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Sharing God's Love and Word Within and Beyond Calvary

Sermon April 18 2021

Easter 3 B 2021 Broiled Fish

Luke 24:36-49


Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia! 

The days after Easter must have been very chaotic and troubling for Christ’s followers.  Some of them had seen the Risen Lord and many of Christ’s followers had not.  News that someone had seen the Lord brought concern and bewilderment to the followers of Christ.  The presence of the Risen Lord caused fear, and doubt, and confusion among the disciples and other followers of Jesus.  

Imagine how you would have felt if someone you loved, and thought was dead suddenly appeared before you, or before your friends?  The news that Jesus was alive was indeed shocking, and the physical appearance of Jesus was troubling. 

And yet, scripture records for us 10 times that the Resurrected Lord appeared to His disciples and to His followers.  There may well have been even more appearances, but today we are blessed to be able to read and study the 10 recorded resurrection appearances that we have in the Bible. 

Take our resurrection appearance today as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.  In our text this morning, the Resurrected Lord needed to prove to His followers that He was not a ghost or a spirit when He appeared in their midst.  

When Jesus stood before the disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you,” the Lord immediately went about to prove to them that He was appearing before them in the flesh.  And so, He showed them His wounds, and allowed His disciples to touch His Resurrected Body. 

And then He shared a meal of broiled fish with them to prove that He was not a vision or a spiritual entity but a real human being.  The Resurrected Lord did this to let them know that the One who had shared a Passover Meal with them was now joining them in their meal that day too as He turned a piece of broiled fish into a joyous banquet. 

But Jesus intended to do more than just prove to them that He was a real live human.  After He ate the fish in their presence, Jesus began to tell them again of the purpose of His being human, and all about the Cross and Resurrection.  

And then Jesus introduced His disciples to their part in God’s Redeeming Activity.  Luke reports “Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.”’ 

In this statement Jesus highlighted three important things.  One, that He is the Messiah, and that His death and resurrection were not only real but also the way God had planned all along to bring healing and reconciliation to the earth. 

The second point is that repentance and forgiveness of sins are to be proclaimed.  This would be a new twist an on old theme.  The disciples knew the Jewish practice of calling for repentance.  And they also remembered how much trouble Jesus got into for proclaiming forgiveness.  

But now that Jesus is Risen, repentance and forgiveness would always go together, and God’s forgiveness would now be a part of their proclamation. 

The third point is that this Word is to go to all nations.  God’s Redeeming Activity in this world does not just happen in the Hebrew nation but will manifest itself in all the nations of the world. 

Therefore, not only was Jesus to die and rise again for our sins, but God’s will for us is to go, and share this Good News with all people.  We have a part in God’s Redeeming Activity.  God made Jesus human like us, to die and rise for us, so that the Word of God could be proclaimed in, among, and from the people of His creation. 

God wants humans to love God and each other.  God wants people not only to repent but also to be forgiven.  And God wants people to live lives empowered with God’s Word of love, peace, and justice.  In other words, God wants us to make a difference in His creation. 

It is no wonder then, that Jesus introduced Himself that morning by saying to the disciples “Peace be with you.”  In fact, Jesus introduced Himself in all the post-resurrection appearances with the words “Peace be with you.” 

In all the post-resurrection appearances, Jesus brought words of peace to His people.  And it is not just a peace to calm their fears.  It is a peace that surpasses all human understanding brought in by Jesus who died and rose so that we can have life. 

And so today, on this Third Sunday after Easter, may the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Our Lord.  Amen. 

Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia! 

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, your Son made Himself known when He shared broiled fish with His disciples.  Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see Him in His redeeming word and make known His redeeming work with all people.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.