"The Risen Christ Jesus Speaks, Eats & Sends His Disciples" / Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Season of Easter / April 15th 2018 - / Luke 24:36-49
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Sunday April 15th 2018: Easter Three Luke 24:36-49. “The Risen Christ Jesus Speaks, Eats & Sends His Disciples”
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 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? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate before them.
Then He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “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 in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Today’s Gospel takes us back to Easter Sunday; we also switch to a new Gospel Writer, on Easter Day we had Gospel readings from St. John and St. Mark, last week we had John again and this week we have St. Luke. And this is good, because Luke provides a perspective that I think many can appreciate today. Luke was a doctor, a physician, a man of medicine and science. He wrote both the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke and his Gospel like the other three Gospels talk of Jesus being physically raised from the dead yet somehow it’s even more reassuring when the account of the resurrection comes from a doctor who had investigated this case, the case of the most important resurrection in history.
Last week’s Gospel from St. John talked of Jesus asking Thomas to touch Him, this week’s gospel from our Doctor friend is from the week before this, Thomas is not with the others and the two who encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus had just returned with their news that they’d seen Jesus while traveling and as the disciples clamour over each other to tell these two about their good news, that the women had also seen Jesus, right then in the midst of them Jesus appears, saying, “Peace to you!”
Luke establishes some important details for us; Jesus, to allay their doubt, to relieve their doubt, asks them to first look at Him, then He asks them to reach out a touch Him, lastly asking for something to eat, Jesus eats fish right in front of them. Jesus is providing the disciples with hard evidence, He is asking them to make some observations 1) they hear His voice 2) they see Him with their own eyes 3) they touch Him with their hands 4) and for the sake of comparison they watch Jesus do something they had seen Him do before in their presence eat a piece of fish a rather mundane task but evidence of Jesus’ bodily resurrected: all of this is proof to them that what’s before them is not a memory, or a dream, or a hallucination, or even some kind of pagan idea of an apparition or ghost. Everything necessary happened and what Jesus said would happen, did happen. “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And when He is killed, after three days He will rise.” From this point on the disciples were changed men, the disciples stopped despairing and started preaching, even though it meant their own deaths. Both biblical and extra-biblical documents tell us that Christianity came from the meeting together of these followers, in order to worship their leader “Christ” and listen to His teachings. Rather than give this up, the same disciples who once fled in the garden of Gethsemane in the darkness of the night in which Jesus was betrayed, the same disciples who locked themselves up in the upper room for fear of their own Jewish country men, these same disciples willingly faced beatings, imprisonments and gruesome and painful deaths. They would not do this for a false memory or a dream in the night, or a hallucination, or even for some kind of pagan apparition or ghost.
They, the disciples, who knew Jesus personally before His death, they had evidence that He rose and empty tomb and more importantly the Physical evidence of His resurrection; this is what Luke reports to you today. And by trusting in this evidence their lives didn’t get easier, their lives actually got harder and more arduous, yet in the midst of their struggles they had more joy, more happiness, more courage, yes even more conviction. At the beginning of the Gospel Luke writes, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”
The disciples had this certainty and so can you. As they all stood there in that room together, Jesus with His disciples, “He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, [just as Jesus had done with the ones on the Road to Emmaus] and said to them, “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 in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” [Jesus said to them], “You are witnesses of these things.”
They were charged with a certain task to be apostles and pastors and evangelists, to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations in the name of Jesus; you have not all been called to the same vocation as they, but remember, just because you are not an apostle or pastor doesn’t mean you have no part to play in this task: You may well recall the hymn “Hark the sound of Jesus Crying” where we sing, “If you cannot speak like angels, If you cannot preach like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus, You can say He died for all. If you cannot rouse the wicked, With the judgment’s dread alarms, You can lead the little children To the Saviour’s waiting arms.” “Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do.” While the lost of earth are dying, And the Master calls for you; Take the task He gives you gladly; Let His work your pleasure be; Answer quickly when He calls you, “Here am I, send me, send me.” Each of us in our vocation in life, in the work the Lord has given us to do, will be provided with opportunities to share our faith with others, opportunities to share our certainty in the resurrection of Jesus. We may not do it before councils and kings or out in foreign lands as missionaries, but we may well do it with co-workers, and family, with children and random people we meet. In such circumstances have courage and be strong. As we heard in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles today they didn’t shrink from the proclamation of Jesus when pressed by the authorities, you in your baptism can have the same backbone and courage.
There are some men in our midst today who will be called to be pastors, to stand where I stand, to preach the Word I preach, to call men and women boys and girls to repentance, to forgive the sins of the repentant as I have been charged so to do, to do all these things in Jesus name: I am certain that there are men in our midst today who will be called to be pastors because Jesus has not finished calling such men to Him for this purpose. And He has not stopped calling every one of you to Him for the purpose of saving the lost. As the priesthood of believers you are tasked with the work of Christ.
As a church this is our purpose: to reach the lost, to gather together the faithful and provide for them and the needs of others. For Christ’s sake, we are water for the thirsty and consolation for the distressed, we are these things because we are the body of Christ. Jesus works in you. As Christians we are to afflict the comfortable and we are to comfort the afflicted. We are to bring them all to the Lord for rest and for forgiveness, like beggars we show the way to other lost souls so that they need not go hungry.
If we are not about this necessary work than we are not part of the Body of Christ; and that does sting, because you know that you are not always about this work, that you have missed opportunities, or even silently run away from opportunities to share your faith in Christ Jesus with others and chosen instead to be quiet. What then? Are there any who perfectly worked at the task Jesus gave them, unfailing? No. Yet this is no excuse. You are to press hard toward glory bringing with you others for the sake of Christ. Rescuing those in peril and reaching the lost not because we are so wonderful but rather because we have tasted the forgiveness Jesus has for us, for them. In our failings we like everyone must be honest with ourselves, every one of us; we each need to acknowledge our short comings, our sins, and seek the grace of God in forgiveness, striving to be better.
Take comfort in the fact that Jesus is forgiving, that He doesn’t make you pick and choose who to tell, He says tell all nations the good news, Jesus doesn’t make you wait to teach someone at a specific time only, you can teach the young – the old – the happy – the sad – the troubled – and the safe and sound – the sick – the healthy – the rich – the poor – and the grieving. There is no restriction that holds back this message. The love of God is for everyone, even for those who don’t deserve it ... like you ... like me ... like those cowardly and doubting disciples whose bowels had turned to water locked up, hidden away in their room. In a very practical, pragmatic, observable way Jesus makes changes in the lives of His people ... this is what the Evangelist Luke shows us in His Gospel and in the account of the Acts of the Apostles, this Easter season and for always you have a part in this life changing work.
Live, Love and Learn in Christ Jesus, avoid the temptation to be quiet or silent in Christ Jesus, speak of your faith and the forgiveness you have in Jesus knowing that in your baptism you are not alone when you open your mouth: The Holy Spirit is with you, You are part of the very Body of Christ and shoulder to shoulder you have the support of your brothers and sisters in Jesus, these are many and they even include Luke, and the men on the road to Emmaus, and the women who found the tomb empty that first Easter Morning and the disciples who, to their astonishment, heard the voice of Jesus calling, saw Him risen from the dead, touched His risen body with their own hands, all the while witnessing Him alive who was crucified, who was dead, and who was buried; who is risen and ascended, and who will come again.
The great thing about St. Luke, and I love this, he provides great details: For example when you’re reading the text for today what kind of fish was Jesus eating that first Easter Sunday after His resurrection? It was broiled fish. That’s a great detail. As Luke was compiling the Gospel he must have asked something like, ‘and how was that fish prepared that Sunday when Jesus was risen? Was it fried? … Not fried? It was broiled? Great thanks.’ That detail goes in. That day Jesus ate a piece of broiled fish with His disciples in His physical body which was risen from the dead. Ghosts and spirits don’t do this. Jesus does all of these things, the things recorded by Luke because He loves us.
Remember also “We love because He first loved us.” Any reaching out that we do is because Jesus first reached out to us, His love for you brought Him from the comforts of heaven to His suffering upon the cross of His crucifixion, the joy of His resurrection and all this He did for you out of a divine love. We work in the Body of Christ not to get noticed by Him, not to advance before our brothers and sisters but rather “We love because He first loved us.” Let it ever be so among us. Amen.
Let us pray: Lord, have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Mark 9:31
 higherthings.org articles, catechesis, The Resurrection Happen by Rev. Jonathan Fisk
 Luke 1:1-4
 LSB 826, verses 2 and 4.
 1 John 4:19