Preached @ Anchor Community Church on Easter Sunday, April 5th, 2015
“And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
In Luke 24:41 we read that in the disciples fear and disbelief, they “Stood Amazed” at the sight of Jesus standing in their presence. Unfortunately if you have been in the church for any length of time, it is easy to lose sight of the amazement of the cross and the resurrection. We have littered Easter (Resurrection Day) with pagan ideas and unbiblical traditions that have also mitigated the greatness of this historical event, and lent to more apathy on this great day!
The event itself is the single most important event in the Christian religion. If the event didn’t happen our faith is in “vain.” Paul writes in this regard to the resurrection…
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me
It’s the heart of our faith. Paul goes on to say, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” It’s as simple as that. The resurrection is a historical reality or our faith is nothing!
Jesus’ resurrection demonstrates life after death in physical and spiritual parameters leading His followers to amazement, joy and worship
What made them so amazed? There are at least three reasons that piqued their amazement as we read our passage:
From the Head…
They Were Amazed Because People Don’t Rise From the Dead! (Luke 24:37-43)
The first reason is simply dead people don’t rise from the dead! Not in the 21st century, and not in the 1st century. These people weren’t backwoods idiots. They, like us, were skeptics! When they saw Jesus, it wasn’t as if they all believed; proving again that unbelief is not merely an intellectual or physical issue; it’s a heart issue! They showed every emotion of startled fear, to doubt, to joy and amazement that one would expect when they see a dead person alive once again.
In spite of their unbelief, Jesus goes on to show them that His resurrection was not a mirage, or disembodied apparition. He showed them His hands and feet, and encouraged them to touch Him, telling them that He was not a Spirit or a ghost, but a physical reality (V. 39-40). And strangely enough in the midst of their unbelief and amazement, He asked them for food, and He ate with them demonstrating this reality (vv. 41b-42). Jesus’ resurrection was a physical one for sure; it was historical and verifiable.
Even so, so what? The physical resurrection of Jesus Christ coincides with the biblical view of eternity. Instead of disembodied spirits floating on clouds and playing harps, we will be physical entities living in the new heaven and new earth. The Jewish mind did not understand resurrection to be a disembodied afterlife. The concept of being resurrected meant an embodied life on earth.
Why does all of this matter? This is in all line with Jesus’ physical, yet different resurrected body. His body seemed to have the ability to appear and disappear quickly, and was often times not recognized easily. This is interesting in light of the bible’s message that in the end, there would be a “New Heaven and a New Earth” (Revelation 21:1), and that there would be a “…holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…” Is it possible that in eternity, we will need physical bodies that can live in multiple dimensions rather than the four we currently live? 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 seems to indicate that our ordinary physical bodies won’t cut it in the “New” Kingdom of God. Our bodies, while being physical, will be “Like” Jesus’ resurrected body, which was real, physical, definable, and yet different. No wonder the disciples were so startled, fearful and amazed!
They Were Amazed Because The Resurrection Was Prophesied (Luke 24:44-49)
Not only were they amazed because they saw the resurrected Jesus, He then directs them to a Christ Centered, Redemptive Old Testament (Luke 24:27, 44) and He reveals the “Truth” to them (V. 45). But before He could do anything further, he had to open “Their minds to understand the scriptures.” Apart from Jesus intervening in our hearts, we would remain in our unbelief. Our skeptical doubt will never be removed by physical evidence, because the problem is clearly in our hearts of unbelief, in spite of them seeing Jesus raised from the dead.
The Truth that He revealed was that He would suffer and die, and be raised on the third day (VV. 46-47). He also reminded them that this was all so that forgiveness and repentance “Should be proclaimed to all nations.” Forgiveness is clearly what the world needs at this time. Jesus came to bring forth forgiveness from God to man, and thus from man to man. Our amazement must work its way toward God’s mission in this world, because the world badly needs to hear it.
They Were Amazed Because of the “Great” Joy It Brought to them (Luke 24:50-53)
Once they understood this gospel of the Kingdom, they worshipped Jesus and had great joy in their heart (V. 52). Understanding Jesus’ gospel always leads to joy and worship. Their joy came from the reality that their sins were forgiven and the power of the Spirit was upon them. Before this time they were scared and cowardly hiding in their homes. One of the key proofs of the resurrection is the affect it had on the disciples and the early church. Jesus’ gospel displays the truth that our exodus from the bondage of sin is complete in Him. We too will be resurrected and blessed by God in eternity and death has no mastery over us.
…to the Heart
We are forgiven! We are empowered by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead! We are witnesses to the amazement of the Resurrection!! We are given a purpose for our existence Live then the reality of the amazement and proclaim the message of the “Good News!” Happy “Resurrection Day!”
Questions To Ponder
- What stops you from being in amazement at what God has done?
- Why would the resurrection bring us joy?
- What does Jesus mean to look into the Old Testament to find Him?
- In what way has He fulfilled these Old Testament texts?
- Why is knowing that important?