Panic to peace
Yesterday we saw Cleopas and Mary go from hopeless to hope on the Emmaus Road. Today, they have dashed back to Jerusalem to the locked room where the disciples are hiding out, chattering fearfully among themselves. Confused, full of disbelief.
Jesus turns panic into peace
They are in a locked room (John 2:19) for fear of the Jews, and Jesus suddenly appears. They were startled, frightened; talking amongst themselves about what has been happening. Suddenly He is with them – having walked through the door. So they are scared. Is it a spirit or a ghost?
“Peace to you!” – Jesus’ presence brings forgiveness, joy, hope and peace.
People search for peace in so many ways – drugs, alcohol, casual sex, meditation, spiritualism. All of them ultimately disappoint and all are spiritually bankrupt. You end up with less peace and more panic and mess.
Initially they are terrified – thinking it’s a ghost. So in v. 39 Jesus tells them to look at his hands and feet, touch them. He has a physical body. He eats with them to show He is physical. Luke is knocking on the head the JW’s teaching of a spiritual resurrection and the Gnostic teaching that would be around in the 2nd century. They thought Jesus was not made of flesh. It’s a resurrection body that is a recreation, like our bodies, but heavenly too – so He can walk through doors! Get your head round that!
Jesus’ first words to the troubled disciples are “Peace to you”. Then He asked “Why are you so troubled?” Literally, why are you so stirred up? Have you ever been like that? Panicked, emotions stirred, stomach churning?
Jesus reassures them –
1) Touch me
2) Eat with me
Circumstances are like mattresses. If you are under them, you suffocate. If you can get on top, you can rest. We get a choice – focus on the circumstances, or focus on Jesus. You may know an old chorus by H.H. Lemmel: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” If you are prone to panic; if when you are asked “How are you?” your answer is “Alright under the circumstances”, allow Jesus to bring peace.
We need to hear God – His presence takes away panic. Phil 4:7 tells us “the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Draw near to God and the devil will flee.
Worship and allow His presence to be manifest.
He turns confusion into clarity v. 44-48
The next thing Jesus does is remind them of all that He had taught them. Luke 9:45 tells us they didn’t understand him fully before the cross. So Jesus explained His teaching and how the OT all points to Him – the triumphant bits, the suffering servant bits, the bits that show us our need of grace. It’s all about Jesus.
As He does so, confusion become clarity! If you are confused about life – Jesus loves to bring clarity.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 is a very popular Scripture. People often quote the first verse: ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”‘ Which is so helpful; but we need to read on! ‘”Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”‘
The key to knowing God’s plan, knowing clarity where there was once confusion, is threefold:
1) Call on God in prayer – calling has a desperation, a tenacity, a telling God what’s what
2) Listen – as God listens to you; you listen to Him. Allow Him to speak through His word, His Spirit and trusted friends
3) Seek God – that takes time and soaking in His presence.
If you are living in confusion – seek God and gain clarity.
Jesus turns pointlessness into purpose v. 47-48
The disciples had gone inward focussed, in a locked room, full of fear and doubt. Jesus turns their pointlessness into purpose. He explains to them the message they have to proclaim:
- The death and resurrection of Jesus
- Repentance and forgiveness
- Going to all the nations with the message
Here is a great quote from William Booth who started the Salvation Army:
We believe in the old-fashioned salvation. We have not developed and improved into Universalism, Unitarianism, or Nothingarianism, or any other form of infidelity, and we don’t expect to. Ours is just the same salvation taught in the Bible, proclaimed by prophets and apostles, preached by Luther and Wesley and Whitfield, sealed by the blood of martyrs – the very same salvation which was purchased by the sufferings and agony and Blood of the Son of God. We have a great purpose – making disciples in the nations!
He turns powerlessness into powerfulness v. 49
“Look”, Jesus says “I am sending the promise of the Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” They felt powerless – they had felt powerless when Jesus told them to feed the five thousand with a few loaves and fishes. The job is impossible – God wants us to take responsibility for the mission and we feel powerless, because it is too big and too impossible. But then He gives us power!
They needed to wait for Jesus to ascend to heaven so that He could send the Spirit instead. And when He comes he comes in power. Power to be witnesses. We will pray into that in a moment.
Jesus turns worry into worship v. 50-53
They all go away from the fish BBQ with Jesus and He ascends to heaven, where He is ever praying for us. Their response is worship. They returned to the city with great joy and were continually joining together for worship in the temple.
No more fear, only faith;
No more confusion, only clarity;
No more pointlessness, only purpose;
Before they were hiding and fearful, now openly praising in the temple;
Before there was sorrow and perplexity, now praising and blessing;
Before there was doubt, now they are filled with faith and hope.
Come on! Let’s do it!