MPGC26-THE DAYS AFTER THE RESURRECTION
You'll remember when Jesus appeared to the women at the empty tomb he instructed them to tell his disciples they were to go to Galilee where they would see him. The Lord's work on earth was finished except for one thing. He needed to convince his sorrowful, fearful disciples of his love and regard for them and to give them proof that He was a living savior who had broken the power of death.
The women were to give the message to meet in Galilee to all the disciples including Peter. They had all forsaken Him but they were all forgiven. Jesus would show his disciples and us today that we need never again mourn as ones who are helpless and hopeless. HE LIVES -- and because He lives so do we. Let's look now at .....
The Days After the Resurrection
THE WALK TO EMMAUS
Day 1- The road from Jerusalem to Emmaus was approximately seven miles and two disciples were walking home. They had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover. Now, as they walked back home they pondered the strange events of the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Sadness and hopelessness filled their hearts. While they were in the midst of their bewilderment what happened.
Luke 24: 13-16
Notice it says that "they were kept from recognizing him." There would come a moment of revelation but first Jesus would help them through their grief.
Day 2- How did Jesus draw them out of their gloom and sadness?
Asking questions and letting someone "talk it out" was the Lord's method here. He longed to comfort them in their grief and he understood the conflicting thoughts swirling around in their heads.
Day 3- List for yourself the main events that were swirling around in their heads. What were they most sad about?
Luke 24: 19b -24
Day 4- When they had finished talking out what was on their minds and heart how did Jesus respond?
Luke 24: 25-27
He starts with a gentle reproof about their slowness of heart to believe all that the prophets had said. Then he walked with them through the current events tying them to what had been prophesied. The two disciples were starting to feel hopeful as this stranger penetrated to their soul.
It was important for these two disciples to understand the witness given about Jesus through the Old Testament types and prophecies. Their faith needed to be established on the Scriptures. The Old Testament was (and still is) important as a witness to Christ's mission. If they had recognized Jesus right away they would have been satisfied and not hungered for anything more.
The proof that Jesus Christ is the world's redeemer is found in comparing the prophecies of the Old Testament with the history of the New Testament.
Day 5- These two disciples represented probably the majority in their time. Their expectation of the Messiah had been misleading. The awful conflict they had just witnessed was actually the fulfillment of a covenant the Father had made with Jesus before the foundation of the world! Notice in this verse WHEN Jesus as our sacrificial lamb had been slain.
The Amplified Bible says......"....of the Lamb that was slain (in sacrifice) from the foundation of the world."
In other words Jesus had just walked through in actual history what God and He had devised in eternity to win man back from Satan's grasp.
Day 6- In this verse Paul speaks of the plan of redemption as God's secret wisdom that would be destined for man's glory. WHEN was this secret wisdom determined?
1 Corinthians 2:7
God actually chose you and I as his own --- WHEN?
Day 7- And so, when the time was right, our Father put his plan in motion -- the one that He purposed using His own son and thus the plan was made known to man.
Ephesians 1: 9-10
Day 8- How is man to be included in this plan?
Ephesians 1: 13-14
Notice: There are three main things that happen in these verses.
1. We hear the word of truth (about what Jesus came to do for us) , we believe it.
2. Then God puts the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus) into our hearts as a mark that we belong to Him.
3. We receive partial benefits here on earth with full benefits kept for us in eternity.
Day 9- This discussion on the way to Emmaus shows us that in our times of bewilderment it will be Jesus that will unfold the meaning of life so that our darkness can become light. This enlightenment will come through the unfolding of the scriptures (God's word in the Bible). And just as Jesus explained it to their two disciples, the Holy Spirit will explain it to you and I. This is how our faith increases.
And when the Holy Spirit gives you revelation about something you'll know that it's from Him. Something like what happened to these two disciples will happen to you.
Day 10- While Jesus, through his Holy Spirit, longs to unfold life's truths to us he will never force himself upon us. He is courteous and respectful of our free will. What happened as they reached their home in Emmaus?
Luke 24: 28-29
And so Jesus does with us. He knocks at the door of our mind and heart in hopes that we will let Him in.
Jesus concerns himself with those who need Him. If we are indifferent he passes on.
Day 11- It says that these two disciples "urged Jesus strongly" to stay with them. And because they wanted Him in their home, Jesus revealed Himself to them. How?
Luke 24: 30-31
It was in a simple, ordinary meal that their eyes were opened. Jesus probably took a place at the head of their table and when He put forth his hands to bless the food they could see his nail scarred hands. Suddenly they knew beyond doubt that it was the Lord and he was alive!
Day 12- Whenever faith springs up in our hearts we have to act. And so these two acted immediately on their revelation. What did they do?
Luke 24: 33-35
If they had said, "we're too tired to go back to Jerusalem" and just kept the revelation to themselves this new faith would have gone out like a candle. It's the same for you and I. If the Holy Spirit gives you revelation then you must act on it.
The Christian message is never really ours until we tell it to someone else. And so one by one Jesus is being revealed to hearts around the world.
IN THE UPPER ROOM
Day 13- The two disciples from Emmaus reached the upper room where the other disciples were hiding in fear and delivered their wonderful news. How is their witness backed up?
Day 14- Jesus knew their fears that they were seeing a ghost. What did he ask them to do?
Luke 24: 37-40
And when they still didn't believe it all, what did he request and proceed to do?
Luke 24: 41-43
The Lord was real. He was not a ghost. The resurrection was an actual reality!
Day 15- Then patiently, the same way Jesus did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he explained to them the necessity of the cross and how it was all part of God's plan. What did Jesus do so that they could understand?
Luke 24: 44-46 (especially vs. 45)
This should always be our prayer when we read the Bible, or hear a sermon ----"Lord, open up the eyes of my understanding so I can see what your word has for me today. Let me know your truth because then I shall be free!"
Day 16- It was important for the disciples to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus as part of God's plan. A task -- an urgent task -- was about to be given to them. What was it?
Luke 24: 47-48 / Matthew 28: 18-20
Day 17- The call to repentance and the offer of forgiveness was to go out to ALL men and these fearful, common fishermen were to be the messengers. We can only imagine the new fears that must have sprang up in their hearts. Jesus knew all this. He knew they would have to have power -- the very power of God if they were to do all this. What does He promise them?
Day 18- Jesus did not offer to send them to seminary where they could study and get practice in delivering sermons. He instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the Father's gift of the Holy Spirit. In these verses we learn why the Holy Spirit is an absolute necessity for all ministry -- both then and now.
Luke 12:12 / John 14:26 / 1 Corinthians 2:13 / 1 John 2:27
Without the Holy Spirit we have only our own natural abilities to rely on. But with the Holy Spirit we have all the power of God available to us. We have only to look ahead in the Book of Acts to see how these fearful, cowering men became bold and courageous for their Lord. In sending these men forth Jesus was making himself dependent on His Church (believers who are in the Kingdom of God).
But we as Christ's Church are also dependent on Him because we have no message, no power and no authority without His Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us we are awakened and enabled for our task. Luke records that they were to wait for the Holy Spirit. John records (John 20:22) that Jesus breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit given in the upper room enabled the disciples to receive their sacred trust from Jesus. But a more abundant impartation of the Holy Spirit would occur later after Christ's ascension into Heaven.
Day 19- Thomas had not been present with the other disciples when Jesus had appeared to them. Perhaps in his grief he wanted to be alone rather than with his brothers. So when his brothers told him they had seen the Lord how did he respond?
John 20: 24-25
Thomas was firm. "Unless I see....and put... I will not believe it!" He refused to say he believed when he didn't. He was honest. Many are like him today and that's alright as long as they remain open and seeking.
Day 20- Jesus knew Thomas well and perhaps made a special appearance just for him. He wasted no time at all in addressing Thomas and his doubts. With four things did he ask Thomas to do?
John 20: 26-27
Notice that Jesus didn't overwhelm Thomas with reproach. He also didn't enter into controversy with him. Instead he revealed himself to the doubting one and His love and consideration broke down all the barriers.
Day 21- If Thomas's first virtue was his honesty, his second one was that he was wholehearted.
In this encounter Jesus was no longer "the Lord". To Thomas he became "my Lord" and "my God". We too can work our way through our doubts into firm conviction.
But Jesus has a special blessing for us today who choose to believe even though we don't see. For all who come to Christ today must do so through the testimony of others.
William Barclay writes this about Thomas....
"There is something very loveable and very admirable about Thomas. Faith was never an easy thing for Thomas; obedience never came readily to him. Thomas was the man who had to be sure. Thomas was the man who had to count the cost. But once he was sure, and once he had counted the cost, Thomas was the man who went to the ultimate limit of faith and of obedience. A faith like Thomas's faith is better than any glib profession; and an obedience like Thomas's obedience is better than an easy acquiescence which agrees to do a thing without counting the cost, and which then goes back upon its word."
BACK TO THE SEA ONCE MORE
Day 22- Perhaps the strain of the days in Jerusalem had left the disciples longing again for the open air, so seven of them headed back to their familiar place -- the sea. Back at the Sea of Galilee they were home and no doubt memories of their times with Jesus flooded their memories.
John 21: 1-3
Day 23- While the disciples fished through the night Jesus had appeared on the shore and watched them. Suddenly, he shouted to them a question and then gave them some direction. (They did not know it was Jesus).
John 21: 4-6a
Since they had caught nothing with all their efforts they had nothing to lose in following Christ's suggestion. And so they obeyed. What resulted?
John 21: 6b, 11
Day 24- John says that this was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples (John 21:14) and we can see that their once dull minds and hearts were much more awakened and alive to their Lord. For with this event of the large catch of fish we see a quicker recognition of what had happened and WHO was responsible.
John 21: 7-9
Notice when Jesus asked them to breakfast that it says that none of the disciples dared to ask Him, "who are you?" Why?
Day 25- Jesus had watched his dear brothers working hard all night and he once again performs a service of love and kindness.
John 21: 10, 13
In this simple encounter Jesus again proves the reality of the resurrection. He is not a vision, a hallucination or a spirit. He is a real person who had conquered death and came back. Were all these fish a foretaste of their life to come? Some extrapolate that the net which didn't break stands for the Church and there is room for men and women of all nations. What a lovely picture of the universality of Christ's body -- the Church -- a place where there is no kind of exclusiveness.
PETER -- A SECOND CHANCE
There can be no compromise with evil or excuse for sin. Secret sin must be confessed in secret to God, but for open sin an open confession is required. Peter had dishonored Christ and probably incurred the distrust of at least some of the brethren. Now in this safe atmosphere by the sea, with only some of the disciples, Jesus gives Peter the opportunity to regain the confidence of his brothers. Peter had denied the Lord three times openly and now would be given three questions to draw out his love and loyalty.
Day 26- What is the first question that the Lord asks Peter?
Notice the words "more than these" referring to his brothers. We'll understand the Lord's wording this question if we go back and reread...
In his typical boastful manner Peter had compared himself with all his brothers and made a proclamation that would pop like a balloon.
So, how does Peter answer this first question?
Notice he does not compare himself this time as he did formerly. Jesus now leaves the next step up to Peter. If he does love the Lord as he says he does, what will he be required to do?
John 21: 15c
Note: lambs are young disciples in the Lord (in age and in Christian standing)
Day 27- As soon as question one was over the Lord asks question two. How does it differ from question one?
How does Peter respond?
There is no extravagant assurance and boasting -- just a simple answer. If Peter's response is genuine what is his service to include?
Notice the service is expanded this time to sheep (mature disciples in the Lord) and includes much more than simply feeding them. It takes in their total care. Depending on the version of the Bible you are reading the word "feed" my sheep (used in the King James Version) is translated "take care of my sheep" or "shepherd my sheep" in other versions.
Day 28- Again Jesus follows with the third and final question.
The skillful physician had penetrated to Peter's heart and that was plain by the hurt you can hear in his response.
He thought that Jesus doubted his love and had come to distrust him.
What is the service that Christ gives him this time?
Day 29- Jesus, in these three questions had revealed the depth of Peter's repentance before his brothers. This once boastful disciple had been thoroughly humbled. Satan had used Peter's self-confidence to cause him to fall but the fall was only temporary. Why?
Luke 22: 31-32
THE "BEFORE AND AFTER" PETER
Before Peter's fall he often spoke unadvisedly from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others and express his mind. The repentant and humbled Peter was much different. Now the grace of Christ regulated his zeal even while he kept his former fervor. He was no longer impetuous, self-confident and self exalting. He had become calm, self-possessed and teachable.
This experience of suffering and repentance had prepared him to feed Christ's lambs. To teach those young in the faith and those who are ignorant requires much patience and perseverance. A lot of care and tenderness is needed if the Bible is to be opened to young hearts to prepare them for the Lord's service.
Peter's change had not only prepared him to feed the lambs but he could now take care of the sheep as well. In later life Peter would deal with his flock as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him because his own weakness and failure was a constant reminder.
Day 30- The Lord's question, "Do you love me?" was important for Peter's confession of faith, but it is also important for us. While there are many characteristics of a disciple there is only one essential one. Jesus repeats it twice in these verses.
Mark 12: 30-31
Day 31- Love is the test of true discipleship.
It becomes the language that we speak.
1 Corinthians 13:1
It demonstrates the reality of our new life in Christ.
1 John 3:14
And, it proves our love to God.
1 John 4:20
Christ's question must be answered by every one of us. "Do you love me?"
Day 32- Before the Lord died, what had Peter been adamant about?
John 13: 36-37
He failed the test when it came. But now he would be given a second chance to prove his love.
John 21: 18-19
The final words, "follow me" are full of instruction. Always quick and impetuous, Peter was inclined to act independently. Instead of waiting to follow God's plan he tried to plan for the work of God. If we run ahead of the Lord we will meet Satan and his demons alone. But if we follow the Lord we will never be alone and we will overcome. Peter was now humbled enough to be a follower. His restoration had prepared him to suffer anything for his Lord and he did so right up to having to die on his own cross.
Day 33- A little bit of the old Peter shows itself as he follows Jesus in a walk alone along the beach. What happened?
John 21: 20-21
The Lord's abrupt answer speaks to Peter but it's for us too.
John 21: 22
Jesus tells us what WE need to do so WE can serve Him doing OUR work. We are not to look around us at what everyone else is doing. We are to look to Jesus and follow Him alone.
Day 34- The lessons Peter learned by the Sea of Galilee carried through to his whole life. Later, he wrote this to the churches. List point by point his instructions.
1 Peter 5:1-6
A HAPPY ENDING
In the days following the resurrection Jesus did his final work on earth. He had to find and restore his terrified disciples so he could reaffirm his love for them. He had to show them beyond a doubt that he had risen. With this done he would offer them a commission to continue his work on earth. He would also prepare them for his Holy Spirit who would be within them forever to help them carry on their work. That work had now been completed and it was time to go home -- back to His Father in Heaven.
Day 35- What happened next?
Luke 24: 50-51
As quietly as he had shown up on the earth, he simply was "taken up into Heaven" with his loved ones watching.
This time there was no grief as when they laid him in the tomb. Instead what occurred among them?
Luke 24: 52-53
THE ASCENSION AND WHAT IT MEANS
The Ascension by the Lord into Heaven was an ending. Faith would never again be tied to a flesh and blood man. Instead faith would be tied to someone independent of space and time.
The Ascension was also a beginning. They now had a master from whom they could never be separated. They had a friend not only on earth but now in Heaven and that caused them great joy. They worshiped a living Savior and He would still walk with them day by day by Christ's own Spirit that would soon be given to all believers. He had not really left them. What security! What happiness! That same Jesus that walked with them, now walks with you and I by His Holy Spirit that we receive as believers. What security! What happiness!
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