Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Meals of Jesus: Resurrection, Witnessing and Waiting

The Meals of Jesus: Resurrection, Witnessing and Waiting
Luke 24.36-.49
Acts 1.3-.5

    Luke is in a hurry to end his Gospel account so he wraps things up fast leaving us with just one meal after the resurrection.  This meal takes place immediately after Cleopas and his traveling companion return from Emmaus.  They had traveled all day with a stranger who turned out in the end to actually be the resurrected LORD Jesus Christ.  Cleopas and his friend leave Emmaus immediately and return to Jerusalem.  They find the 11 Apostles to share what had just happened to them.  As they are all talking the LORD Jesus Christ appears in their midst. (Luke 24.13 - .36)
    The 11 and those with them are troubled, full doubt, full of joy and amazed!  Can this really be Jesus returned or it is a ghost?  Jesus makes a very strong point to show them that he is not a ghost or an illusion but that he is an actual physical person.  To do this he has them touch him and see his wounded hands and feet (Luke 24.39).  Then he eats some fish in their presence (Luke 24.41).  He is not a ghost.  He is not an illusion.  This is not a body double or a pretender.  This is not a counterfeit resurrection or tall tale but the real thing!  Jesus is physically resurrected.  The raised body is the same body that died.  It bears the scars of the death he went thru!
    After they touched him.  After they saw his hands and feet.  After they watched him eat.  He reminds them that he had been telling about this the whole time (Luke 24.44).   He tells them that all this was to fulfill what was written about him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24.44).  The suffering, death and resurrection of the Christ/Messiah was not something new but part of god's the plan the entire time.
    At the end of this visit Jesus does something interesting.  First, He opens their mind so the can understand the Scriptures (Luke 24.45).  Then he tells them that they be witnesses and will go preach repentance and forgiveness (Luke 24.46 & .47).  Finally he tells them to wait (Luke 24.48).  Instead of sending them out immediately to bear witness they are to wait till they are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24.49).  They are waiting for the Holy Spirit.  They can not be witnesses without God's power.  They cannot preach without God's power.  They must wait for the Holy Spirit to come and give them the power, courage and strength they need to be witnesses.
    We are witnesses of Jesus too.  Each of us has read the gospels, or been in a class about one of them, or had listened to Mike preach out of Matthew.  Thru all this we become witnesses too.  We also have a commission to preach but we need the Holy Spirit to give us the strength courage and power to be witnesses.  We are witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of our LORD Jesus Christ!

josh byrd
youth minister
@ the church of Christ in falls church, va.
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