It is written

Easter 3 – St. Luke 24:36-49 Today, in our Gospel text, Jesus appears to His disciples on Easter Sunday evening. The disciples are in a state of shock, and do not understand the things that have happened, most especially the empty tomb, or how all this came to be. Yet Jesus appears in their midst and opens their eyes, their minds and their hearts by pointing them to the Scriptures, the books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings, so that they might understand that the Christ must suffer and die, and on the third day rise again. Our text today occurs immediately after the encounter on the Emmaus Road, where Jesus appears to the two unsuspecting disciples, and asks them why they are so sad, and upon hearing the disciples respond that Jesus is missing, He opens to them the Scriptures, the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings, as to how they all point to Jesus, who must be crucified, and rise on the third day. All of which occurs after the women go to the tomb early Easter Sunday morning and report back the response of the angel recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that Jesus is not here, that He is risen, just as He told you. Just as it is written. Do you notice a pattern developing? If the disciples had listened first to the words of the Scriptures, and then to the words of Jesus, than what happens between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday should not be a surprise. Not only does Jesus explain on numerous occasions what is going to happen, but the Old Testament also clearly lays out all the details. But everyone misses it. How could everyone miss what Jesus was saying? How could everyone miss the verses and the imagery from Moses and from Isaiah and from the Psalms about who the Messiah must be? When Jesus shows up and everything perfectly aligns, how come no one gets it? Granted, it is much harder to understand the fulfillment of the Scriptures when Jesus is hanging dead on a cross. It is tough to believe that Jesus will rise from the dead in three days, when no one has ever done so before. It is difficult in the moment to believe that what is happening around you is actually what you have been looking toward your entire life. And so on that first Easter Sunday, and for the next 40 days, Jesus is doing what He did before Good Friday and Easter Sunday, He is pointing the disciples and all people back to the Scriptures so that they might know and understand that the Christ must be crucified and on the third day rise. And so today, we sit back and watch Jesus teach these disciples from the Scriptures what we already know to be true. Or do we? How well do you know the Old Testament prophecies of Christ? How well can we point to the promises of Christ that speak to us in our lives today? When we spoke the reproaches on Good Friday, were you convicted? When we hear from the prophet Isaiah how the Christ must suffer, do you grasp all of the imagery? When you pray the Psalms, do you understand who they are about? When you confess that you are a poor miserable sinner, in need of a Savior, do you have any evidence from the Scriptures to convince you of this, or do you make the confession because that is what you have been told to make? And what of the end times? Do you understand the end times from what the Scriptures say, or do you understand the end times because of what someone on TV has said? No big deal you say; you know the main story of the Scriptures; you know what the disciples on Easter Sunday evening did not know: you know that the Christ must be crucified, and that on the third day He will rise from the grave. So no problem, right? As long as you know what others have told you to be true, and believe it, all is well, right? Except the disciples did know these things. The disciples knew that the Christ would be crucified and on the third day rise. What they did not understand was the Scriptures and how they applied to them; and since they did not know the Scriptures, when these things happened, they found no comfort in them, only confusion and despair. They knew what was supposed to happen, what they did not know was any comfort or assurance that anything that was happening around them was for their benefit. That is the problem when we do not know the Scriptures: you do not know the promises of Christ, or how they might even apply to you. You know that there is a Savior of the world, but without the Scriptures, you do not know that this Savior is for you, either because you do not know that you are a sinner, or because you do know, but think your sins are too great to be forgiven. You know that the Lord of heaven and earth will come on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead, but because you do not know the Scriptures, you do not know if you should be concerned about this or not. You know that the Christ must be crucified and on the third day rise again, but without the Scriptures, you do not know if this is for you today, or if it is just for those in Jerusalem in 33AD. And so like the disciples, you find yourself in a locked room; contemplating what may or may not happen, because you do not know the Scriptures. But there is good news for you. The Scriptures are not a closed off book to God’s people. The Scriptures are open and available and for you. Pray that the Holy Spirit would open your hearts and minds to understand the Scriptures, so that you might read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, and take them to heart. Set aside time each day for prayer and devotion and meditation on the Scriptures. Know that the theme throughout all of Scriptures is Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen for you. Know that Christ Jesus died for the sins of all people, including you, and including the sin of not understanding the sacred Scriptures. Do not just rely on the words of others; search the Scriptures in study and in devotion, so that you might read and hear the promises for yourself. It is after all Biblical. Paul preached to the Barreans daily, expounding on the word of the Lord to them. But just hearing Paul was not good enough; so each night, the Barreans went home and searched the Scriptures to see if these things were true. Search the Scriptures, and know that the promises of Christ are for you. Know that your sins, both great and small, are forgiven. Know that the coming Day of the Lord is a day of comfort for those who believe. Know that Christ was crucified and risen from the dead for you. And then you to will hear the words of Jesus spoken to you: Peace to you. Peace to you who know the words and promises of our Lord delivered to you through kings and prophets and shepherds and apostles and martyrs. Peace to you who keep these words inspired by the Holy Spirit before you all the days of your lives. Peace to you who look to the words recorded before us, and do not disbelieve, but believe. Peace to you are the words of comfort spoken to the disciples in a locked room; and they are the words spoken to you this day, as you seek the Scriptures and know the promises the Lord has made to you. Peace to you this day and always in the crucified and risen Christ.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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