Monday, April 1, 2013

International/Uniform Sunday School Lesson for April 7, 2013

                           "The Lord Appears"
      International/Uniform Sunday School Lesson for April 7, 2013

Scripture Text: Luke 24:36-53

Purpose: To remember that Easter is the beginning of our continuing pilgrimage

Luke 24:36-53 (CEB)
36 While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 37 They were terrified and afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost. 
38 He said to them, "Why are you startled? Why are doubts arising in your hearts? 39  Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have." 40 As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 Because they were wondering and questioning in the midst of their happiness, he said to them, "Do you have anything to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish.43 Taking it, he ate it in front of them. 
44 Jesus said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 He said to them, "This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47  and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48  You are witnesses of these things. 49  Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power."
50 He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. 53 And they were continuously in the temple praising God.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

Today's lesson is a continuation of our previous lesson. Luke records in his gospel that all of this from the early morning visit to the tomb, to the ascension, as happening on resurrection Sunday.

The Gospel of John records three different meetings between Jesus and his disciples in a forty day period following the resurrection. Luke's account in the Book of Acts also reports a forty day period of time between the resurrection and the ascension.

In today's lesson it appears the two who hosted Jesus in Emmaus were too late to be the first to inform the remaining eleven. While they were excited and rushed to Jerusalem, their story was old news. Jesus had already appeared to Simon (vs 34) and others.

While there in that room discussing the events of the day, Jesus suddenly appears within their midst. Reflecting back to Luke 10:5, Jesus greets them in the same way he taught them to greet as he sent them out. “5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.”

The reaction of the disciples is certainly understandable, but Jesus does not cut them any slack, he basically says, “weren't you expecting me?” “I thought I was very clear about what was going to happen.” “Shame on you for not believing.” (my translation)

After a short scolding, Jesus reassures those present by letting them examine his hands and feet and touch his body and he even eats some leftover fish. Even seeing Jesus in this environment did not take away some doubts they all had.

Interesting that Jesus tries to assure them about what had happened through scripture by mentioning the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. Basically Jesus says all of the Old Testament testifies of me. That he mentions the Psalms I find rather interesting, because it is not always thought of as a book of Prophecy. Many scholars wonder about Jesus' words he cried out on the the cross My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Since at the time of Christ death on the cross there was no chapter or verse to direct the attention of an audience. Instead they would simply quote the first few words of a passage and the sharpest of scholars would know what they were referring to. If you go back and read the 22nd Psalm you can receive the message that Jesus was yelling from the cross. It is a prophesy that Jesus was shouting to his disciple and to the world, “this is what is happening”

Jesus concludes this long day by instructing his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they receive the promised Holy Spirit. Notice God promised, but Jesus delivers. He then in this account leads them to the west side of the Mount of Olives, near Bethany, and is taken up to join the Father. This had to be an exhilarating time for the disciples, and they continued in the Jewish tradition of worshiping and praying in the temple everyday.

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