whom you know deeply, who died just days before and who is standing now in your presence.

What does Jesus say to reassure them of His presence and show them that he is not a spirit.
What significance does the resurrection have on our faith? Is it necessary? Why isn’t just having Jesus’ great example enough for us to model and follow?

If someone asked you to prove that Jesus was raised from the dead, what would you say?
Read: Ephesians 1:18-23

How does Paul describe the resurrection in this passage?

When you consider the death of Christ, why did he die? What did his death accomplish?

Now, when you consider the resurrection, what did the resurrection accomplish? How is both the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ essential elements to our faith?

When Paul says that Jesus has dominion, power, rule and authority, what imagery does this bring to mind for you?

Does true hope exist outside of Jesus?

Read: Psalm 8

How does this Psalm help you understand the line “you have put all things under his feet” in a better light?

Why do you rejoice in the resurrection?

Take a moment to give praise to God for what he has done for you through Jesus.