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Pastor Chris Boyd

Ordained Minister of the NALC for Resurrection Lutheran Church since 2020; a MDiv graduate of the North American Lutheran Seminary and Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. Pastor Chris is a prior soldier of the Army, but now serves full time as the RLC minister. His ministry extends to the Catawba Island Volunteer Fire Department as its chaplain and as a volunteer fireman, to the township for community events such as street dedications and Wreaths Across America, to the city of Port Clinton for events including their Memorial Day Ceremony and Passion Walk, and many other entities. He passionately encourages rigorous study of the Word of God, apologetics, and communal involvement.

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Sermons

John Hazzard                                                                                                                                                            April 14, 2024 

Third Sunday of Easter

“You Can Count on Jesus”

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS THE CHRIST.

     

Good morning, everyone. Hopefully we are all enjoying this beautiful morning and look forward to spending time in the “Word of our Lord” as brothers and sisters in Christ. I can’t think of a better way to start off the week than being here in the very presence of God. I imagine this must be what the multitudes of faithful Jews felt as they traveled from miles around to make their way to Jerusalem and celebrate Passover. This Passover for many of those excited Jewish people was going to be special as they anticipated the arrival of Jesus whom they heard so much about, hoping that maybe, just maybe, he was the long-awaited messiah. We know this must have been the case because we are told about how the people welcomed and celebrated him as he dramatically entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It is amazing to me how that all changed, by the end of the week many of those same people were screaming to Crucify Him. What started as a week of anticipation and celebration would end in anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty, especially for Jesus’s disciples and devout followers. 

All the events of the week came to an end as Jesus’s disciples and followers began to disperse, some back to their homes and some into hiding as they tried to make sense of what just happened. 

It was in the chaos that followed His crucifixion that He returned to His disciples. In the Gospels we are told about several occasions in which Jesus appeared to His followers after His resurrection. We are told in Matthew 28 how Jesus appeared to the two women, “The angel of the Lord said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  So, the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” 

Another appearance occurred as two of Jesus’s disciples were on the road to Emmaus, Jesus suddenly walked up to them and asked them what they were talking about. They were shocked that Jesus, who they did not recognize at the time, did not know about all the events that transpired just a few days earlier.  They even asked Jesus if he was the only one in all of Jerusalem that did not know about what happened. It is obvious that they did not recognize, at the time, who they were speaking to.  In Luke 24 we are told that Jesus responded in kind 25 “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. We all can relate to these disciples. These two who knew Him so well, who spent countless hours speaking with Him, sharing meals with him, but yet did not recognize Him in passing. It was not until He revealed Himself to them that they could see who He was. Like them, we do not recognized Jesus in these moments of passing, it is only when we are actively engaged in the apostolic message and through the work of the Holy Spirit that we know who Jesus is. 

Here we see God coming to us as a flesh and blood totally vulnerable human being- just as we are-, but in every way the perfect and sinless human being we sinners never could be. Jesus, The One True God, is the only One Who can forgive our sins and re-establish the relationship He created us in His Own Image to have with Him now and eternally.  Jesus, The True and Perfect Man, is the only One anointed to be The Perfect High Priest offering His Perfect Human Life as The Perfect Sacrifice required for our redemption, for our sins, and for our restored relationship with God.

     Jesus Christ, though He was in the form of God – and is actually God Himself  – did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped – but was willing to exchange it all for human frailty, becoming a vulnerable flesh and blood human being. For you and for me – He made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

On that road to Emmaus, Jesus proclaimed  how his death, burial, and resurrection are prophesied in all the Holy Scripture. Luther understood this truth. He proclaimed , “All of Scripture is about nothing but Christ, God’s and Mary’s Son; all has to do with this Son, that we might know Him.” “Christ is the center of the cirle, and all stories in Holy Scripture, viewed aright, have to do with Christ.” I can only imagine what that must have been like, to experience the ultimate Bible study, conducted by Jesus himself. It was as if Jesus opened the Scriptures and started in Genesis and continued methodically explaining and pointing to the verses and prophesis that all pointed to Himself as the promised messiah. I can’t imagine having a two hour catechism with Jesus. 

As I thought about this most enviable experience, I realized that you and I have this same opportunity.  We experience the love that Jesus has for all mankind through the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God known as, the Holy Scriptures. It is through the Word that the Holy Spirit comes to us and offers us the free “grace of God which passes all human understanding”, not because we want it more than everyone else nor is it because I am not as bad as those people over there or these people over here- for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3). But yet we can receive it because it is given and we trust in Christ and him crucified. It is only when we receive the vulnerable flesh and blood Jesus Christ as our Risen Lord and Savior and place all our trust in Him that we are justified.  When we take off the old ways and put on the new we are born again. (Regenerated) Then by the power of the Holy Spirit we begin to be sanctified, stripped of our earthly forms and laid bare, only to be completely clothed in righteousness when we enter into our resurrected bodies and the eternal relationship God intended for us from the very beginning. 

Luke continues… Once they arrived at the village of Emmaus, they sat down and broke bread together.  It was at that moment that the two disciples realized that they were in the presence, the very real presence, of Jesus.  And without warning Jesus disappeared from their sight.

It should come as no surprise that they recognized Jesus as they were breaking bread, for when we break bread during the Lord’s Supper, we know that our Lord and Savior is literally with us as well. Jesus is in, with, and under the bread and the wine. The disciples were so excited about their encounter that when Jesus had left them they immediately returned to Jesusalem to proclaim what had happened to them. They did not wait till the next morning or even rest for a short time, we are told they immediately returned to Jerusalem. 

As these two disciples arrived back in Jerusalem, they find the original eleven disciples and his followers gathered. I can only imagine the emotions that everyone experienced as they sat together recalling how Jesus had appeared to some of them. They must have been filled with joy, confusion, and even expectation as they listened in wonder. Then, 36 while they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Just think about what has happened during Jesus’s ministry. He was a blessing to his disciples. He saved their lives by calming storms and performing miracles, he opened their eyes and ears revealing Christian truths that were formerly unknown, and even revealed to them his true identity as Lord of lords and King of kings.  Yet, after doing all of this for his disciples and followers, they all turned their backs on him as he was dragged away to be falsely accused, beaten, and crucified.  

The truth of the matter is we all have done the same thing. We have all abandoned Jesus at times in our lives.   For example, when we are called to do certain things, we decide to do something different, because if we did what Christ calls us to do, it would feel too much like taking up our own cross. We do not always do the right thing. We have not loved Him with our whole heart and our whole mind.  We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. We are so utterly corrupt that it is impossible for us to do anything that would justify us in the eyes of God. So, when Jesus appeared to his followers in that room, he didn’t curse them, or tell them how disappointed he was in them, instead Jesus said, “peace be with you”.  He blessed them just as he blesses us. A blessing freely given through Christ and Him crucified.     

The fact that God could do such a thing is no miracle for with God all things are possible – even God Himself coming to us as a vulnerable flesh and blood human being.  The miracle is that The Lord God would take the form of a servant and be born in the likeness of men for no other reason than the perfect and total love God has for us.  The miracle is God’s Love for us. And being in human form, He further humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Truly God showed His Love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  There can be no greater miracle of love. And God’s Love for us took Him, through torture, through betrayal, through degrading humiliation to the cross and to a cave that served as a tomb.

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. It is easy to see why they were so scared.  Jesus just miraculously appeared in the room with them. The locked door did not prevent him from entering. We also know that Jesus appears in his glorified and resurrected body. The fact that they assumed he was a ghost tells us that a resurrected body must take on an appearance that is different from our natural bodies, which are full of sin and corruption.  Even though Christ was in his resurrected form, we know it was not a spiritual body. It was a body that was made up of flesh and bone. A body that is capable of eating, 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, (In other words they thought what they were seeing and experiencing was too good to be true) he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence. 

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.”

Jesus opened their minds to allow them to understand the Scriptures. He gave them the power to interpret and understand everything that had happened from creation and the fall of man, to what we now know about Jesus. Without a doubt everything had been leading to that moment. To Jesus' birth, crucifixion, death, and His resurrection. To that very moment in the upper room. And to this very moment in THIS very room today. God’s gift did not stop with the disciples. His gift was not just for those present that day. His gift is one with no beginning. With no end. His gift is given to everyone who actively searches for Him. For everyone who believes in Him. We are often told that there are two things that we can NOT avoid in life, taxes and death. And as much as we all pay our fair share in this life. We won’t have to pay anything in our death because Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. We do not have enough money and cannot do enough good deeds to pay the debt we owe.  Only Jesus can pay the price for everyone, and have change to spare. So even though we cannot count on our own merits, we can always count on Jesus.

THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN JESUS----OUR LORD AND SAVIOR WHO TOOK ON THE SINS OF THE WORLD PAYING OUR SIN DEBT IN FULL

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