Peace from the living Jesus : a summary of Duncan’s sermon
What does it mean to speak of the resurrection of Jesus? That was one of Duncan’s themes this morning as he explored Luke 24:36-48.
Duncan began by outlining the story immediately preceding this passage, where Luke describes Jesus meeting two despondent Jesus-followers as they walked back to their home in Emmaus, thinking that the dream on which they had placed so much hope had died with Jesus.
Jesus, risen, journeys with them, though they do not recognise him. To them he is simply a fellow-traveller with a wonderful gift of reinterpreting their understanding of the Scriptures, showing that the way to the Messiah’s triumph lay through his death. And later, having invited Jesus in to their house, they realized as they began their meal together, as bread was broken, that the stranger was Jesus, alive.
And immediately they headed back to Jerusalem to share their experience.
It’s a reminder, Duncan said, that Jesus travels with us through our journey of life and faith, a Jesus who is sometimes incognito until our eyes are opened.
When the Emmaus travellers were sharing their story with their fellow-disciples, Jesus appeared bringing a message of peace. ‘Peace be with you.’ (Luke 24:36) Where Jesus is present, peace reigns if we will allow him to still our stormy hearts.
And then Duncan unpacked what Luke says about the resurrected Jesus.
- Jesus resurrection was a physical reality. He was a man of flesh and blood, not a ghost as the disciples might have thought.
- Jesus spoke
- Jesus was hungry. Jesus ate, a meal of boiled fish in honey sauce
- It was this physically-risen Jesus who sent out his disciples. ‘You are my witnesses,’ he said. (Luke 24:48)
And Duncan concluded with three reflections:
- The story emphasizes the need for us to focus on the Scriptures. As he had done on the road to Emmaus Jesus ‘opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.’ (Luke 24:45) We hear what the Bible is saying to us as both mind and spirit engage, as we are enlightened by Jesus.
- The disciples were not called to ‘witness’ individually. Jesus is speaking to the whole group. We are all witnesses together. Said Duncan ‘Our most powerful witness will be our shared life as a community of faith. The work of witness is not down to any one of us alone.’
- Duncan loves the fact that Jesus was recognised in the breaking of bread, in the sharing of a meals. He said that, post-lockdown, he hopes he will never take for granted the blessing of shared meals, of offering and receiving hospitality, as Jesus didand he concluded ‘May we like the disciples know God at our side as we journey on, both in our walking and in our sharing of fellowship and meals.
Jesus said ‘Peace be with you.’