April 18, 2021

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



First Lesson; Acts 4:8-12

Second Lesson;1 John 1:1-10


Psalm of the Day; Psalm 118                             

Sermon Text; Luke 24:36-49


There was once a group of men who had gathered together to discuss great authors from the past.  And so, they began to ask each other “What if” questions.  (My Catechism Class loves to ask, “What if” questions.) 

Well, they said, “What if the great author John Milton were to stand in front of us?”  (John Milton might not be very well known, but he is considered to be one of the great English authors.) 

They said, “If John Milton were standing in front of us, we would give him more acclaim than what he received in his day.”

Somebody else asked, “What if William Shakespeare were to stand in front of us?”

Somebody else said, “We would probably crown him as the greatest poet of all time.”

Then, somebody else asked, “What if Jesus Christ were to be standing with us?”
There was silence for a long time, until somebody said this.  “Gentlemen, He is here!”


Today in our text, we are talking about one of the appearances of Jesus, after His resurrection.  For those forty days between Easter and Ascension Day that is what Jesus did.  He visibly appeared to people, to show, and to prove He had risen from the dead.  He visibly appeared to them.

How does Jesus appear to you, today?  Let's investigate that, as we look at God's Word, from Luke's Gospel, (the end of his Gospel), chapter twenty-four, beginning at verse thirty-six.


As they were talking about these things, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 

But they were terrified and frightened, and thought they were looking at a ghost.

He said to them, “Why are you troubled?  Why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet.  It is I, myself.  Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.”

When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.  While they still did not believe it (because of their joy), and while they were still wondering, He said to  them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”

They gave Him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb.  He took it and ate in front of them.  He said to them, “These are my words, which I spoke to 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 to understand the Scriptures.  He said to them, “This is what is written and so it must be:  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 from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  Look, I am sending you what my Father promised.  But stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”



These are your words, Heavenly Father.  Lead us in the way of truth.  Your Word is truth. 



Right before our text was another appearance of Jesus.  It was Easter Morning, when two disciples were leaving Jerusalem, and they were walking the seven miles to Emmaus, when Jesus caught up with them.  He simply asked them, “What are you talking about?”

Those two disciples began to share with Jesus, (whom they did not recognize yet), what had happened to Jesus over the last number of days. 

Here is what Jesus said to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  “How foolish you are.  And, how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things, and then enter His glory?”
Here is what Jesus did.  “Beginning with Moses, and all the prophets, He explained to them what was said in all of the Scriptures concerning Himself.”
Well, I am sure those Emmaus disciples were wondering what it was that Jesus was talking about, until they got to their home in Emmaus.  Jesus acted as if He were going to be going farther.  But, they urged Him to stay.  And while they were eating, they recognized Jesus. 

He has risen from the dead! 

And then, Jesus disappeared to them.  I am sure what seemed like a long journey, seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus, now became a quick journey from Emmaus back to Jerusalem.  They had to tell other people what they saw. 

Jesus is risen from the dead!

That is where our text for today begins.  It begins by saying, “As they were talking about these things...” in that locked room, in the city of Jerusalem.  They were talking about the things they had heard, the appearances of Jesus.  Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene.  Jesus had appeared to Peter.  Jesus had now appeared to these two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  And when the disciples, (minus Judas and Thomas) were together in a locked room, Jesus appeared to them.

Now for forty days between Easter and before Ascension Day, Jesus appeared to many, many people.  Scripture tells us over five hundred people that Jesus appeared to.  He appeared to them with His visible, physical presence.

But, today I want you to think about how Jesus appears to me, today?  How does Jesus appear to you, today? 

For these forty days that Jesus was making these appearances, what He was pointing everybody to is the absolute necessity of God's Word.

What I am about to say, I am going to say a number of times during the course of my message.  The statement simply is this. 

The closer you are to God's Word,

the closer you will be to Jesus. 

The closer you are to God's Word, the closer you will be to Jesus.  Remember those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, when Jesus had revealed Himself to them, and Jesus disappeared from their presence?  They looked at one another, and said, “Were our hearts not burning within us?”  

Jesus had just visibly showed Himself to them.

I don't know if kids play this game, anymore, but it was a game I played, when I was a kid.  I think the name of the game is just, “Hot and Cold”.  You hide an object in a room.  And, after the object has been hidden, an individual, or people go to find the hidden object.  As a person is getting farther away from that object, you may say something like, “You are getting colder”. 

Or, if you are getting closer to the object, you say something like, “You are getting warmer”. 

You can have fun with this game, too.  If somebody is going away from the object, you can say, “You are getting colder.”  “You are getting freezing cold.”  “You are living in the Arctic Circle! 

Or, you might say, if somebody is getting closer to the object, “You are getting hotter.”  “You are burning up.”  “You are living in the Sahara Desert! 

Is that a game that people play, anymore?  Hot and Cold.  I am glad it is still played today.

The Emmaus Disciples said, “Were not our hearts burning within us?”, as Jesus visibly appeared to those disciples.

Now, on the very first Easter Evening, Jesus appears to the disciples, in a room, in Jerusalem, behind locked doors.  He simply says “Peace be with you”.

It was a typical Hebrew greeting.  The word is 'Shalom'.  But, the greeting is more than just a greeting, because what Jesus says, He gives. 

He gives peace. 

As Paul wrote in the book of Romans,

“We now have peace with God,

through our Lord Jesus Christ,

because we have been justified through faith.” 

And yet, the disciples were terrified.  The disciples were frightened.  As it says later in our text they did not believe it, “because of their joy”.  They were terrified.  They were frightened, even though the reality of the risen Christ was physically, visibly right before them.

Has that ever happened to you, before, where the reality of something is there, right before you?  It is starring you in the face, and yet you may not believe it right away, because of joy.  Think of the young married couple who has been trying to have a child for a long time.  They look at the pregnancy test, and it is positive!  They almost can't believe it, because of their joy.   The reality is staring them right in the face.

Or, think of that friend, or relative who you have not seen for a long time, and they show up on your doorstep.  You open the door, and see them, and almost can't believe it, because of your joy.

Last night in our evening devotion Katie and I were reading the section in the book of Acts that talked about Peter's miraculous escape from prison.  The angel had released him from chains, released him from that prison, and those locked doors.  He walked  to the home, where people were gathering to pray on his behalf, and he was knocking at the door, saying, “It is I.  It is Peter.” 

Scripture says a girl by the name of Rhoda came to the door.  She heard Peter's voice, but she was so excited that she went back to tell everybody else, “It's Peter!” 

They didn't believe her, even though the reality was right on the other side of the door.  They didn't believe it, at first.  Then, they came, and heard Peter's voice, and opened the door.  The reality was right there.  But, they didn't believe it at first, because of their joy.

Or, you think about the team who has won a game, or maybe they have won the championship.  All of the hard work has paid off.  The final buzzer has gone off, but at first they almost don't believe it, because of their joy.

Jesus was visibly, physically in the presence of these disciples in that locked room.  Jesus encouraged them to look at Him.  Jesus encouraged them to touch Him.  And then, Jesus encourages them to give Him a piece of broiled fish.  “What do you have to eat?”

Now, I am going to say this for a very particular reason.  It is good that Jesus asked for something to eat, because you know what?  Eating is what living people do.  When you guys leave church, and when you go home, what are you going to do?  You are going to get something to eat.  Eating is what living people do.  Jesus was showing the disciples, “I am alive”.  Eating is what living people do.  “I am physically, visibly in your presence.”

They could see Him.  They could touch Him.  They saw Jesus eat that piece of broiled fish, and that honeycomb. 

Then, just as Jesus had done with the Emmaus disciples, Jesus also did with the disciples in this room in Jerusalem.  Our text for today said,

“Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me

in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”

So, Jesus was simply taking everything that The Old Testament said about Him, from the first five books of Moses, (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), everything that the Prophets said about Him, everything that the Psalms said about Him.  He 'connected the dots' to Himself.

Today we, (you and I), don't have the privilege of seeing the risen Jesus with our own eyes.  But that is why Jesus has given to you His holy and precious Word.  He gives us The Old Testament.  He gives us The New Testament.  And, Jesus tells us He appears to us today in His Word.

I used to think, when I was a kid, if I had been there in that room when Jesus appeared to His disciples, I said to myself, “I would have believed it.”  That is what I thought, as a kid, anyway.  I don't believe that now.  But, it is almost as if, as a kid, I was saying, “If I would have been in that upper room, 'I told you so, guys.  There is Jesus.  I told you He was going to rise from the dead!'”

The disciples should have believed that, because that is what Jesus said.

And, I used to think, as a kid, I would roll out my sleeping bag in front of the tomb on Saturday evening.  That is when Jesus said He was going to rise from the dead on Easter Morning.  I would have been there, (right?) to see Jesus roll the stone away, and come out.  “I have risen!”

I don't believe that, anymore, that I would have done that.

What was the reaction of the disciples?  They were frightened.  They were terrified.  They did not believe, because of their joy.  Jesus asked,

“Why are you troubled? 

Why do doubts arise in your hearts?”

Augustine, one of the early church fathers, (who lived in the late 300's, early 400's), said this about this section of scripture.  “Jesus rose with His wounds healed, His scars kept.  For this He judged expedient for His disciples that His scars should be kept, whereby the wounds of their hearts might be healed.  What wounds?  The wounds of unbelief.  For He appeared to their eyes exhibiting real flesh.  The disciples were able to see with their eyes.  They were able to touch with their hands.  They were able to hear with their ears, the risen Jesus.”

But, here we sit, two thousand years after the resurrection, and Guys, we have never seen Jesus calm a storm.  We have never seen Jesus raise someone from the dead.  We have never sat at Jesus' feet, to hear Him teaching on a Galilean hillside.  We have never seen Jesus with our eyes.  And so, that is why Jesus comes to you in His Word. 

And, the closer you are to God's Word,

the closer you will be to Jesus.

And so, I ask you, “Why are you troubled?”  “Why do doubts arise in your heart, as you think about the struggles that are taking place in your life, the trials and the tribulations that are going on in your life?  Why are you troubled about those things?”  “Why do doubts rise in your heart?” 

Jesus has taken care of our greatest need, by His death on the cross, and by His glorious resurrection.  And so, we know Jesus will take care of all of our earthly needs, as well.

Jesus gives us good news.  The words He spoke to His disciples are now words I am glad I get to share with you.  Jesus said,

“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...”
We now have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, because of Jesus' death on the cross.  Or, as Paul wrote in the book of Galatians.  He put it this way about the peace we have now with God, because of Christ. 

“God was pleased to have all of His fullness dwell in Jesus and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross.”

I am going to close with these three things.  I am going to close with a quote from Martin Luther, a little story, and then a closing sentence. 
Martin Luther, as he was looking at this section of scripture, wanted to bring two things to light.  Here is the quote from Luther, when he wrote this.  “Jesus' labors on earth, as an ambassador of the Father, are now at an end.  Now the disciples shall accept the responsibility, and continue the work.  Here is mentioned a twofold Easter legacy, which pertains to the church.  It pertains to you.  The first is the divine peace.  The second, the official work entrusted to the apostles.  The two are closely and logically related.  Through their official ministry, the message of the peace, which is the fruit of Jesus' work, shall be proclaimed on earth.  The song which the angels sang on the starlit field of Bethlehem, 'Peace on Earth' has now become a reality, and shall be proclaimed, not by angels, but by people who are ambassadors for Christ.”

There once was a man who was stricken with cancer.  He was on his deathbed, and he was in Hospice.  It was pre-Covid, and the room was packed with all of his relatives.  He wanted to take a moment to speak to everybody who was in that room with him.  In different words he shared about the same message, with all of them.  “Soon the day is going to come, when I am not visibly in your presence, anymore.”  He shared a blessing with each of them.  But, he reminded them of this.  “Jesus may not be physically present with us today, with His body, but He is present with us with His Word.  The closer you are to God's Word, the closer you will be to Jesus.”

How does Jesus appear to you today? 

He appears to you through His holy, and precious Word. 

The closer you are to God's Word,

the closer you will be to Jesus. 

We are now witnesses of these things.  May we be ambassadors for Christ.



Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, shall be now and forevermore. 



Now the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your heart and your mind through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.