Happy Easter! JESUS IS RISEN!!!!
Last week, we learned about King Jesus and how misunderstood He was. In fact, the crowds were so confused about Him that in just a few days time, they went from praising and honoring Jesus as their king to crucifying Jesus for claiming to be their king. There was no confusion with Jesus, however. He knew exactly what task He came to accomplish, where His kingdom truly existed, what type of death He would suffer, but also exactly what would be happen on the third day following His death!
This morning, we’re going to read through Luke’s account of the resurrection of Jesus and then we’ll learn about how this same resurrection power is available to us and what purpose this power has been given to us. We’ll find that the confusion and misunderstandings about Jesus didn’t occur only with the crowds, but even with Jesus’ very own disciples and those who closely followed Him.
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He 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 over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, 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.
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “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. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 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.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 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.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 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.”
Over and over again, the simple and straightforward words of Jesus were misunderstood as they read their own desires between the lines. Even while physically walking with Jesus, His own followers didn’t recognize them until their eyes were opened to see Him. Then, when they saw Him again, they thought that He was a ghost. These, the same men who saw Jesus raise the dead to life, the same men who hung out with those dead people that Jesus rose from the grave, still doubted that Jesus could have physically risen from death to life.
Jesus, seemingly not surprised by their doubt, showed them once again, the evidence that He was indeed the same Jesus, just resurrected. He had to break through their doubt because they were about to personally receive that same power that Jesus had while He ministered on the earth and that same power that rose Him from the grave. He told them about this power prior to His death and then again after He had rose again.
In Acts chapter 1, we find this other account where Jesus reminded His disciples to wait to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the power that they would receive from Him to be witnesses for Him. Once again, the disciples misunderstood Jesus and asked if that would be the time that He would restore the kingdom to Israel out of the Roman Empire’s rule. Despite the fact that they misunderstood why they were receiving this power from the Holy Spirit, they still received the Holy Spirit and only then, they began to understand the purpose of this power that they had received!
This resurrection power enabled them to overcome sin and to be able to bring the kingdom of God here on earth. It enabled them to be witnesses for Jesus and to do all that He did and even greater, just as Jesus said that any who believes in Him would do. This power transformed their lives and renewed their minds. It empowered them to overcome their enemies, not the Roman empire, but their true enemies. It empowered them to understand the word of God and to proclaim it boldly.
It gave them a full understanding of just how meaningless this life and the things of the world are and just how boundless and great the things of God are! It enabled them to understand the difference between the things that our flesh desires and the things that the Holy Spirit desires. It enabled them to be a true disciple of Jesus, who said that if we do not take up our cross, crucify our own flesh with it’s desires, that we are not worthy to call ourselves His disciple.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
What an awesome reality that we possess when we accept Christ’s salvation. That literal same Spirit that rose Jesus from the grave, from death to life, lives in us. So long as we submit to that same Holy Spirit, He also gives us new life. However, with power comes responsibility and accountability. We’ve been given this resurrection power not so that we can go on living as we want to, but so that we can escape the desires of the flesh and fulfill the desires of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit-empowered life is a life of peace, abundance, and adventure!
This morning, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We don’t worship a god who is merely a lofty thought or idea. We don’t worship a god made by any person or group of people. We worship the one true God – the only God who left His throne in complete humility to live the perfect life as one of us, then to give that life away as the payment for our sins. Then, He rose again victorious defeating the power of sin and death! This same power and authority is given to any who call on the name of Jesus for salvation. This power enables us, also, to overcome sin and temptation in our own lives and to see the power of God move in and through our lives.
This morning, let us all cast off death from our lives. Let us choose to stop living by our flesh and start living by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we put our faith in Jesus, we receive the power to make this choice and to see our lives transformed! Listen to the extreme contrast of a life lived by the flesh versus a life lived by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit!
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Throughout our lives, let us keep in step with the Spirit, putting to death the desires of our flesh, just as Jesus’ body was crucified, and let us embrace the new life that we have been given through the power of resurrection, just as Jesus was raised again, and choose to live a life of power and victory!
HE IS RISEN!!!