Dec21MonDecember 21, 2020
Good morning Church,
Here we are Monday morning, anticipating the announcement of a province wide lockdown, that will surely spoil all of our Christmas plans. Forced to do something we don't want to do, by powers stronger than us, and no way to change it.
How did the disciples of Jesus feel, being forced into hiding, confined to their home for fear of the powers in control (see John 20:19). They had dreams, visions, hope that this Jesus was the one who would liberate them - not feeling very free right now!. They were in lockdown, unable to leave their homes for fear of arrest; unable to move forward and fulfill all these plans that Jesus had talked about.
Friends, we have just spent the past year going through most of the Gospel of Luke. It is Good News! The message is "God is with us"! God came down to earth, walked amongst us...in the midst of of pain and suffering; in the midst of this chaos and confusion; He showed up! And here again, in the midst of the great sorrow of these disciples of His, He shows up! He shows up to two disciples, walks with them, and talks with them, and takes the time to explain the scriptures to them. He even goes back to their house for a meal. It is while eating with them, that they realize who He is (vs. 31). They realized that their hearts were "burning" as Jesus explained from Moses and the Prophets all about Himself. Don't miss this - they got to eat with Jesus! God was with them, even in their sorrow; before they knew who He was.
Those disciples who ate with Jesus, ran to tell the other disciples that they had just eaten with Jesus! While they were speaking, Jesus showed up. First words: "PEACE be with you" (vs. 36). These are some of the first words spoken when Jesus showed up as a baby: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth PEACE to those on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) Jesus proves to His disciples it is indeed Him, by showing them His wounds, and eating some food. He then reminds them of His teachings from the Law, Prophets and Psalms. After opening their minds to understand, He explains the Good News (gospel) to them - His mission (vs, 45-47), and their mission (vs.48-49).
When something is repeated twice, we need to take notice! Twice it says that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies (vs.27 & 44). Twice it says that Jesus "opened" their minds to understand the scriptures (vs, 31, 32, 45). It takes divine intervention to see Jesus revealed in the Bible. God miraculously reveals Jesus to those who desire to see Him. Whenever we read scripture, we should ask Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to us! Speaking of Holy Spirit, Jesus promises His disciples "power from on high", which will clothe (endue) them. Disciples cannot accomplish their mission without "power" - Holy Spirit is the power of the believer to preach the Gospel with signs and wonders following.
The Gospel of Luke closes with the disciples waiting to receive the promised Holy Spirit. The Gospel leaves us wondering what will happen next. It demands a sequel! We have it - the book of Acts - an eyewitness account of the disciples filled with Holy Spirit, turning the whole world upside down!
At the beginning of Luke's Gospel, the birth of Jesus is like this: "But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people." (Luke 2:10)
At the end of the Gospel of Luke, the Ascension of Jesus is like this: "Then they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great JOY. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:52-53)
PEACE and JOY. Luke's message is clear! When Jesus is present - there is PEACE and JOY! How do you get through tough times, lockdowns, stolen Christmas and Easter get togethers? You don't focus on what you don't have; you focus on Who you do Have! JESUS is the reason for the season. Where He is, there is PEACE and JOY. The powers of this world may take away your Christmas, but they can't take away your JESUS! He will be at every meal you have - just invite Him in!
Have a Merry CHRISTmas!!!!