COLOR: WHITE OR GOLD
SUNDAY APRIL 21ST 2019
TEXTS: LUKE 23:46; 24:30 – 35
THEME: REUNION: SEVENTH-MILE MIRACLE
We continue with Lenten study by Steven Furtick: Seven -Mile Miracle: Experiencing the Last Words of Christ as Never Before. Published by Multnomah Books 178, Colorado Springs CO.
The story of resurrection is indeed a story that came with a real impact to the people living then and continues to have effect 2000 years later. We have to invite ourselves to look at the story of resurrection in different lenses and decides which one speaks to us. This one-week episode starts with Jesus riding on a donkey as he entered Jerusalem and people welcomed him by waving palm leaves and other even putting their clothes on the road for Jesus donkey to walk on. The even shouted words like Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest. The word Hosanna means “come save us.”
- Resurrection was defeat to system: Under this category there were two major forces that lead to Jesus crucifixion. The first system or force was made up of the religious leaders. The question then is what did they stand to gain by Jesus death? They were tired of Jesus preaching forgiveness, love, inclusion. Jesus was interrupting the systems that they hade created which were oppressive and subjective. Jesus was questioning their authority. To them from the high priest to the pharisees he had become a thorn in the flesh and they needed to stop him quick before they became irrelevant. They used all unorthodox methods like meeting at night, not calling witness and many others. The second system was the Roman Government: To them Jesus had gained so much popularity that they were afraid that one day he may turn political and invite people to rebel against the Roman rule. Jesus had healed people, feed people and continued to do more miracles. He was getting to be popular and some people had started to think that he was the king who was coming to rescue them from the oppression of the Roman rule. When people shouted hosanna (come save us) was a bad sign to them. This system needed to find a way to get ride of him in a way that people will not blame them. That is way the offer by the religious group appealed to them. The accepted when the religious rulers accused Jesus for mutiny by agreeing that he was the king of the Jews. The two system then combined their effort to get Jesus crucified. Now that he was raised the were totally defeated and never knew that to do next. Killing somebody was supposed to end the life of that person and their influence. But Jesus came back and his message spread even faster and it has stayed since for that why we are gathered this morning to bear that witness.
- Resurrection was victory to the believers: Good Friday to most believers standing by the cross was the message of defeat. They couldn’t even remember then what Jesus had told them about his death. Very often he had told them that he would be killed and on the third day he was to raise again. On the Easter Sunday marked the beginning of a new chapter in their faith. We see this story unfold in three major events: First event, Mary Magdalene and the team of women go to the grave just to discover it was empty. For the men here we have to appreciate the bravery of these women. They had to content with three things: One, danger of going out almost 3:00am by themselves. They could have been attached on the way. Two, the soldiers guarding the tomb. Will they allow them to get to the body of Jesus? What were they to do? The third obstacle was the stone. Who was going to roll the stone for them to go in and anoint the body of Jesus? It was Mary Magdalen who was patient enough to have the conversation with risen Lord. She went back and told the disciples of her encounter with the risen Lord. But God is always a step ahead of us to clear the way or guide us through. We have to keep our eyes open to experience this. Second event, the risen Lord had an encounter with the disciple going home to Emmaus from Jerusalem. On their way home a stranger joined them who they eventually invited for dinner as it was getting late. We read that as he broke bread with them the recognized it was the risen Jesus with them then he simply disappeared. As people have said that what made them know it was Jesus was as he handed them bread the saw the wounds on his hands where he was crucified. That is something to think about. They rose and walked for seven miles back to Jerusalem to pass the news to the disciples. They had a meal with the risen Lord. The third event, Jesus came in the room where the disciples were gathering when the door were still locked. Jesus offered peace to them as you can imagine even though they had heard from Mary Magdalene and the disciples from Emmaus they were afraid. Jesus pronounces peace upon them. Thomas was not there the first time and it took Jesus coming back for him to believe he was risen. Some of us are like Thomas who need to touch and see to believe. This was an empowering event to the hearts of the disciples and other believers. They got energized and bold to go and stand for Jesus in the midst of hostile environment.
- Resurrection was a re-union: Others have seen the resurrection of Jesus as true re-union to those he loved. The re-union was short here on earth but is continues forever when we get to heaven. Jesus had a moment of reunion to his mother Mary, to his disciples and to his believers. He was always united to his father for they are one. Jesus extends this union by sending us the Holy Spirit who then becomes our helper on daily bases.
- Reflection questions: As you think of your faith Journey with Jesus the rest of the year, you can ponder the following questions:
- What does resurrection mean to you?
- How can you live a life of Joy since your Jesus is risen and lives forever more?
- What message do you share with the world about the risen Lord?