April 24, 2022

“The Qualities Of Jesus’ Resurrection”

Passage: Luke 24:36-48

An artist has captured the scene in the Upper Room after the crucifixion. It's very much like the famous Last Supper of Michelangelo, only this time they are short one disciple and one
Teacher. Loaves of bread, and some broiled fish were put out to eat. And then when you look closer you see the disarray of the table. It's like something caused the disciples to knock over cups and drop plates. You see in the picture that some of the disciples have their eyes fixed on a figure in the center – a figure Who faces the disciples. He has His hands stretched out. On the faces of the disciples one can see absolute terror. The title of this painting ironically is – “Peace be with you.” Peace wasn't what the disciples experienced at that
moment when Jesus all of a sudden appeared to them. Luke says in verse 37, “They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.” There have been many articles and commentaries written on this verse. One theologian put it quite frank – “Why were those
disciples startled and frightened? Weren’t they the lucky ones? They witnessed so many things in the presence of the Lord – how He fed more than 5000 people; how He healed the sick and gave the blind back their sight. They saw with their own eyes how the dead was
raised by Jesus. Who among us wouldn't like to be named Peter or Matthew, Mary or Martha, James or John? They looked so many times in the eyes of the Messiah; yes the eyes of God Himself. They heard His voice so many times – God in the flesh spoke to them.
But then when Jesus appeared they were terrified; more afraid than what any person ever can be. How was that possible?” But then, didn't Jesus tell them that after the cross and the tomb, He was going to be reunited with them? Why didn't they get that? Because their reality got to them to the extend that they just couldn't accept what Jesus told them. Their fear took over. With people on the streets passing by the house where they were gathered, they were
quiet in that Upper Room and they listened. Was there going to be banging on the door?
Were Roman soldiers going to come for them and take them to similar crosses as the one their Teacher died on? Isn't it true my friends, when we find ourselves in hopeless situations we lose touch with reality and it's like darkness overcome us to the point that darkness is what we prefer. Years ago a man in Florence received the devastating news that his wife and children all died in a car crash. He was left just by himself and fell into a deep depression.
Each time when family and friends went to see him, they found him in a dark room in the house and each time he said, “Don't turn on the lights; I can't stand light.” The sad reality of that man's life was that his light went out. The light went out for Jesus' disciples. He knew
that and He went to bring the light back in their lives. Jesus wanted to set them free from the dark dungeon they have created for themselves. And the wonderful reality is that Jesus still
wants to set people free from the dark places they are hiding in.

From Luke 24: 36-49 we see wonderful qualities Jesus brought His disciples after His resurrection. First there was 1 Peace. Jesus knew the people who were His companions for three years were confused and frightened. They had hit rock bottom. And so the first thing He said to them was, “Peace be with you.” This wasn't simply a greeting like the Jews greeted one another with the Hebrew word for peace, “shalom.” No, the word for peace here is from the Greek. It is “eirene”, which means “wholeness” or “completeness.” When Jesus
appeared to His disciples the first thing He wanted to emphasize was, “I am here to bring you wholeness or completeness.” Isn't that what every single person in the world is longing for?
That desire to be whole and to feel complete. They buy books on personal development; they go to seminars on how to get to that point where you will feel that you have gotten your place
in the sun. But you know, for so many it's elusive. They have filled their bookshelves, but still they feel that they lack that peace of mind. You can only have true peace, as Jesus described
it in His words, “My Peace”, when you recognize the resurrected Lord. Again He stands in every place where His people are assembled and in every place where they live and He says,
“Peace be with you.” How wonderful it must have been for the disciples to have heard Jesus again say those words? Before His crucifixion He told them that His peace was with them
and that His peace was different from the peace the world offers. But, as any human being they must have doubted that after what happened at Golgotha. What does it do for you to
hear those words spoken to you? “Peace be with you.” No matter what you go through in life, no matter what might happen in the future, no matter what might threaten your life, the
presence of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, brings quality to your life. No matter how dark your moment might be with a diagnoses from a physician or bad news you received about a loved one, the peace of Jesus Christ rises above that.

2 Joy is the next quality Jesus gave His disciples. In verse 41 we read, “And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement...” Elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus stated, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may
be full.” John 15:11. The disciples were filled with exactly what Jesus talked about – His complete joy. They were so surprised when Jesus appeared to them. It was like they couldn't believe their eyes. Previously they were overcome with grief. Now, they were overwhelmed with joy. It’s like you receive a precious gift from someone you never expected. At first you can’t believe your good fortune. But when you let it sink in, it becomes reality. With Jesus'
appearance it was just so much more than receiving a precious gift. Nothing else can be compared to it. Jesus gave His disciples time to let the reality of His resurrection sink in. He asked for something to eat, and they realized that He was truly alive. Joy is a companion to
peace. When your heart is filled with peace it's like it's overflowing with joy. That's what made Paul and Silas sing with joy when they were in prison in Philippi. It was the presence of peace that moved Horatio Spafford to write the hymn, “It is well with my soul”, after his four daughters drowned when the vessel they crossed the Atlantic with, sank. Their mother survived and sent a telegram with the devastating news to Spafford who was in Chicago.
God gives joy in the midst of sorrow. Isn't it wonderful that in a world of deception and tragedies and hurts we as Christians can still sing God's praises? There was a last quality after the resurrection Jesus emphasized to His disciples –

3 The Commissioning. We read in verses 47 and 48, “...and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” Jesus opened the minds of His disciples to comprehend what
they were to take to the people of their world. And how effective have they become?! They went from strength to strength. Paul, Silas, Peter and the rest spoke in front of crowds, even the authorities. And it brought them much trouble – they were imprisoned and flogged. But still, the mission of Jesus Christ was their mission and they weren't going to back away from it. We too participate in the work of Christ by taking out the Good News. That my friends,
should always be the main focus of any church. We are equipped to go and tell others about the love of God. God gives us again His mission for the world – “Go out and proclaim that in the midst of the ruins, there is Good News – Jesus came to save people for eternity.” You will agree with me – our world needs to hear good news. In the midst of a war in Ukraine and economical downfalls and more variants of a pandemic, the news is, “Christ rose from the
dead and He brings you victory over everything.” All you need to do is to embrace the qualities His resurrection brought. Live in His victory over death.
Rev. Willem H. Van de Wall