Sermon Preached by The Venerable Winston Thomas Archdeacon Mandeville Region at the Worship Service 147th Synod

Wednesday, April 19 2017

St. Luke 24:45
Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scripture”

Introduction

We continue our celebration of Easter – the time when Jesus, by his death-resurrection, opened the way to our salvation.

In the gospel reading for today- St. Luke 24: 13 – 35 we see Jesus joining the company of the two men who were travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus. While they were travelling they addressed the hot topic of discussion for the day, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus joined in the discussion and tried to help them to understand the scriptures, beginning with Moses and all the prophets. He indeed opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He assured them that what happened to him, was what was written in the scriptures about him – “the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, and in his name the message about repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations”

In the closing verses of the gospel according to St. Luke, the author, St. Luke, stresses the reality of the resurrection. The risen Lord Jesus was no phantom or ghost or hallucination. The Jesus who was crucified died and was buried was in truth the Christ who rose again. The appearances of Jesus – to the disciples – five on the day of the resurrection and five other times on the days following – were in fact a real person to real people. The evidences – their testimonies are handed down to us. The existence of the church today, you and I here in worship today, is enough testimony to the reality of the resurrection. Christianity is not founded on the dreams of men’s disordered minds but is founded on one who, in actual historical fact, faced and fought and conquered death and rose again.

In the closing verses of the gospel according to St. Luke, the author, St. Luke, stresses the need for the cross. It was to the cross that all the scriptures looked forward. The cross was in God’s plan for salvation. It was not forced on God. It was not an emergency measure that was employed when everything else had failed and when the scheme of things had gone wrong. It was indeed in God’s plan. Paul told the Galatians in chapter 3 v 13. “By becoming a curse for us Christ has redeemed us from the curse that the Law”. The scripture says “anyone who is hanged on a cross is under God’s curse. Christ did this in order that the blessing which God promised to Abraham might be given to the Gentiles by means of Jesus Christ.” The cross for Jesus was the dei – the divine imperative.

In the closing verses of the gospel according St. Luke, the author Luke, stresses that there is an urgent task for the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins be preached. In outlining to the disciples what was written in scriptures about him – Jesus, the risen Lord, went on to tell them that in his name the message about repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached to all the nations. The church is not left to be in the upper room forever. The Church is called and sent out to go with the power and the strength of God into all the world of human existence to proclaim the message. After the experience of the upper room, after partaking of the sacrament comes the world-wide mission of the Church – yes, at school – yes, at our business places – yes, at the shop counter – yes, on the streets, – yes, on the farm – yes, where ever we are called to work – there is our mission field. The days of sorrow are past and the good news – the gospel – must be taken to all men. You are witnesses of these things. You are called, chosen, and commissioned to go and to tell and to share the good news.

In the closing verses of the gospel according to St. Luke the author, Luke, stresses that those who assume the responsibility to spread the gospel – the good news – will be endowed with power. Jesus told them “I myself will send upon what my Father has promised.” He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with the power. There are times when we are called to wait on the Lord. Indeed, Isaiah says “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, the will walk and not faint”. We need to wait on the Lord in prayer, in retreat, in meditation. In our waiting we prepare ourselves for action and for service. Indeed there is a time to wait on God and there is a time to work for God.

The quiet times in which we wait on God are never wasted. It is in these times when we lay aside life’s tasks that we are strengthened for the very tasks that we lay aside.

As we continue to celebrate the joy of the resurrection – let us find some quiet time to wait on the Lord. And in that time of waiting and reflection let us listen to him outlining to us the scriptures. Let us listen to him giving us his commission to be his agents and witnesses in our world. Let us accept the assurance of his presence and power. Let us get up and go, armed with the gospel and the resolve to go and to share the message that we have received from him..