120422 Luke 24:36-39

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Luke 24:36 – 49

Sermon Theme: Listen As Our Risen Savior Gives You a Post-Easter Pep Talk!

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence. 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 

After a team has been completely defeated by their opponent, they come off the field or the court needing a pep talk. They are feeling down because of the defeat, and they are looking to their coach for some encouragement. Perhaps a coach in that situation, looking for just the right words to say in his post-game pep talk, might borrow some statements from Green Bay Packers Coach, Vince Lombardi. To encourage his team after a crushing defeat, a coach might tell his players, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” Or, “The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.” To encourage his team to continue practicing hard, a coach might tell his team in the words of Coach Lombardi, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” It is already two weeks ago that we celebrated Easter. Remember the joy you had Easter Morning? Remember the Good News we heard that our Savior’s tomb is empty. Remember the music and the singing? But, have you lost the excitement of Easter Morning? Has the busyness of your day-to-day life robbed you of the joy you felt on Easter? Today from God’s Word, Listen As Our Risen Savior Gives You a Post-Easter Pep Talk!

Let’s set the stage. Jesus disciples saw him falsely arrested, accused and put to death. They watched as his lifeless body was placed in the tomb. Early in the morning on that first Easter, the women made their sad journey to the tomb. But instead of seeing Jesus’ dead body, they saw a vision of angels who told them that Jesus was alive! After hearing the report of the women, Peter and John ran to the tomb, and saw for themselves that the tomb was indeed empty. Jesus himself had appeared to Mary Magdalene, and later in the day to two other disciples as they walked to the village of Emmaus. This is where our Gospel Lesson for today picks up. We read, “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.” Imagine that you are in the room with the disciples. The doors are locked tight, but suddenly you see Jesus, standing there in the room! We can understand why the disciples were shocked and scared! “How could this be?!” “How could Jesus be standing there in front of them?!” “It can’t be him!” So to prove that it is really him, Jesus says to his disciples, “‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’” As a way to prove that it was really him, we are told that “he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.” The disciples of Jesus needed a pep talk that first Easter evening, and so the risen Lord appeared to them.

This is the first point we want to take from this lesson. The One who comes to give you and me our post-Easter pep talk is not just some well-known football coach. It is the risen Savior himself! The fact that Jesus rose again in great victory is a central teaching of the Bible. Why is it so important? Because, as we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” If Jesus is still dead, then you and I are spiritually dead, headed for eternal death, in a life that never ends in the flames and torment of hell. But the Good News for you and for me is that Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! As we read a little later in 1 Corinthians 15, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” In his post-Easter pep talk, the risen Savior comes to you and me and says, “Peace by with you!” You and I have peace, knowing that because the perfect Jesus willing went to the cross to offer up his life as the sacrifice for all sin, we enjoy the complete forgiveness of all of our sins. You and I have peace, knowing that God the Father accepted his Son’s sacrifice as the full payment price for all of our sins. You and I have peace, knowing that as our Savior lives we too will live forever with perfect, glorified bodies, at his side in the never-ending joys of heaven. My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, listen as our risen Savior gives you a post Easter pep talk!

By giving a pep talk, a coach tries to motivate his players to continue working hard. As you and I listen to the post Easter pep talk of our risen Savior, he motivates us to do the work that he wants you and me to carry out. We read, “[Jesus] said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’” Jesus reminds his disciples that he is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. The risen Savior doesn’t want his disciples to keep this Good News to themselves. He doesn’t want them to stay behind locked doors. So, Jesus comes to his disciples and gives them a pep talk. He wants them to go out and share this wonderful Good News with others. Before the disciples would start spreading the message of the Gospel, Jesus makes them a promise. They won’t have to go out alone. The risen Savior promises to send them the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who would empower them to preach and to teach all of God’s Word. It is the Holy Spirit who would bless their efforts to lead people to repent of their sins. It is the Holy Spirit, working through the Word, who would lead people to trust in Jesus as their one and only Savior.

We look at the world around us. We see wickedness increasing. We see more and more people who want less and less to do with the risen Savior or the Word of God. And we may be tempted to give up, to “throw in the towel”. So, we do well to listen as our risen Savior gives you and me a post-Easter pep talk. Listen as he teaches you from his Word that he is the one and only Savior from sin. Listen as he assures you personally of your forgiveness. Listen as he promises you his Holy Spirit to empower you and to bless all your efforts to share the message of his Word with others. As we read a moment ago from 2 Corinthians chapter 2, “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” Through our personal witness to friends and family, through our support of the ministry of our congregation and of our Wisconsin Synod, you and I spread everywhere the message of God’s Word. We use his Law to lead people to repent of their sins. We share the precious message of the Gospel to tell others the Good News that we know: that the perfect life of Jesus, his innocent suffering and death, and his glorious resurrection from the dead has won the free gifts of the forgiveness of all sins and the promise of everlasting life with him in heaven.

Coach Lombardi once said, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” You and I have work to carry out together. By God’s grace, you and I have the answer to the problems in our society today. As you listen to the post-Easter pep talk of our risen Savior, find someone to tell them the Good News: “Christ is risen! He has risen indeed! Alleluia!” Amen.

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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