If you watched our worship on April 19, 2020, you heard about one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Jesus meets two men travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus. He teaches them, corrects them and travels with them to Emmaus where He reveals Himself to them. This is the first message in a series I am calling On To Pentecost.
In an historic sense, these moments of Jesus' appearing to the disciples is true revelation of God's nature. God wants to teach us (the April 19th message). God wants us to have peace in troubled times (this coming week's message). God wants us to know so much about His nature and about His calling and purpose. The post-resurrection appearances are truly windows into what God is like and how much God wants to be known and experienced. It is great stuff!
In Luke 24:36-49 Jesus appears to His disciples. They are gathered together, probably talking about the events of the day. It a very personal and human appearance of Jesus as He enters rooms through walls, seeks nourishment, and tells the disciples He is fulfilling and empowering even as He moves toward ascension. The words that come to me from this story are grasp, grow and get ready.
Grasp the magnitude of what has and is happening. The resurrection is a big deal that will forever change the world. In our lifetimes few things have changed the world. Most of us remember 911. We will all remember the coronavirus pandemic of (at least) 2020. But Jesus' resurrection and related events changed the very fabric of society then, throughout Church history, and even today as we gather (currently digitally) to pray, worship and express our faith. The man that changed history is also the man that can move our mountains, break down our walls and give us strength to overcome this world.
Grow in faith. The time between the resurrection and Pentecost is a time to understand just who we are. We are those people who will, under the power of God, be agents of change in the world. We will (Matthew 5) become the light of the world, made into that light as we are transformed into the image of the risen Lord. Jesus gives us His glory and strength of faith (He is the author and perfecter of faith) so we can light this world.
And this is a time to get ready. I have been thinking about this idea for the past week. What will ministry look like over the next year? How will we fund missions? How will we connect with the children in our community? How will we improve the new building across the street? How will we feed school children, send resources to Red Bird, help with community needs, help our friends in Belize, distribute food from the food pantry and what will worship look like? I think Jesus would say to us what he is saying to the disciples. Grasp what is happening ... grow in faith ... and get ready because I am about to do something that will open your eyes and open the world!
In John's version of this story, Jesus opens the minds of the disciples and they have immediate understanding of the Scriptures. "Lord ... I pray that you will open our minds so that we better understand you. I pray that we realize the power you gave us at Pentecost. I pray for creativity, energy, passion and knowledge that you go before us always, preparing the way ahead. I thank you for all of this and will seek to express that thanks in a way that tells the world of your glory. AMEN."