The Resurrection Reality of An Extraordinary Moment

The Resurrection Reality of An Extraordinary Moment; Luke 24:36-49, Preached @ Harambee Church by Pastor Michael Gunn on Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2010

“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is far more important than out ticket to paradise! It’s the dawning of a new creation and the kingdom of God!”
Dave Fairchild

On July 20th, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and Neil Armstrong first step into the history records as he recorded his famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The world was riveted to their radios and TV’s in anticipation of this historic event.

Four months later on November 19th 1969 another moon mission was under way, and the world hardly cared. By the time Apollo 13 came about (The 3rd attempt to place men on the move), the TV stations barely covered the event, as there was no audience interest at all. That of course changed when a mid-mission oxygen tank rupture caused sufficient damage and forced the lunar landing to be aborted. People were glued to their sets once again to watch the multi-day rescue of our astronauts.

What’s equally interesting is a true event that occurred during the Apollo 11 mission. Second man on the moon (Buzz Aldrin) wanted to do something special after they landed on the moon, so 2 ½ hours after landing and before their famous stroll on the moon, Buzz Aldrin said, “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way” and then he continued on to take communion. He was planning on announcing this to people back home, but NASA was being sued by famed atheist Madalyn Murray-O’hara for Apollo 8 astronauts reading from the book of Genesis during their journey around the moon. As cool as walking on the moon is, it should never take a back seat to the reality of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection…

It’s all too easy to come to the gathering today as just another day. Easter has become more about eggs and bunnies that it is about the resurrection of our Lord. We have done the worse thing; we have made the sacred “Ordinary.” Just like future moon missions, we have taken a “Been there, done that” attitude to the most amazing historical event in cosmos history! We give far more credence to human achievements (As great as some of them are) than we do, to God coming to earth, as a fulfillment of years of prophecy, then dying for our sins, and raising from the dead as a the ‘First Born’ into the new kingdom that His resurrection inaugurated. Man, I pray that we see this day as far more spectacular than this!

From the Head…

The Resurrection Witnessed As Real (Luke 24:Luke 27-35 + 36-37)
Our verse starts out with “These things.” What are “these things?” This refers backwards to vv. 27-35. In v. 27 we see that Jesus goes back into the OT and uses the prophets to verify the veracity of His existence and works. The early disciples began to recognize that “The Lord has really risen, and appeared to Simon.” What’s interesting though is how they first reacted. It’s one thing to hear about their “Experiences,” but seeing Him was something different altogether. The story language is not couched in the language and story-form of mythology and fable. What He was, and what He looked like “Startled and frightened” them! Why? Was His body different? A lot of this confusion has to do with our pre-conceptions of heaven. As we will see, this is a “Physical” body, but it’s a physical body that has been changed (See 1 Corinthians 15:42ff). Paul struggles to explain this concept in 1 Corinthians 15. When God gets a hold of us, we are moved from one kingdom to another (Colossians 1:13), yet before we are physically changed, we remain as “Aliens” in this world (Acts 1:6; Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). So in one sense we are like Christ, and we are called to operate in both worlds, but when we are physically changed, we will be able to live in the multiple dimensions that God has created, which is why in Revelation 21 we see a “New” heaven and earth coming together and God rules among humanity. What a fantastic picture; the resurrection embodies something totally different. It’s way more than our ticket to heaven; it describes a “Transformation” that takes place as a result. The resurrection also gives us a great picture of our new bodies in the resurrected body of our Lord Jesus Christ. There has been way too much argument that His resurrection wasn’t physical, based on verses that He ostensibly walked through walls, and people didn’t really recognize Him, etc., but in reality, as we will see in this passage, Jesus was physically raised from the dead in His “Eternal” body, just like we will be some day, which is our great hope. Most of the argument surrounding a non-physical resurrection of Jesus comes from a liberal attempt to find other more “rational” explanations for texts like this, but this was not a major issue in church history until the “Enlightenment.”

Some Thoughts on the Resurrection’s Reality
• If the resurrection didn’t happen in reality, why did the previously devastated and scared apostles die a martyrs death for the proclamation of the “Resurrected Christ?”
• If the resurrection didn’t happen, why was it the dominant message of the early church?
• If the resurrection didn’t happen, why did the early church (Which was made up of Jews) change the day of the week they worshipped from the Holy Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday AM?

The Resurrection Demonstrated As Real (Luke 24:38-43)
Now Jesus’ response to the disciples incredulity was not, “Oh don’t worry, I’ll set you straight,” it was “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” This is interesting. The word for “Doubts” is the Greek word dialogismos, which we get our English word “Dialogue” from. It has the idea of “Inward Reasoning.” The core of a lot of anxiety is our own doubts. We don’t believe God is “Good” enough. We spend time in worry and over-controlling, “Dialoging” the issues in our lives. To this Catholic Monk Henri Nouwen writes:

“The choice you face constantly is whether you are taking your wounds to your head and heart. In your head you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them. But no final healing is likely to come from that source. You need to let your wounds go down to your heart. They you can live through them and discover that they will not destroy you.”

Where does Jesus take them to deal with their fears and pain? The demonstration of the effects of the cross and His subsequent Real Resurrected body. Talking about and worrying about the pain you have faced doesn’t heal it; it just exacerbates the horror of them. If Jesus’ death on the cross was a hoax, and his resurrection was a mere phantom of someone’s imagination, it has nothing to say to us today; but if His death and subsequent resurrection was real, then it has immense implications on reality, and our pain and suffering at the moment, which is fleeting compared to the Kingdom that has been inaugurated as a result of His work on the cross. Amazingly our text says “And while they still disbelieved,” but their disbelief was connected to their “Joy and amazement.” Basically, “It was too good to be true” (Acts 12:14-17), but Jesus one more time demonstrates the fact that He was more than an apparition or Spirit; He was real and asked for something to eat. The people that were present for this event were absolutely astonished, because this sort of thing didn’t happen in their day and age either, and “rational” people didn’t believe people rise from the dead then either!! It was an astonishing, frightful, joyful event, but we’ve made it in to another day worrying about the roast after church than realizing the immensity of this moment.

This passage definitely refutes the idea that His resurrection wasn’t real, or as some liberals say, “He is resurrected in our hearts,” often citing verse 32 as their proof text. The resurrection of Jesus was a “Physical” resurrection, inaugurating the kingdom of God, which will be completely realized in the end (Revelation 21). Our resurrection will be physical, but we will be able to exist eternally with God in our new bodies. Thus heaven isn’t a place that spirit-winged fairies fly from cloud to cloud, heaven is a place that has God present as ruler, and humans glorifying Him with the work they were created to do in the first place.

The Resurrection Prophesied As Necessary (Luke 24:44-46)
This is quite important, in that it demonstrates to us that the cross of Jesus Christ and His subsequent resurrection was not an afterthought, but it was a very necessary action so that His justice could be demonstrated (See Romans 3:25). The Old Testament pointed to it, and the New Testament reminds us of its reality, and it’s power in our lives. Luke carefully emphasizes this here, because it demonstrates that this event is the fulfillment of God’s story and His promise to humanity (See Genesis 3:15; 12:3). Notice that Jesus had to “Opened their minds to understand the scriptures,” which is crucial to coming to repentance and forgiveness; the result of understanding the plan of God…

The Resurrection Results As Necessary (Luke 26:47-53)
The resurrection was the inauguration of a new body, and new kingdom plan, and the results of that kingdom plan was life as God intended it. What our world desperately needs right now, is a world that lives this plan, and not our own. Our desires to live as the world lives, leave this world empty of gospel grace, and replete with humanistic moralism, therapeutic nonsense and political power, thinking that somehow, these will change our world. We literally need Jesus to “Open our minds” and extricate us from the land of the dead, into the land of the living, which will radically rearrange our thinking (See Romans 12:1-2). When Jesus enters our thoughts and minds, and transforms our life, at the very least, the following becomes a reality:

• Repentance and Forgiveness (v. 47)
• Witness of the truth (vv. 48-49)
• Worship of the truth giver (vv. 50-53

…to the Heart

What began in the latter days of Jesus’ life is picked up in Luke’s volume 2; the book of Acts, showing us what the “Power from on high” does to its subjects, and how the kingdom of God present acts and looks like; the good news is proclaimed to the poor, liberty is proclaimed to the captives, the blind recover their sight, liberty is given to the oppressed, and the year of the Lord’s favor is proclaimed. In a nutshell, the world is set upside down! Happy Lord’s Resurrection Day! Don’t make it ordinary!


4 comments so far

  1. walt on

    The resurrection of Christ is the central issue of Christianity. Without the resurrection all we have is another cult but because of the resurrection we know that Jesus was who he claimed to be.
    walt – preaching with Power

  2. mike sparrow on

    Still reading. Amen.

  3. mike sparrow on

    Great stuff.

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