He Has Risen!

by LA UBF   04/03/2010     0 reads




Luke 24:1-53 Key Verse 24:6-7

6He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”

I want to share with you a story before I begin my message.  There was a woman who lived in a small rural village and she died, but amazingly after several days she came back from the dead.  Afterwards she told all the people that while she was dead she saw hell; all the people were shocked when they heard this.  They all knew this woman and they knew she had died and that she had come back from the dead.  So after hearing this from the woman the whole village decided to go to church and they did this for several months, but after a while, one by one and two by two the people stopped going to church.  The point of my story is that just seeing the woman rise from the dead and hearing her amazing testimony was not enough to truly help them.  They soon went back to their old ways and her coming back to life left no lasting impact.  Basically, seeing and hearing the testimony was not enough.  

The same is true about our resurrection faith in Jesus.  People say, if they see the actual resurrection with their own eyes then they would truly believe.  Others, when they hear powerful and convincing testimonies, they think that they now truly believe.  But neither is true.  Our five senses, our emotions, our knowledge, or our experience, cannot be the true basis of our belief in the resurrection of Jesus. If someone’s belief is based on such things, his/her faith will eventually fade away and will bear no fruit.  Why is this so?  First, it is because the resurrection is too good, too glorious, and too powerful for man to fathom with his human faculty, and second, believing in the resurrection of Jesus is neither a matter of evidence nor escaping hell.  It is a matter of knowing God’s love and God’s power.  

In other words, we cannot believe in Jesus’ resurrection when we do not know the love of God.  We cannot believe the resurrection when we do not know the power of God.  When we do not know the love of God and the power of God, we are already under the power of sin and death.  We are sorrowful, fearful, and can have no real hope.  We only try to numb our pain through something in the world.  But when we come to know the love of God, we are set free from the power of sin and death.  We not only escape hell, we enter robust fellowship with the living God and we no longer taste death.  We bear much fruit.  Jesus’ resurrection is a powerful demonstration and the culmination of God’s love and power for all sinners.  Today’s passage teaches us that it is only through the Scriptures that we can come to know this truth.  He died and rose to fulfill the Scriptures.  Jesus made God’s love show in the scripture into concrete reality.  For this reason Jesus wants His people to believe His resurrection based on Scripture.  

First - He is not here; He is Risen! (1-12)

 Look at verses 1-3.  1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

These women refer to the women who had followed Jesus from the very beginning of His public ministry in Galilee, and they had followed Him to the very end, all the way to Golgotha, where they saw Him crucified.  These women followed Jesus because Jesus was the only One who ever loved them with God’s pure love.  Personally, I have been married almost twenty years and one thing I have learned about my beautiful wife.  She really wants me to understand her and to care for and protect her.  When my wife feels loved by me she is the happiest woman in the world.  The same was true with these women.  In Jesus they found the Messiah.  Jesus not only loved them and understood their deep hearts, but He also healed them and had forgiven them all their sins.  And because of this these women followed Jesus to the very end.

One of these women, Mary Magdalene, is a good example.  When Jesus first met her, she was possessed by seven demons.  When she was a young girl she was pure and beautiful, but she got caught in her sin and it consumed her so much that demons began to occupy her; they tormented and disfigured her purity.  But then she met Jesus and He drove the demons out.  All her dirty past was washed away; and she was made pure by the love of Jesus.  She found her Savior and each of these women had a similar story.

But when these women witnessed Jesus’ trial, beating, crucifixion and death it was if their own bodies had been pierced; all their joy and happiness was shattered.  Deep sorrow and fatalism ruled their hearts and all they could do was cry and ask themselves again and again, “Why?”  “Why did they take Jesus from us?”  “He was so pure and good.  Why did they kill Him?”  For them because Jesus was dead they thought the rest of their lives were to be marked by sorrow and fatalism.  There was nothing they could do, but prepare spices to anoint Jesus’ dead body.  This is a great tragedy.  It was as if it were better that they had not met Jesus at all.  They were in deep sorrow, deep darkness, that absolutely no one and nothing could lift them up from.

But when they arrived at the tomb, the women found a shocking scene, the stone that covered the tomb was rolled away; and they could not find the body of Jesus inside.  Suddenly two angels appeared and spoke to them and asked them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: 7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”  These two angels told them clearly that Jesus is alive!  But how could that be?  These women saw Jesus die with their own eyes.  These two angels completely ignored what the women saw.  Instead they insisted, “Jesus is living!”

The  angels said to these sorrowful women, “Remember how He told you?”  These angels wanted these women to remember Jesus’ Words to them.  Jesus had told them clearly what was going to happen, that not only would He die at the hands of sinful men, but on the third day be raised again.  Yet when these women saw Jesus actually die such a cruel and terrible death, they could not remember Jesus’ Words.  Their outward circumstances completely overwhelmed them and drove them to despair and sorrow.  In order to help these sorrowful women, the angels rebuked them saying, ‘remember what He told you.’  These angels wanted these women to hold onto Jesus’ Words more than even what their own eyes saw.  By doing so the angels helped these fatalistic women to see that Jesus was no longer in the tomb.  

Nevertheless, the two angels told them, “He is not here.  He is Risen!” The angels wanted these women to come out from under this shadow and power of death.  Therefore the angels told the women, “Remember what He told you.”  After the two said this, these women could stop and think what Jesus had said to them.  They could remember that Jesus had told them about His death and resurrection and that it fulfilled the Scriptures.  At that moment they accepted what Jesus had told them.  When they did a new heavenly joy welled up within them and immediately all their sorrow was driven away.  They could even become Jesus’ joyful witnesses to the frightful Eleven apostles of Jesus.

So they left the tomb and went to the Eleven and told them everything that had happened.  What response did they receive?  Look at verses 11-12, “11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb.  Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”  How terrible!  Although the women shared exactly what the angels said, that Jesus was risen from the dead according to the Scriptures, their words were treated as nonsense! The Eleven could not accept the testimony of the women.   Jesus’ chosen Eleven thought the women were overcome by their emotions and everything they said was nonsense.  This means, it was not the women’s words that was nonsense to them.  It was the Scripture that was nonsense to them.  When they did not understand the Scripture, which is the revelation of God’s love and power, they could not understand Jesus’ resurrection either.  Unlike the women, because the Eleven did not believe what was told them, they remained in their fear, whereas the women had been set free from the fatalism that had gripped them earlier.

Second - On the road to Emmaus. (13-35)

Look at verses 13-14.  13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.”  These two men had followed Jesus while He was alive because they believed He would be the One to redeem Israel.  But when they saw Him die on the cross, they concluded that they must have been wrong and they high tailed it out of Jerusalem so that they would not be caught by those who had arrested and crucified Jesus.

But our Risen Jesus was so graceful to these two and helped them to overcome their unbelief and restore their faith in Jesus.  Look at verses 15-17, “15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing Him.  17He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"  They stood still, their faces downcast.”  “One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, ‘Are You only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?’” (18) “‘What things?’ He asked.  ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in Word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him...’” (19-20).  These men had hoped that He was going to start a rebellion against the Roman occupiers and sweep them away and usher in a new golden age to Israel; as golden as the time of King David.  But all their hopes and dreams came shattering down, when Jesus was caught by His enemies and put to death by crucifixion.  Because Jesus did not meet their expectations, they decided to leave Jerusalem and abandon the rest of the believers and go back to their home town and back to their old lives.  What they didn’t know was that the very thing they wanted from Jesus, He was actually doing, just not in the way they thought He would do it.  They did not understand that Jesus was overthrowing the true oppressor the devil by dying on the cross, and not by raising an army and defeating His enemies.  Many young people who first meet Jesus but do not have their expectations about what Jesus should do often run away.

What did Jesus do when He heard their unbelieving words?   He rebuked them (verses 25-27), “25He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”  All the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Jesus shared the Scriptures concerning Himself.  His Words to them comforted them and burned within them.  So they pleaded with Him, “Stay with us”.  He listened to their request and came and ate with them.  When Jesus took the bread and gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them an amazing thing happened, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, but then He immediately left them.  After helping them to understand that the Scriptures had been fulfilled, The Risen Christ disappeared from their sight.  Jesus wanted them to believe in the Risen Jesus, not with their sight, but based upon the Scriptures.  Jesus wanted them to live as men of the Scripture, who live by it, and not by what they thought or saw.

Look at verse 32, “32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”  So they got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.  After meeting the Risen Christ based on the Scriptures, they could overcome their own disappointment and misunderstanding.  When they arrived in Jerusalem, they found the Eleven and the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when He broke the bread.  Their human expectations were gone and they began to testify to Jesus’ resurrection based on the Scriptures.

Third - Jesus appears to the disciples. (36-49)

While the two were sharing all these things, the Risen Christ came into the upper room where the disciples were gathered.  Jesus said to them, "Peace be with you." (36) They were frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. (37)  Even though they were now convinced of His resurrection by now because of many witnesses, they were still, paralyzed by fear.  So He said to them (in verses 38-39), 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at My hands and My feet.  It is I myself! Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.'"  Here was Jesus in front of them and yet, because of their fear, they still doubted.  Their fear gripped them and wouldn’t let them go.  They were afraid that the religious leaders would come and arrest them and put them to death.  So Jesus allowed them to touch His flesh and bones.  But even that didn’t help them to overcome their doubt.   This is how strong the power of fear is in our lives.  Fear causes us to doubt.  Jesus bore their doubt and asked for a fish and began to eat it so that they could see that it was truly Him.

Look at verse 44. “44He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’”  Here we see how Jesus helped them to overcome their fear and accept that Jesus was truly risen from the dead.  Jesus once again taught them the Bible.  In doing so Jesus helped them accept Jesus’ resurrection based on the Scriptures and not on anything else.  

When they could see the Risen Christ (46-49), “He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.’”  After He said this, He left them and taken up into Heaven.

What does this mean to us?  What does it mean to us that Jesus is risen?  What does it mean that Jesus wants us to believe in his resurrection based on the Scriptures?  I will share two examples that help answer these questions.

First, there is this young man who is really smart and he knows it.  So he enrolled in top honor classes thinking that they would be a breeze for him to go through.  But his problem was that he never disciplined himself to study hard and he soon found out that these classes were so tough and he was getting really low scores.  He was humiliated and had never done this poorly before.  It hurt his pride.  And this young man began to despair for himself and wanted to drop all his classes and quit school.  His one word is, “I hate school.”  He no longer wanted to study.  He just wanted to stay up late and browse the computer and communicate with his friends Facebook.  He knew that this wasn’t going to help him, but he had no strength to rise up and challenge his studies.  He didn’t even want to get up in the morning; instead he wanted to sleep in and forget everything.  But by God’s grace his Bible teacher challenged him to come to the Word of God early every morning.  On his own he could not do so, so his Bible teacher went and woke him up early every morning even though he didn’t want to get up.  By coming to the Word of God, each morning He could remember God’s love to him personally through Jesus who died for him.  Now he is challenging his school studies, where once he wanted to quit.  If he had quit he surely would have failed, but now he has hope to pass all of his classes.  These days he is so happy.  Through the Word of God he could meet the Risen Jesus personally and know that He lives.

I really thank God for today’s passage because Jesus tells me to hold onto the Word of God.  It is the Word of God that testifies that Jesus is risen!  It is the Scriptures that testify to God’s love for me and for all people.  It is the Scriptures that says, “Anyone who puts their trust in Jesus will not be put to shame.”  For over a year and a half I have been getting up at 5:30 a.m. and coming to the center to pray and to read God’s Word.  In the last year and a half my life has become more and more stable; prior to that my life was so unstable.  In the past even trying to serve a message like this was impossible for me to do.  One time I was given the privilege to serve the message for a spring Bible conference, but because of my sense of shame and guilt for my sin and not believing that I could be forgiven, I could not dare serve the message.  I felt like a complete hypocrite.  So I disappeared the day I was to go to the conference and I never went to that conference and I never delivered that message, instead, Msn. Isaac had to quickly prepare and serve the message that I was supposed to.  After that conference, my wife told Msn. Isaac to never choose me again to serve a message because it was too stressful for her, she never even knew if I would show up or not.  Every time I was chosen I would become shaky and I would give my wife and coworkers a hard time.  

This is one small example of the instability of my past life.  But these days ever since I have been coming faithfully to God’s Word every morning, I almost serve a message each week.  I am part of the rotation of 5 brothers who serve the main message at 11 a.m.; but I also am part of the messenger rotation with several others for our combined High School and Middle School children who have their worship service at 9 a.m.; and finally, I have been given the privilege to serve as a messenger with 2 other brothers for our elementary children, which takes place at 1:30 p.m.  Some Sundays I don’t serve any messages, but some Sunday’s I serve 3 different messages!  In the past I couldn’t even show up to serve the message, but ever since I started coming to the Word of God early in the morning God has given me true victory and stability in my life that I never had before.  I share this not to boast, but to testify that God’s Word gave me victory in my life in an area of my life that I was so powerless and fatalistic about.

I thank God for today’s passage because the truth is that even today I am still assailed by my enemy the devil who tries to use other areas of weakness in my life to cause me to become fatalistic and cause me to abandon my faith in Jesus, just like the two men who ran away to Emmaus.  Most recently, my enemy has been trying to fill me with a sense of shame and guilt and fatalism that I am not a good father to my oldest son.  My oldest son and I are very similar, we are both very passionate and hot headed people and we are very stubborn.  I think he is more stubborn than me, but I would imagine if you ask him, he might say that I am.  My oldest son is now 15 and soon going to be 16.  For a couple of years now we seem to argue a lot.  I often became so angry at him; there have been times that I was so angry with him that I threw him up against the wall and even choked him.  But every time I did this I always felt so terrible afterwards.  I truly do love my son; I only want what’s best for him.  Sometimes I just have a really strange way to show it.  Whenever something like this happened my faith was attacked so badly.  It was hard for me to really call myself a Christian.  It was hard for me to accept Jesus’ sin-forgiving love for me.  It was hard for me to accept that I am free from the power of sin in my life, when I had no control over myself.  And this has been so hard for me for some time.

But through today’s passage I can see that Jesus wants me to hold onto the Scriptures that testify to Jesus’ resurrection because Jesus completely shattered the power of death, when He rose from the dead.  Jesus wants me to believe by holding onto the Scriptures.  Through preparing this message I have a hope that I can truly overcome my sin of anger and violence and instead be a good spiritual father and shepherd to my son Peter and for all my five sons.

In today’s passage we see Jesus help the women, the two disciples going to Emmaus and Jesus’ disciples.  Jesus helped them to overcome all elements of death by believing in Jesus’ resurrection; to the women it was fatalism and sorrow; to the two disciples it was disappointment and misplaced expectations and to the Eleven disciples it was fear of death itself.  Jesus helped them all to believe in His resurrection based upon the Scriptures.  May God help each of us to experience this complete victory over death that Jesus won for us by believing the Scriptures.

One Word: He is Risen!