There are four responses we can have to Jesus’ resurrection.
1) PEACE NOT FEAR (Luke 24: 36-39)
What’s the first thing Jesus says when He appears to His followers? “Peace be with you.” Jesus is offering peace to a group of men who are really scared. They were hiding behind locked doors because they were so frightened. We lock our homes at night to feel safe, but their fear is even more real. They’re afraid of suffering a similar fate as Jesus.
In the face of all of this Jesus offers His disciples and us today true and lasting peace. The Bible’s understanding of peace is based on the Old Testament word “Shalom” which isn’t just the absence of conflict, but the presence of blessing. It is wholeness, virtue, and flourishing throughout all of life. Shalom is the opposite of hiding behind a locked door.
What door are you hiding behind? What key have you thrown away because life is just too much? It’s too scary. It’s too hard. You can’t take it anymore. You’ve locked away your heart from God and others. You’ve had enough. If one more thing happens, you’re gonna break down. Today, Jesus wants to appear to you behind your locked door. He wants to show up with the power of His resurrection—with shalom, with peace. If there’s anyone who can bring life to your situation no matter how it feels, it is Jesus.
2) BELIEF NOT DOUBT (Luke 24: 40-43)
Jesus sets out to conquer their fear by inviting His followers to look at His hands and feet, and to touch Him. But at first they don’t believe. They’re too overwhelmed. It’s too good to be true. So to prove He’s not a ghost, He eats some food. When the disciples experienced the reality of the resurrection, they believe. But can we trust their witness? Can we trust this account? Can we believe?
We believe and do all sorts of things because we think we have the truth. But believing in something doesn’t necessarily make it true. It makes sense for someone to suffer and even die for something that they think is true, but don’t really know if it’s not. But it doesn’t make sense for someone to willingly suffer and die for something they know to be false, especially if it doesn’t benefit them with wealth, power, or fame. If the disciples made the whole thing up, their life of suffering wouldn’t make sense.
The three main possibilities for why the disciples preached Jesus is alive and were willing to die for it is:
1) A group hallucinations took place (which is impossible).
2) They made it up and were lying (but then their suffering doesn’t make sense).
3) Their story is true (sometimes the simplest explanation is the best).
So the fact that Jesus appeared to His eleven disciples, and they were willing to leave the safety of locked doors, and go out and suffer and die for Jesus tells us what they saw was real. Jesus did rise from the dead.
3) SHARING NOT SILENCE (Luke 24: 44-49)
Jesus again reminds His disciples like He did on the road to Emmaus of why the Scriptures matter. 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,” But you can study your Bible your whole life and never really get it. This is why Luke 24:45 is the key, “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
In order for us to share the Scriptures and the message of Jesus, we need the Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts so we can first understand them. This doesn’t mean that we have to understand them perfectly, but we need to understand them well enough to see our need for Christ.
As followers of Jesus we are called to share, not be silent. My sense (based on my own life) is that silence is our normal mode of operation. After a while, we get so comfortable not sharing Jesus it becomes difficult to imagine sharing Him. I want to challenge us each to get uncomfortable with our own silence. Pray that Christ will help you truly believe in His resurrection so that you will share.
4) PRAISE, PRAISE, AND MORE PRAISE (Luke 24: 50-53)
Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus takes His disciples to the Mount of Olives just outside the town of Bethany near Jerusalem. He blesses them, and then ascends into heaven to rule and reign until He comes again. The only proper response is worship and praise.
Luke 24:52-53: So they worshiped Him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
As we think about our responses to the resurrection I hope it will fill us with peace not fear, belief not doubt, sharing not silence, and praise, praise, and more praise. (PASTOR JONATHAN ROMIG)