Luke 24:36-38 "As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?"
The greatest danger to the western world is also the single sentence which has harmed more Christians than perhaps anything else, and it looks so harmless, no one would ever suspect the great danger that lies beneath these common words: "Iíll do it myself." Many perish, because they know no other way, others, because they could not see the danger. But if there is one thing I would like you to remember about Jesus ministry, and the post resurrection church, is that it was not a random collection of individuals, but rather God by grace through faith, gathers his people into his family, and in the family of God, the way God would have things get done is seen in what God is calling us to do. We know that God is re-establishing his rule over and among mankind to the ends of the earth, not by himself, although he could -- for God the creator is the one person who could really do it himself --but instead of doing it himself, God gathers us together, and says to us, Let us do it together. This is the way of God in Christ, and this is the way of the church, this is the way of the family, and this is what the world id dying to hear about -- for the world, because of sin, finds it very hard to work together with anyone, and that is why it has taught that the best way to get things done, is to do it yourself.
If there is one proof that this is the wrong way, perhaps it is best seen in creation. When God began creation, he did not begin with I shall, rather he began with the words "Let us" -- for even in the triune God we see the sign of the family. And although we speak of creation as the work of God the father, we know that the Holy Spirit was hovering over the face of the deep, and that the Son was also present and active in creation, for it is written.John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." One God in 3 persons, we take it for granted, and yet, in the crucifixion, we can see that perhaps the greatest pain was not the scourging, or the crucifixion, but it was being cut off and separated from God. For it is in anguish that we hear the cry, "My God my God why hast thou forsaken me?"
As I had said, the reason why it is so hard for us to work together is because of sin. And the chief tool we are given in the church to overcome this obstacle is that by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, that there is forgiveness of sins. And the forgiveness worked by God is complete, and allows us to forgive and forget, just as God also in granting forgiveness, forgives and forgets. Forgiveness is central to life in the family of God and to life in the family.
On evening of that first Easter, the disciples were locked in the upper room in fear, and when Jesus appears before them, the reaction is more fear. Hadnít they all promised to be faithful, hadnít they all sworn that they would never leave him. They were ashamed that they hadnít stood together as family, but as individuals, one by one, they ran away or denied the Lord and Savior. And so Jesus first words to them are very important, Peace be with you. These words are important, because there is no peace without forgiveness of sins. It is an announcement that, yes, they are still part of the family, and that it is time for the family to begin working together more and more, especially after seeing what happens when they each went their own way, and did their own thing.
So Jesus came, brought His Peace to the frightened disciples, and then open their minds, explained to them the scriptures, so that they would know what it was they were about to begin, together. For the church is where we learn how it is Godís plan for the family to do things together, so that there will be support guidance and encouragement as we travel together on the way that leads to heaven.
In there temptation? Sure, but we know that our family will be there so that we donít loose our way, and reminding us of the Word, in which we find the power to overcome every temptation. Is there danger? Sure, at every turn, someone will be saying, why not do it yourself? But with our family by our side, we are encouraged, even more so since there is peace, found in the forgiveness that is ours in the blood of Jesus. You see while member might abandon God and family, God does not abandon his family, but gathers the lost wandering sheep, and brings them safely back into the fold. We know this, for this is how the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples, and it is what the Bible promises also to us. For the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens sanctifies and keeps us in true faith unto life everlasting, for Jesus sake. And so the Church is built, and we learn to live together as family, in Jesus Christ.