The Heart of the Risen Christ
Christ our incorruptible Lord has risen. He has risen and now sits on a throne. Brothers and sisters, we have a glorious King and if we belong to an unstoppable Kingdom. In this time of uncertainty and fear, let’s look to the things that are eternal and cannot be shaken. Let’s pray.
Well, to say that the resurrection of Jesus is a watershed event is a massive understatement. It is THE watershed event. Not because it is more important than the cross… it vindicates the work of the cross. It is the central event upon which our faith stands or falls. Paul said “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” The resurrection is the guarantee of our eternal life through faith in Christ. In John 11:25-26 Jesus said,
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
And now, even now the resurrection is the power through which we can live a new life. Romans 6:4 says,We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
And it really does matter that you believe it. It is the resurrection and your confident trust in it that makes all the difference (Romans 10:9). The resurrection is the central event in human history. Amen. But I want to take a look at something that may sometimes be overlooked. And it’s this. What was most on the heart of Jesus after he rose from the dead? It’s interesting, Jesus did not rise from the dead and immediately ascend to heaven. He interacted with his disciples for a period of time. What was burning in his heart to share with them? If you have your bible, turn to Luke 24:36-49 (read).
What is most on the heart of the King of the Universe after he rises from the dead? He announces his peace, he shares his purpose, and he promises his power.
First, Jesus gives his peace (verses 36-40)
Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” (verse 36)
I love the phrase, “Jesus stood among them.” He didn’t send a note. He went to them and stood in their midst. After his resurrection, Jesus comes to his troubled and doubting disciples and gives peace. He doesn’t just announce peace. He comes and stands in their midst and says, “Peace.” He knows exactly what we need. And apparently, peace is quite a commodity in the Lord’s mind. Don’t think of peace as a kind of benign, lazy quality. When you are fretful and anxious, there is nothing you want more than peace! Millions spend billions of dollars on medicine seeking it. People kill themselves in order to hopefully gain it. When you lack peace, you long for it! So when Jesus first sees his disciples, he greets them personally and announces peace. This is even more pronounced in John 20, where he comes to his disciples the night of his resurrection. Here’s what it says,
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” He showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.”
You may remember it wasn’t long before Jesus had said to them that his peace would help them in a troubled world. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart (be of good cheer!), I have overcome the world.” He had just been crucified and buried for our sins. Now he has been raised, defeating sin, death, and… THE WORLD with all it’s troubles and says, “peace to you.” [Mark 4 - sleeping, rebuked storm… ] It is little comfort to tell someone “hey chill out, be at peace…” when their world is collapsing, unless the Person speaking has all authority in heaven and on earth. Christ does. Notice after Jesus announces peace, they are still troubled and fearful. Verse 37-38 says,
But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?’
What Jesus does to comfort his disciples in their fear and doubts is fascinating. He gives them a sign. He could have done anything to assure them that he really was Christ… the Son of God. He could have picked up three 10 ton boulders and juggled them in a sign of raw power. That would have been impressive. He certainly could have. The sign he gives them is quite different than that. What does he do? He shows them his wounds. He says,
“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see.” (verse 39)
Jesus draws attention to the marks of his sufferings to prove that it was really him with them. He held out his hands, and said “It’s me.” He is not suffering anymore, right? He suffered once for all. But he bears the marks and always will. Christ wants us to always know him as the one who was “wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Why this sign though? At least a few reasons:
- His wounds are signs of his perpetual signs of his finished work, that purchases for us perfect and eternal peace with God. The Father and the angels in heaven see them constantly. And Christ showed his disciples - “look, it is finished.” And we may by faith look to the wounds of Christ and know that it is finished as well.
His wounds are an eternal memorial of his great love for his followers. Jesus had just taught his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends…” (John 15:13)
His wounds identify him as a sympathetic, merciful, gentle high priest (Hebrews 4:14-5:2).
Charles Spurgeon said, “When you want comfort (when you want peace), crave no sign, but turn to the wounds of our Lord.” Do you want and need comfort today? Jesus, the risen Lord holds out his nail-pierced hands and announces his peace to you today.
After giving his peace - I love this - Jesus shares his purpose.
Second, Jesus, Shares His Purpose (verses 46-48)
What is the mission (purpose) of Christ that he shares with his disciples; with us? It is that the message of salvation through Christ should spread throughout the whole world. He has a passion for the lost. People who are living apart from Jesus are headed toward destruction. They are driving 120 mph toward a cliff which will plunge them into everlasting ruin. It may be a joy ride now, but it will end in disaster. Here’s how Jesus shares his mission with his disciples in 46-48:
Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed among all the nations. You are witnesses of these things. (verse 46-48)
Jesus is not just the Savior of the USA. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” is a fine patriotic song, but is not gospel. Furthermore, Jesus is not the Savior of good, clean, nice midwestern folk. The gospel is to be proclaimed among all the nations. Because Jesus wants all the nations. Nations, probably referring not to geographic countries, but people groups or tribes. Jesus lays claim to them all. He wants people from every nation among the redeemed. In Psalm 2:7-8 we see the Father addressing the Son saying, The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage and the ends of the earth your possession.”
The Father has promised the Son all the nations as his love gift, his inheritance. So the gospel is to spread. And God has chosen for it to spread through men and women, speaking it, proclaiming it, telling it to others. And before you say, “Yeah, but who am I?” remember who Jesus is talking to. A bunch of nobodies! First century nobodies, with no money and no connections. Listen to the progression we see in Romans 10:13-15:
For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
So this is Christ’s purpose: for the gospel to spread everywhere in the world so that people hear, believe, and are saved. And it is to spread through his people, bearing witness to him. Jesus says to his disciples in verse 48, “You are witnesses of these things…” He calls them witnesses. They were eyewitnesses of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. They were eyewitnesses. You and I are not eyewitnesses, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t witnesses in any sense. Think about this...
Have you repented of your sins and turned to Christ as Lord and Savior, and received forgiveness? If not, what are you waiting for! Today’s the day! Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Do it, now! Whether you are old or young, Jesus stands ready to forgive you and save you. Repent and believe. But if you have, then you are joined to the group of witnesses of Jesus. We are witnesses of the death and resurrection of Christ, not because we were there, but because of his transforming work in our lives. And so Jesus shares his mission with us. We are to be witnesses, pointing people to him by proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins - starting with your family, your neighborhood, your school, your place of work, your city (unique now).
When we receive the gift of peace through the risen Christ, we want to share in His mission of the gospel spreading everywhere. But, as soon as we hear of the mission of Christ and that we are given the privilege AND responsibility of participating, we realize, “uh oh, how am I supposed to do that? I am weak and this seems like a big task.” Rhankfully after giving peace, and sharing his purpose, Jesus promises his power.
3) Jesus, the Risen Lord, Promises His Power
And behold I am sending you the promise of my Father. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. (verse 49)
The task is enormous, right? The gospel spreading everywhere, starting where you are. How is this mission to be carried out? Well, there is a need for power. The task is enormous, but the power is more than sufficient. I love the words, “Behold, I am sending the promise of the Father.” The one who speaks peace, shows his wounds, and shares his purpose will HIMSELF send the power we need.This power is called the promise of the Father. The Father made a promise. And Jesus, after he rose from the dead said, “I am going to get it and will send it to you.” What is the promise? The Holy Spirit. What we need is the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. He comes as power to carry out the purpose, the mission of Christ. Peter affirms this in Acts 2:33 while speaking to a crowd in a sermon on the Day of Pentecost:
Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses…” The disciples were told to stay in the city until the Spirit came. The fulfillment cae on the day of Pentecost and the rest is history. The little ragtag group of disciples turned the world upside down.
We need Christ’s power as well. Unfortunately, we can completely miss this. We can either basically attempt to live in our own strength. Or we can seek God’s power for that which he has NOT promised it. The risen Christ says the promise of the Father is power through the Holy Spirit to make Him known - to be a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. To make him known through speaking the gospel… and through a life that is radically transformed by the power of the Spirit.
A desperate world desperately needs to see and encounter Christians who are filled with this power and ready to share good news. Good news of peace and forgiveness through the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
The Risen Christ stands among us today:
Christ is alive from the dead. He holds out his wounded hands and says “Peace to you”. Receive his peace.
The risen and glorious Christ shares his purpose with every true believer. The purpose of rescuing people from going over a cliff to their eternal destruction; you are there to tell them how to avert this disaster. Embrace it! Joyfully embrace it.
The risen Lord promises his power to live for his purpose. The power of the Holy Spirit is more than sufficient for you to live faithfully for Christ and speak of him to others. Seek this power; seek the Holy Spirit’s fullness.
Benediction: Hebrews 13:20-21