Today's message is based on Luke 24: 36-48 (and also Acts3:12-19)
Have a blessed day

We have for our Gospel reading today, another resurrection appearance story.
Since Easter Sunday, we have heard three different gospel writers tell this story.
And now it’s time for us to hear what Luke has to say about it.

But the stories are pretty much the same in all four of the Gospels.
Jesus appears, in bodily form, and his disciples are both scared and happily amazed.
Jesus generally says “Peace be with you” to them to remind them to not be frightened.
Last week we heard him tell them to move past their shock and believe this event.
He said “blessed”, or happy, are those who have not seen but come to believe.

So this week he begins to move them even beyond that aspect of the resurrection.
In Luke’s passage we see a further shift where he helps them know what it means
Now; the power of his Spirit starts to “open their minds to understand the scriptures”.
That is to say, help them realize all that Jesus did was foretold by the prophets.
This, then, will help them see and understand exactly what his death and rising means.
That it assures the forgiveness of sins and resurrection for all who follow him.

BUT NOW,…..he also begins to move them to the next phase of what they are to do.
That after overcoming their fear,….and coming to believe,….and seeing what it means, that they should not think that the story and their task ends here.
It really has only just begun for them as he tells them in an all important line;…..
“You are witnesses of these things”.

You are witnesses” means more than just that they saw the resurrection of Jesus.
He means that that they now must share what they’ve seen and learned with others.
That, through their faith, they can be “witnesses” who are willing to testify to this truth.

And so, we hear from the Book of Acts, how the disciples begin to do exactly that.
As “witnesses” they take what the resurrection means beyond their own lives.
They bring it forth beyond their restricted own little worlds to the world around them.
They begin to share the story and what it means with others who will listen.

So, once again for us, the idea comes into play that we too are disciples of Jesus.
We too are told to have “peace” and “believe” it and understand what it all means.
But as disciples, then we too have the same command from Jesus given to us.
We too are called to be “witnesses of the resurrection and to share it with others.

Now, for one thing, most people we know probably already believe in this event.
But there are still people who don’t believe in it, or don’t strongly believe it.
And there are others who say they believe but still nonetheless live life in doubt.

One problem is most Lutheran and Mainline Protestants don’t do much witnessing.
(Its also not something that most Catholics do much of either.)
Evangelical Christians are much better in that they talk about their faith more freely.
But they often share with people in an; ‘either or’, ‘do or die’ confrontational approach.
They require certain actions which can turn off people who’d otherwise might listen.

But I’m here today to tell you how you can fulfill this obligation that Jesus asks of us.
There is a way in which we can share the good news without being preachy.
A way where we can open others to embrace the story, without threats of damnation.

As I said last week, the resurrection is not just about God rescuing us from death.
It’s about God acting in the world in a way that brings life from death, good from bad.
It’s the ultimate of what God has done all along and, in fact, still does in our lives.

Witnessing begins with our looking inward first to see what the story has meant to us.
If you reflect back on your life, there are cases or incidents from which you can draw.
Situations where God has helped fix what’s broken or rebuild what’s been destroyed.
Circumstances when it had to be God who acted to mend what seemed almost ruined.

There have been times when things were frustrating and then the answer broke for you.
When the clouds were darkest in your life and then the sun burst through.
When the worst and bleakest seemed to happen and then it all became good again.

When we reflect on these facts of God’s work,…it strengthens our own faith.
We can then be witnesses in a way that helps others gain more faith.
We can share with others a sense of hope and faith that the resurrection gives to us.
Not because we simply believe it to be so since that’s what we’re supposed to think.
But because it has been true for us at times in our lives when God has changed things.
Changed things for the better for us,…… if only we stop to think about it.

And that way, we can share the truth of what the resurrection means without sounding like a TV preacher or trying to impose our beliefs on others.
We can simply say to others, with conviction and all honesty, that things will work out.
That God will take care of it,…..restore and rebuild it,….make good out of bad.

We may not have seen the risen Christ like the disciples, but we’ve seen resurrections. 
Yes, that’s what God did that Easter morning, but that’s what God does all the time.
Ponder your own experience in receiving God’s good out of what was bad.
And then you too can be a witness who encourages others through your own faith.
Whether they are struggling with bills to pay or with an impending death.
You can assure them things will be all right because you yourself know it to be true.

Amen