A SPIRIT (Lk 24.36-48)
The sudden, unexpected appearing of the Lord Jesus (Lk 24.36-48) caused the gathered disciples to be startled and terrified: they thought they had seen a spirit. How would we feel if the Lord Jesus came unexpectedly to any gathering of the local assembly to which we belong? The fact is He is always present. The story begins in Emmaus with a
Cleopas and his companion got a glimpse of the risen Saviour. The experience changed their lives and every part of their being. A similar experience did the same for Stephen and for Saul of Tarsus, and will do the same for us.
Unbelief blinds people to the truth and to the presence of the Lord. The two from Emmaus did not suffer from impaired eyesight, but they dwelt in the misty land of unbelief. It is possible to have perfect eyesight and yet never see the greatness and glory of Christ and not be enthralled at the vista of Gods eternal purposes. Fanny J Crosby became blind at a very early age, the result of a medical error. Although living in total darkness, she was spiritually alert and caught visions of the Lords glory that few "Christless eyes" have ever seen, spoke of "rivers of pleasure" she saw, of viewing "his constant smile", and of seeing streams "gushing from the rock" before her.
A W Pink wrote: "If the keeping of the heart be the great work of the Christian, then how few real Christians are there in the world!". In a day when intellectualism occupies the top rung of the ladder, it so difficult to find Christians that suffer from heartburn.
During the Kansas revival, thousands were saved through the instrumentality of Gipsy Smith. After one service, an older minister entered the room where the evangelist was resting, placed his hands on his head and said, "I am trying to find the secret of your success". "Too high! Too high! My friend, you are too high," Gipsy said. "The secret of whatever God has given me is not up there but down here", and he placed his hand upon his heart.
The two from Emmaus did not waste a minute but made the return journey to Jerusalem to tell the wonderful story. A vision of the nailed, pierced feet will cause our feet to go and tell.
Christ! If my footsteps should falter and I be prepared for retreat;
If desert and thorns cause lamenting, Lord! Show me Thy feet,
Thy bleeding feet, Thy nail-scarred feet.
O Saviour! Show me Thy feet.
O God; dare I show Thee my hands and my feet?
-Brenton Thorburn Bradley
It is possible to identify a bird by its song and a person by his or her word. What is in the well of our hearts will show up in the outpouring of our talk. When the heart is full of Christ our testimony will be true and rich.
The story did not end in the home in Emmaus but reached the disciples in Jerusalem. A changed couple led to a
No sooner had the two from Emmaus told their story when the Lord appeared among the disciples. What happened that day holds a challenge for any local assembly. What did the Lord expect from that group and what does He expect from His church today? He expects every company of believers to
Know His presence
A casual usage of Matthew 18.20 or brandishing it about like a banner will not bring the presence of the Lord Jesus. The Church in Laodicea is a reminder that it is possible to meet together and not know the Lords presence, nor indeed to feel the need of it. Whether we are aware of it or not, the Lord still walks among the local churches and observes what is happening and what is not taking place.
Absalom expressed outrage at having to spend two whole years in Jerusalem without seeing the kings face. He pleaded earnestly with Joab: "Let me see the kings face" (2 Sam 14.32). Could if be that as companies of the Lords people we have not seen the Lords face for two years or more?
Enjoy His peace
The Lord knew the disturbed state of the disciples, the distressing experiences of recent times. They were startled and terrified and so He breathed His peace on them. Many things of the present age contribute to rob the Lords people of peace. Modernism, rationalism, terrorism, spiritism, and so many other "isms" mount increasing opposition to God and His church. Gods purposes and peace should comfort hearts that beat true to Him.
Unfortunately, there are many internal evils that cause storms to rise and prevent harmonious co-operation between people who profess to love the same Lord.
Believe the proofs
The Lord gave ample and many proofs of His resurrection. In his second treatise, Luke will call these "infallible proofs" (Acts 1.3), a series of many convincing demonstrations unquestionable evidences and infallible proofs (Amplified Bible). He used the marks in His hands and feet and a meal to prove that His resurrection body was real.
The resurrection continues to be the bedrock of Christianity. If it were possible to prove that the Lord Jesus did not rise, the superstructure of the Christian faith would crumble and fall and become a heap of rubble. However, the resurrection is a well-documented fact, and will withstand the attacks of mortal man and the myriad of hells messengers.
Engage in preaching
The truth of Christs death and resurrection does not only need to be believed, but also proclaimed. This news must not be kept under cover or suppressed. It must be heralded.
Fulfil Christs programme
The crucifixion and subsequent events were not done in a corner (in secret) (Acts 26.26), and the gospel must not be kept secret but must reach the four corners of the earth. There are still large areas of the world that have never heard the Good News. The world, all of it, is the Churchs parish.
Serve in the power of the Holy Spirit
We certainly do not need to await the Spirits descent, but we do need His dynamism. Service to the risen Lord is spiritual in nature and requires spiritual power to perform it. A person filled with the Holy Spirit will serve with fervour and power and will have a life fragrant and perfumed.
It was after this that the Lord conducted His disciples out as far as Bethany and invoked a blessing on them. If we, as local churches, fulfil the above requirements we can expect Gods blessing.
The Lord was no spirit. The disciples came to the unshakeable conviction that He was real and alive. Thomas Jeffersons Bible was used for some time by the U.S. Congress. All references to the supernatural were removed. Jeffersons Bible was limited to the moral teaching of the Lord Jesus. The closing words of Jeffersons Bible are: "There they laid Jesus and rolled a great stone at the mouth of the sepulchre and departed". Praise God our Bibles do not end that way for they tell of a risen, exalted Saviour. The world has not seen the last of Him, because He is coming back to reign with power and in great glory. Before that He is coming back in person to receive us unto Himself and will fashion anew the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the image of His glory. The Lord was no spirit, but experienced bodily resurrection. We shall not exist eternally in a disembodied state, but we shall have bodies fashioned and conformed to the image of His glory.
Until then, may we as local assemblies experience and enjoy the nearness of the risen Lord.
To be continued.