Sermon preached at Poole High School for Poole Christian Fellowship on 5 June 2016
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Jesus has risen from the dead. Death has been defeated, and the way into God’s presence is clear. Rumours abound – the tomb was empty, the woman have seen Jesus and a confused bunch of disciples are gathered in the same upper room where a few evenings previously they had eaten the Passover together.
So – what now?
Luke 24 v 36-49:
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “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.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He 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.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 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. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The Ultimate Reason to Believe
No event is history is as well documented as the resurrection of Jesus. He foundation of the evidence is that there were eleven apostles who died for their belief that Jesus had risen. So they had to be absolutely sure. What evidence could there be?
Suddenly Jesus is with them, the same features, the same charm and the same figure as before, but this time without the weight of having carried the burden of sin. He spoke, he showed them the marks in his hands and feet, and he ate in their presence. What more evidence could there be? From this moment on there is no doubt. Even Thomas is convinced when he sees for themselves.
The Ultimate Record
We now have the testimony of these eleven men, but we have the whole of the Christian Scriptures which testify to the same thing – that Jesus died for our sins and that he rose again, proving that the battle was won for all time.
All the Scriptures testify to the gospel, and Jesus needs to open the eyes of his disciples to see the truth for themselves. This is highly significant. No one can see the truth of the gospel unless Jesus shows them. People’s eyes are willingly darkened – but Jesus can open them. Salvation always starts with God.
The Ultimate Revelation
Now that the battle is won and the price is paid – the next stage opens up to us. And it is that the message of this new life, won for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus, needs to go out to the whole world. The story of the last two thousand years is exactly that. This is a prophecy that Jesus made that seemed almost unbelievable. Especially in the light of the next point. Who is going to do this? Angels?
The Ultimate Responsibility
The job is given to mere human beings. Two thousand years later, the job is not done – in some respects it has hardly started. We have a job to do to preach God’s word to the ends of the earth. How is such a thing possible?
The Ultimate Resource
This would be impossible were it not for one thing. The Spirit of God will be given to the disciples to enable them to be the messengers of this good news of Jesus. That Spirit, given at Pentecost, has now been given to us. By the Spirit of God the gospel is made known to the nations, and men and women from every tribe and nation will be amongst those worshipping the lamb in heaven.