Luke 24:36-53


“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you [Shalom].  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?  and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself:  handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took it, and did eat before them.  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:  but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven [cf. Acts 1:9].  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:  and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.  Amen.”


“Let’s pray, as we continue, we’re in the last chapter of Luke.  If the Lord tarries, next Wednesday we’ll have Communion, and be reading ahead, we’re going into the Book of Acts from here.  We just did John, and we did Revelation Sunday morning.  So we’re headed into the Book of Acts, find your maps you never look at in your Bible, and start getting familiar with your maps, because we’ll be going on some journeys with Paul and Luke, and you get a little bit familiar with the Mediterranean world.  So, let’s pray.  ‘Father, I know you’ve overheard.  We settle our hearts Lord, and pray for Gill and the family Lord, his Mom, difficult time.  For you Father you say that the death of your saints is precious in your sight, Lord, that Lord, you’ll be welcoming her home, Lord.  You’re watching, Lord, someone Lord, end their journey, and make their departure, Lord, and come into your presence.  But the family, Lord, on this end, that we lift this family to you from Calvary in Westchester, Father, pray that you give Chris S. wisdom as he has to do the funerals and minister to the family, Lord, your head, your strength, your grace, Father.  Lord, we’re thankful for every day that we have.  You say that Lord in your Word, and we agree, that you teach us to number our days, Lord.  We’re thankful for today, Lord, for the next breath that you give us, for our families, for our children. We’re thankful Lord that we can walk to the refrigerator when we’re hungry and turn on the faucet Lord, we’re thankful for eyes and ears Father, that we can see and that we can taste, Father, we’re thankful Lord for all of those things.  But Lord I am so thankful, we all are, that as a backdrop, Lord, to all of the uncertainty of this present life, Lord, there is the glory of your Kingdom and the power of your resurrection, and the certainty of forgiveness, eternal life, Lord, reunions Lord, around your throne.  What a day, Lord, that will be.  We pray this evening, as we continue Lord, and this record that you wrote to us through Luke, through this good doctor, Father, that you’d give us our portion.  And we thank you that we can gather, Lord, and sing your praises and study your Word, we love you, Lord we pray in your name, amen.’


The Resurrection Body of Christ


Jesus Materializes In Their Midst, Scares Them Out Of Their Wits


Luke chapter 24, Resurrection day, some of the women have seen the Lord, spoken to him, he’s appeared unto Simon Peter.  He’s appeared unto the two men, on their way to Emmaus, that have hurried now back to Jerusalem.  Verse 34, they’re saying, “The Lord is risen indeed,” as they found the disciples together, “and hath appeared to Simon.  And they told what things were done in the way [to Emmaus], and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.” (verses 34-35)  So, this day, news is spreading that the Lord is risen.  “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (verse 36)  Now, John tells us that the doors are locked for fear of the Jews.  The disciples are gathered together, they’ve locked the doors so no one can get in, they’re afraid that the religious leaders who forced Christ to the cross through the Roman authority will hunt them down also.  And Mark tells us that they’re still at the table, probably the triclinium, sitting around.  They’re afraid, the doors are locked, and they’re in there talking about, ‘Did you hear?  This is what the women said, he is risen, did you hear this?’  And the guys from Emmaus said, ‘We didn’t recognize him when he first came, and then all of a sudden he was there, and then when he broke the bread he disappeared and he was gone,’ and you can imagine what’s going on as they’re telling these stories.  You see, they hadn’t read the chapter, never read the Book of Acts, they don’t know where we’re headed with all of this.  You know, it’s almost, it doesn’t take much to get people stirred up when you start telling these things, ‘Did you hear a noise?  Did you hear a noise?’ or, it’s like when you’re sitting around the campfire, ‘Did you ever hear the story about the guy and a girl sitting in a car and they hear scratching, and they get scared, and they drive away and they find a hook hanging on the side of the car when they get home…’  I mean, it doesn’t take much for us as human beings to create that kind of a mood.  And it’s going to tell us that when he appears, they’re scared to death because they think it’s a ghost.  You see, they’re not sitting there saying, ‘This is the chapter I love in Luke, he’s going to be here any minute, this is the best part, wait till you see this, it’s gonna blow your mind.’  It’s been a very strange weekend for them.  They fled.  John was at the crucifixion, the women were there.  But they [the rest of them] ran.  Peter had run out, weeping, denying Christ, and now the Lord’s come to him, they’re hearing a report from Peter, they’re hearing a report from the women.  But they haven’t experienced this risen Christ.  The doors are locked.  They’re talking, it says, ‘of all of these things,’  “And as they spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” (verses 36-37), that’s a bad combination, terrified and affrighted.  “and supposed they had seen a spirit”, King James, “a ghost.”  They thought it was a ghost.  “And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?  and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?” (verse 38)  So, here the guys are gathered together, they’re talking about the resurrection, and then it says “Jesus himself stood in the midst of them,” and it’s in the tense that means “he just stepped in.”  We have this concept “he just walked through the wall”, you know.  The thing you have to realize, at this point in time he’s got this glorified body, not only is he not bound by walls, he doesn’t have to walk either.  He didn’t have to come from outside the building and walk through the wall to get inside the building.  [All you Star Trekkies, you know what he’s talking about, like Kirk or Scotty beaming right into a certain location, materializing there.]  The way he is moving around is beyond our conception [stepping inside and then outside Time & Space], no doubt, I believe, at the speed of thought, not just at the speed of light, much faster.  And he just stands in the midst of them, he doesn’t just walk through the wall and get there and then appear, that’s not what it says.  We have that concept sometimes, and I think because it’ll be fun to zoom through walls someday, I just think that way.  But it’s vastly, much more beyond that which is taking place.  Paul, when he’s in the prison in the Book of Acts, it will say ‘The Lord stood that night in my cell.’  The Lord just comes there and talks to Paul, ‘Paul, you’ve given a good witness, you’re gonna go to Rome also.’  In fact, Paul will say in the end of 2nd Timothy, at the end of his life he said, when he gave his testimony before Nero, he says ‘No man stood with me, but the Lord Jesus Christ stood with me.’  So, this is an interesting, interesting time, this is the beginning as it were of the Good News, Christ is risen, he is in the process of demonstrating that resurrection to them.  So, Jesus stands in their midst, “Peace be unto you.”  Now he probably just said ‘Shalom,’ [Hebrew for] ‘Peace.’  These guys are terrified.  Now you can imagine that, they’re talking about the resurrection, and all of a sudden they look up and there’s Jesus standing right in their midst, and they’re terrified.  You can imagine them throwing their drinks, ‘Aaaah!’, throwing their drinks in the air, and Jesus says ‘Shalom, peace be unto you’, and they’re going ‘Aaaaaah!’  You know, these are the apostles, these are the men that are going to change the world, Jesus can’t wait to stand with them again, these are the men that he loved, these are the men that he walked with, these are the men that he spent so much time with, these are the men he helped up the side of the hill and pulled them by the hand, these are the men that he laughed with and gave nicknames to.  And he’s risen now, and he comes to be with them, and they think he’s a ghost.  You can imagine them all screaming, trying to unlock the door and get out, because they can’t run through walls.  “Peace be unto you.  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.”  (verse 37)  You know.  What would you think?  You never read the chapter, you didn’t know the story, where we’re going here.  “And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?  and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?” (verse 38)  That’s what would have happened to me, thoughts would arise in my heart.  “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself:  handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.” (verses 39-40)  So he steps into the middle of the room, they’re terrified, they think it’s a ghost.  The first thing he wants to do is remove all doubt in regards to that.  They think it’s a ghost, a spirit.  What do they think, do they think it’s an evil spirit?  Do they think that he’s just a disembodied spirit, visiting from “the other side”?  Do they think it’s like a séance?  What do they think?  And they’re terrified, and Jesus says ‘No, why are you troubled, why are these kinds of thoughts arising in your hearts?’ He says, ‘Look, it’s me.’  He said, ‘Look at my hands and my feet.’ 


The Resurrection Body, What’s It Like?


And then remarkably, he says to them, ‘Handle me.’  He’s going to leave no doubt, ‘Handle me, and see for yourselves.’  Because a spirit, a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bone.  And he makes this remarkable demonstration.  Now this is the center of what we believe.  You know, there are theologians across the world that say it was a spiritual resurrection, it wasn’t a real resurrection, it’s in a spiritual sense.  Oh no, it wasn’t, that tomb was empty, and he was risen, and he had to tell Mary Magdalene ‘Done cling to me’, she tackled him, you know, got him in a Full-Nelson and wouldn’t let go of him.  And he said to her, ‘No, we just can’t stay like this, you can’t hang on, there’s things to do, let go of me.  Go tell the rest that I’m risen.’  Now he comes and he shows his resurrection body to the disciples and says ‘Feel me, look at the nail marks.’  Now, notice, too, we talk about scars quite often, sometimes in our songs.  But a scar is a wound that’s healed over.  There are no scars, they’re gaping wounds.  And it seems he has those for eternity.  I mean, it seems, in the Book of Revelation chapter 5, that the first vision we have of the risen Lord, is as a Lamb with the marks of slaughter literally upon him.  As John hears ‘Weep not, behold the Lion of Judah is found worthy to open the Scrolls, to loose the seals thereof.  And I turned, and behold, in the midst, a Lamb as it had been slain’, literally with the marks of slaughter.  I wonder.  Does he have to look like that?  We don’t know, this is the resurrection body.  When he was with the two guys on the Road to Emmaus it says “he appeared to them in a different form.”  So he’s able to look like somebody different if he wants to.  [cf. Genesis 18, where Yahweh, the pre-Incarnate Christ, appeared to Abraham with two other “men”, who were actually holy angels, taking on the form of men.  And Yahweh, in human physical form, sat down and ate a meal with Abraham and talked with him about the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.]  What will that mean?  It says our own resurrection bodies, ‘Our bodies shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body.’  [Comment:  Now at the 2nd coming, his glorious body will shine brighter than the sun, and it says in Daniel 12:1-3 that our glorious resurrection bodies will shine like the stars in their intensity.  There’s a lot we just don’t know about what we’ll be like.  We’ll also possess the ability to exist outside of Space & Time, just as God does.]  What does that mean?  Does that mean you’ll be able to look like somebody else if you want to?  You’d like to be able to do that now, wouldn’t you.  You get in trouble, you just look like somebody else, and they get in trouble instead of you.  Instead, of doing everything we do with makeup and false teeth and glass eyes, and all the helps we have these days, you just look like somebody you want to look like.  At this point he appears to them with the marks of his slaughter upon him, to convince them.  ‘I’m not a ghost, it’s me.  Guys, feel me, touch me, behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself… “handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet” (verses 39-40), the marks of slaughter.  Now, by the way, I’ve heard someone say that the only manmade thing in heaven will be the holes in his hands and his feet.  “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?” (verse 41)  Now aren’t they like us.  Before they couldn’t believe because they were afraid.  Now they can’t believe because it’s too good to be true.  They’re just like us, we can’t believe for one reason or another.  So they’re terrified, they couldn’t believe it was the risen Lord, now they say they can’t believe for joy.  Now they’re saying ‘It’s too good to be true….is it really true?  Touch him first.  I’m not gonna touch him first, you touch him first!’  Imagine how strange that must be, he’s saying ‘Feel me, does a spirit have flesh and bones?’  I remember when I was working at the Navy Yard years ago, somebody was working on a fan above me, their hand slipped and went into the fan with a wrench and their fingers fell on the table right in front of me, three of them, almost the whole fingers.  And they were kind of going like this on the table.  And me and another guy were there, and they got the guy off the ladder, and they called right away for the medics, and somebody yelled “Grab them!”  And I looked at him and said “Grab them!” [loud laughter]  He didn’t want to grab them, I didn’t want to grab them, they were still wiggling.  [laughter]  He’s saying he’s risen from the dead, he’s saying ‘a spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones, handle me.’  Who was the first one, I wonder?  Thomas wasn’t there.  Judas is gone, it’s one of the other guys.  He shows them his hands and his feet.  And then they can’t believe because it’s too good to be true, they can’t believe for joy.  You know, God’s grace, you know as Christians sometimes we say ‘I’m not as thankful as I should be.’  You are not.  Neither am I.  Because if he revealed all of himself to us, if we were as thankful as we should be, it would probably kill us.  Because I don’t think in mortal form, we are capable of embracing the grace and the glory of God, all of it.  Here now as he’s demonstrating his resurrection body, now they can’t believe it’s true, because it’s too good to be true, for joy and for wonder, it says, they can’t believe.  Then he says to them, ‘Do you have anything to eat?’  Which was more convincing for them.  “And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honey-comb.”  And this is heaven, man, broiled fish and honey.  “And he took it, and did eat before them.” (verses 42-43)  Now by the way, he’s doing that for them and for us, not for him.  He isn’t saying ‘You know, I’ve been zooming all around today, back and forth, to Emmaus, back here, finding Peter, I am starving, you guys got anything to eat?’  He’s manifesting and demonstrating “the new model, the resurrection body.”  How important is that for those of you who are parents, who have lost children?  How important is that for those of you that have lost husbands or wives, and parents?  How central in what we believe is the resurrection of the dead?  And what will it be like?  Paul when he makes his argument in 1st Corinthians chapter 15 he says ‘And what form does it come?’  Because he says there, there was at one time, over five hundred people at a single incident, that witnessed the resurrected Christ.  ‘The greater part’ Paul says, ‘of whom are still alive unto this day’, to the time he’s writing 1st Corinthians.  He says ‘he appeared to the women, he appeared unto James’ brother, he appeared unto Peter, he appeared unto the apostles, last of all he appeared unto me’  Paul says, ‘as one untimely born.’  And he says ‘there was one point when he appeared to over five hundred people, disciples, at one time.’  And again, our whole jurisprudence system in the United States is based on two or three eye-witnesses, two or three witnesses can send somebody to the gas chamber, the electric chair, two or three eye-witnesses.  And Paul is saying as he writes to the Corinthian church, years after this, he said there’s still hundreds and hundreds of people that were eye-witnesses, that experienced the resurrection of Christ.  Jesus says here ‘handle me, feel me’, and in John’s first Epistle he says ‘That which we have seen, that which we have handled, same word, ‘of the Word of life.’  And John says ‘and that which was from the beginning, that Eternal Word that manifested, we saw him, we gazed upon him, we listened to his words, and more than that, we actually took hold, we handled that Eternal Word.’  And he said ‘That’s what we want to communicate with you now, so that your fellowship may be with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father through Jesus Christ.’  You know, the center of what we believe is in this Resurrection.  If it weren’t for the resurrection of Christ, then Jesus is just a martyr for a cause, dead, gone.  If Jesus isn’t risen, then we are like a Buddhist.  Buddha is laying in a temple somewhere.  We’re like a Muslim, Mohammed’s in a tomb.  We’re like those who believe in Zoroaster or Confucius, if Jesus isn’t risen.  But Paul says ‘Now Christ is risen, indeed.’ 


The Resurrection Body, Vastly Different, Yet The Same


What form, how does it come?  Well we do know this, they were able to embrace him.  He said to the women, to Mary Magdalene, ‘Let go of me, don’t cling to me.’  He says to the men here, ‘Handle me, feel me, a spirit hath not flesh and bones.’  So he doesn’t say anything about blood, but we know there’s flesh and bone.  We know that when we are caught up and meet those who have gone before us, in the Rapture of the Church [for some this same Rapture equates to the 1st Resurrection to Immortality, which Paul talks about in 1st Corinthians 15.], we’re in the Lord’s presence, and you see a loved one that you’ve been longing to see, and you run to embrace him, you’re not gonna go ‘Ohhhh,’ and run right through them, like some ethereal realm, this will be there [he’s hitting himself, thumping sound].  It will be the greater reality.  This then will  seem like a dream, when we look back on this world.  [We really don’t know for sure, but I think that spirit, which God is composed of, and the angels are composed of, is more solid than physical matter.  Having studied physics, and all these passages about the resurrected body, and God, it appears physical matter is more like a holographic image, like a vapor or cloud that God and the angels can pass through, phase through, like it wasn’t there.  They’re more real, more solid than we are.  Who knows, best we can do is round up all the related Scriptures, compare them to the physics we do understand, and take our best guess.  That’s all we can do, and that’s all the best theologians can do as well.   We’ll know when we get there.]  And those that you love, and those that you miss that have gone on before you.  And I can think of so many, I can think of so many who I care about greatly, whose funerals I’ve done, let alone family members, from here at church.  [When you’re a pastor over a church with 30,000 members in it, he can really say this and mean it.]  Just to see them again, and to put my arms around them and say ‘Wow!’  And I know they’re going to say to me ‘Ain’t this a mind-blower?  Man, this is a mind-blower, look at that rainbow, look at that throne [cf. Revelation 4:1-6], look at the Lord, look at the cherubim, look at those angels, everybody can sing here, nobody’s out of tune, what a place!!!’  The resurrection body, vastly different, the same, but vastly different.  [see:]  Flesh and bone [I would say created out of spirit, which to me is more solid than physical matter which exists inside of Space & Time], no blood, like the Passover lambs, the sacrifice in the Temple, they had to be bled out.  Jesus was bled out.  It’s very interesting, because he says in 1st Corinthians 15 “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, evidently, flesh and bone can.  [Now this is a Calvary Chapel theory, where they’re attempting to “flesh out” a doctrinal understanding of the spirit-body we will all have.  Again, we’ll know when we get there, not before.  No sense getting too dogmatic on the subject, but healthy speculation isn’t wrong, but tantalizing, as long as we label it speculation and not Bible doctrine.]  Different drive system, no longer a carbon burning machine, picking up nutrients and oxygen, something different now, driving the body of Jesus, glorified body.  And again, I wonder, as we look in Genesis chapter 2, as Adam says, before the fall of Eve, “This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh”, I wonder if they were in a different form, clothed with light, which Revelation 19 says is the righteousness of the saints.  No doubt they were in a different form, they had access to the presence of God before the fall, they could step right into his presence.  [It was more like he stepped into their presence.]  They were created in his image and likeness, so they were clothed with righteousness. [another Calvary Chapel doctrinal speculation.]  When they sinned, the light went out, they knew they were naked.  Before that there was no sense of nakedness.  We know that Moses, when he goes up on the mountain, to receive the Law, is there forty days and forty nights, it says he neither ate nor drank.  He comes down, breaks the tables, the whole scene there with the golden calf.  He goes back up for a second forty days and forty nights, 80 days without food or water.  His physical frame is sustained by the very presence of God.  Not the same drive system.  You can’t live for 80 days without food and water.  But evidently this frame was originally designed to be sustained by the presence of God.  In fact, when he comes down a second time, his battery is so charged up that his face is glowing.  [see Exodus 34:33-35]  Everybody’s looking at him, the children of Israel never saw a neon bulb, they never saw a lightbulb, all they saw was a fire.  Here Moses comes down looking like a neon bulb, he’s all lit up, and the whole camp’s scared to death, they’re looking at him.  He had to cover his face.  Sustained by the presence of God.  Very interesting, the resurrection body.  You know, just imagine, trillions of cells in the human body, in an adult human body.  They say that if you would take the nucleus out of every cell in your entire body, that you could fit all that grey matter within an ice cube.  It would be about that much matter, every nucleus, all the information out of every cell.  But they say if you lined up the DNA end to end, it would go from the earth to the sun and back again 300 times.  That’s, imagine what that will be when it is finally driven by the system that it’s supposed to be driven by.  [Now here’s what we don’t know, and where all this speculation gets hairy.  We won’t be within space and time, and matter can’t be outside Space & Time.  So we’ll probably be composed of spirit, not just a spirit-drive system.  But we’ll probably have everything Pastor Joe is talking about, but formed, for lack of a better term, out of spirit-matter, with our bodies, down to the very DNA, now composed out of spirit, the same spirit material angels and Jesus Christ and God the Father are composed of.  That’s my best guess.  And that’s the best we can do here is guess.  We’ll know when Jesus returns, and we rise in that major resurrection to meet him in the air at his 2nd coming.]  Amazing, resurrection.  No aging.  No sickness.  No sorrow.  No wearing out.  Will your children be there?  What if we get raptured and my child is a year old, will he be thirty when we get there, will he be?…I don’t know.  Going to be all right with me, whatever it is.  I know he [his child] won’t be one forever.  I don’t know that.  I know this, Jesus ate, and he didn’t have to eat.  Moses didn’t eat for forty days and forty nights, but evidently in heaven [in the Kingdom of heaven which will eventually end up on earth (cf. Revelation 21:1-23), we as resurrected, immortal beings] and isn’t this heaven, you can eat if you want to, but you don’t have to.  If you want to eat for forty days, you can eat for forty days and forty nights, and evidently not gain weight.  That is heaven, isn’t it?  [I had that condition as a teenager, up till about 35, a high metabolic rate, couldn’t gain an ounce, could drain a refrigerator.]  This is the program, diet program that we’re all looking for, this one here.  It’s a diet from earthly pain and sorrow, and tears, and sin, and sickness, and bigotry and all that plagues this present world.  Jesus, demonstrating to his disciples the resurrection body, in its different facets, leaving no doubt.  Because fifty, sixty years down the road, Gnosticism will come on the scene and say Jesus was a phantom, that he wasn’t real.  [see]  These guys knew he was real, ‘We thought he was a phantom, we were chewing our fingernails off, we were scared to death, and he said ‘Feel me, touch me, flesh and bone.’  ‘By the way, you guys got anything to eat here?’  We sat down with him, he ate fish, he ate honey, then he disappeared.’  I like this system.  I like it, I’m ready.  “And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honey-comb.  And he took it, and did eat before them.  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”  (verses 42-44)  ‘These are the things that were written, that it was necessary for them to be fulfilled.’  Now by the way, I believe that same kind of gentle reproof will be realized by us, as we stand around his throne.  All of the things written, that he’ll never leave us or forsake us, that he will strengthen us, that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world, that he gives us peace that surpasses understanding, that he is a very present help in time of trouble, the Lord descending himself with a shout and the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God.  It must needs be that all of those things in regards to us be fulfilled also.  And how remarkable. 


Jesus Opens Their Minds To Understand Scripture, As He Does Ours


“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.” (verses 45-48)  Now look what it says.  He opens their understanding.  Now by the way, I pray that if you’re here tonight and you don’t know Christ, you know, the Bible says he’s the same yesterday, today and forever.  He says to us as believers, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you”, that he’s with us to the end of the age.  And how many times as believers, you know, Peter says we should grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  How many times as the years go by do we feel that he’s still, in a remarkable way, opening our understanding?  He opens things to us that we never saw before.  He opens his Word in passages that we thought we were familiar with, they blossom, he opens up some new thing to us.  And if you’re here this evening and you don’t know Christ, take note of that, because the Bible says it’s a work that [where] he comes alongside of us, by his Spirit, and he begins to, like peeling the layers off an onion, he begins to open things up so that we understand.  Again, I remember, you know, coming to Christ.  The night I came to Christ, all of a sudden it was just like the light went on.  People say, you know, ‘I saw the light’ and that kind of thing.  Well it’s not with the physical eye, but it’s with the heart, all of a sudden.  He could have said, ‘I opened their minds, I opened their hearts, I opened their understanding…’, the idea is, he began to enliven their ability to perceive spiritually.  And the emphasis is on his work.  And he can do that in your life this evening, he can begin to make this all real. What this is all about is not singing hymns and offering envelopes, you know, Jesus didn’t come to leave denominations.  And I praise God for them, I have nothing against them.  [Comment:  Most of the older denominations, like the Methodists, Congregationalists, etc., are spent Revivals, which started out just like the Calvary Chapel revival did in the early 1970s, yet they started out in the 1600s and 1800s.  Denominations go through a spiritual life/death cycle, just like all humans go through, they start out young and vibrant, full of life and energy.  Then they grow older, and then finally die out spiritually.  See]  Because it keeps Satan so confused he’s never been able to stop the Church.  If we can’t figure out what we’re doing there’s no way he can figure it out.  Here we are 2,000 years later, it’s interesting, Lightfoot writes about at the end of the first century, right from the mouths of the apostles, there were presbyterian, episcopal and congregational forms of church government, 1900 years ago.  [To read about the early Church, see:]  Here we are, we’re still here.  Who could have ever dreamed or followed this program?  The Church, we’re still here, 2,000 years later.  But what it’s all about is that he died to give us life.  He died to forgive our sins, and to allow us to see beyond this present world, to a better place, an inheritance, the Bible says, that’s incorruptible, doesn’t fade away, it’s preserved, it’s kept for us in heaven.  And I pray this evening as you’re here, if you don’t know him, think about that.  And you’re right, if you say ‘Hey, I’m tired of playing church, I’m tired of this, I’m tired of that.’  Well we understand.  But that’s much different than encountering the risen Christ. 


We’re To Be His Witnesses---To Preach Repentance & Remission of Sins, the Gospel


This is what he says, “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day:  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:  but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”  (verses 46-49)  Take note of this, the Lord says ‘You’re to be witnesses, of these things.’  Of what things?  It’s obviously his life, his death, and his resurrection.  He says ‘As witnesses, that we should preach or proclaim repentance and the remission of sins among all nations.’  That that’s to be the message that is given to the nations of the world. [Comment:  This is called by some “the Gospel of Salvation.”  See for a full explanation about the Gospel Jesus gave us to preach to the world.]  Repentance, which means metanoeo, to change the mind, or to change your direction.  It means that for a portion of your life, until you come to a realization of what the message of Christ is, that you’re headed away from God.  You think that God doesn’t really care about your life, or that God doesn’t exist, of if God’s a God of love, how can he let people go to hell [or let hellish things happen to people on earth, that’s another thing people question God’s love about], or ‘If there’s a God like that I don’t want to know him anyway’, and we make all of our excuses, and our life is heading away from God.  And somewhere along the line, we hear that this God really does love us, and Jesus opens our understanding, and we really hear that he loves us so much that he gave his Son, and watched his Son die and suffer in our place so that we could be forgiven and we wouldn’t have to pay the penalty that he paid.  And somehow in that process we make a u-turn, and our life begins to come towards God instead of away from God.  That’s repentance, a change of mind, metanoeo, that’s what he calls for us to do, to repent, to turn, to change.  And if you’re calling yourself a Christian here tonight, and you’re living in sin, there hasn’t been change in your life, the Bible says let a man or woman examine himself to see whether they’re really in the faith (cf. 2nd Corinthians 13:5).  Because if your “saved”, and the living Christ has taken up residence in your heart [cf. John 14 & 16], there should be change, there should be change.  That’s the first thing, repentance.  Secondly, remission of sins, which means to dismiss, it means to send away, I like that.  I got saved when I was 22 years old.  I had a mountain of sin by then.  If one lustful thought is enough to take you away, I was very successful as a sinner.  But when I was saved, the Bible says that he dismissed my sins.  He sent them away.  [Comment: Now, don’t assume, because we’re now under the sacrificial blood of Christ, and our past sins are forgiven, that we can continue in a sinful lifestyle.  Paul says in Galatians 5:19-21 that those who continue to practice that lifestyle will not inherit the Kingdom of God, it’s that simple.  Law & Grace is a big subject.  For more on this, see to learn more about the overcoming process, and what it involves.  The power to overcome, though, is given to us by God through the Holy Spirit.]  The Bible says ‘he separates us from our sins as far as the east is from the west’, that’s remarkable.  He doesn’t say as far as the north is from the south, because that’s only a little over 8,000 miles.  You head north, you start to head south again, you head south, you start to head north again.  That means he’d only send my sins 8,000 miles away, and that’s not far enough for me.  But you can go west and west and west and west and west, and you never head east.  And you can go east and east and east and east and east and east and east and never head west.  And he sends our sins away as far as the east is from the west.  And I’m thankful, that means they’re still going, wherever they are, like the energizer bunny, going and going and going and going.  They’re gone.  I like that.  Repentance and remission of sins.  Very important for you to understand this.  He says that he’s going to give them power, the power of the Holy Spirit, to be witnesses of these things.  Now take note of that, because the Holy Spirit gets a lot of bad Press.  The Holy Spirit gets blamed for every weird thing that happens in the Church.  It doesn’t say the message is to be ‘Blab It & Grab It’, it doesn’t say the message is ‘Faith Confessions’, it doesn’t say the message is ‘Everybody should be healed, or everybody should prosper.’  It says the message is ‘Repentance and remission of sins.’  Very important, because that message, repentance and remission of sins, can be preached to any human being on the planet, whether they’re rich, whether they’re poor, whether they’re sick, whether they’re healthy, whatever nationality they are, wherever they are.  It’s not an American disease.  But to communicate it successfully, he says here, ‘You’re going to be witnesses, marturus,’ where we get the word martyr, that’s what he wants from us as witnesses, ‘of these things,’


Luke Brings A Conclusion To His Record, His Gospel


and consider this, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you.  Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (verse 49)  Of course, in Acts chapter 1, Jesus will say this, ‘Wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard of me.  John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’  And again, ‘You shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.  And you shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth.’  Again, in Acts chapter 2, Peter, when he preaches the Gospel, it says their hearts are pricked, this message of repentance and remission of sins, and they say ‘What shall we do to be saved?’  Peter says unto them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise’ there it is again, ‘is unto you, and unto your children, to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.’  So, the Scripture clearly says here, as Luke you know brings a conclusion to his record, that here is Christ, first confirming his resurrection, there’s a confirmation, and then there’s a commission given.  He confirms his resurrection, that’s why he demonstrates this resurrection body to them.  He shows it to them, makes them feel it, makes them sit down with it, and eat with it, they experience it.  And then it says that he spends 40 days with them, teaching them the things in regards to the Kingdom of God, showing himself alive, the Book of Acts says, with many infallible proofs.  That’s the demonstration of the resurrection.  It was central to their message.  So he confirms…now again, imagine if the stories we hear, The Passover Plot and all of these things were true, ‘the disciples came, they snuck in, Jesus wasn’t really dead, he was in a swoon, and they rescued him, and he moved to Club Med, and that’s where he died with fourteen wives and lots of kids.’  You hear all these ridiculous stories.  ‘Or they came and hid the body, they buried it, so they could propagate a fabrication and start a new cult of resurrection.  And they all got together and said ‘Let’s be blood brothers,’ and they cut their wrists and put their wrists on each other and said ‘Promise not to tell, promise not to tell, promise not to tell.’  Doesn’t matter, if a lion chews on you, don’t tell. If they take you to the arena in Rome, they set you on fire, don’t tell.  Promise, we’re blood brothers, don’t tell anybody.  We’ll pretend he’s risen.’  Hey, come on.  As soon as that lion opened his mouth I’d ‘I’ll tell ya, I’ll tell ya, I know where we hid him!  We stole him, we hid him, I’ll show you!’  Wouldn’t take much, ‘Grrrrr…I’ll tell the whole story.’  Matthew went to Iran, was skinned alive, flayed alive, they cut his skin off while he was alive.  He preached Christ.  Thomas was impaled in India.  Peter, crucified upside down.  They went to crucify him, and he said ‘I’m not worthy to be crucified like my Lord’, so they turned him upside down and crucified him upside down.  Paul, beheaded in Rome.  I mean, you read through the record of these men, where they went and how they died, because, like John said, ‘That which we have seen, that which we have gazed upon, that which we have listened to, that which we have handled of the Eternal Word, that’s what we want to communicate to you.’


The Promise of the Father---The Holy Spirit


They went everywhere to share this message, and not even in their own strength.  It says “endued with power from on high.”  Very interesting too, look there in verse 49, Jesus says, “behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:”, which is the Holy Spirit, here’s the word “upon”, this is not the “in” experience, it’s “upon”, “but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”  It’s the middle voice, it says “until you become clothed with power from on high.”  “tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye become clothed with power from on high.”  It doesn’t say ‘tarry there until you get the power, tarry there and fast and pray, and confess it, and sweat…’  No, no, no, no.  They were not active in the process.  It was God who clothed them.  Middle voice, ‘stay there until you become clothed with power.  It was the Lord.  And it wasn’t because they tarried.  You hear about tarrying’s today.  And I’m not against them, I understand the idea of a tarrying meeting, and the church gets together, and we’re going to stay on our knees until God blesses…I understand all of that.  That is not required for you to be filled with God’s Spirit.  First of all, the second you’re saved, you’re baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ.  And you don’t even ask for that, you didn’t even know about it, you find out about that after you start reading the Bible.  [And lo and behold, you can understand what you’re reading when you read the Bible!]  I remember the day I got saved, I had no idea, I knew I was saved, that’s all I knew.  I couldn’t believe it, I drove everybody out of their minds.  I was zeal without knowledge.  That was my name.  And we need people like that.  That’s a great thing about new Christians, they bring lots of life to the Church [Body of Christ].  And I was indwelt eternally, by God’s Holy Spirit, Christ moved in.  But there’s an experience of “being empowered.”  In the Old Testament, many of the saints, you look at their lives, the prophets, the miracles that took place, anointed with power, not the same as being indwelt, not the same as looking to heaven and saying ‘Father,’ not the Spirit of Adoption, not the Body of Christ, but the anointing of God with power.  And in the New Testament, the same thing, an experience of being empowered.  If you want to do yourself a favor, get the book “The Found the Secret” and read through it.  [See: for a sample of this book.]eHe   Testimonies of Tozier, and Moody, and Oswald Chambers, and Sanders, there’s about 21 people in there.  And they tell as a Christian, years into their ministry, successful ministries, that there were times where there were fillings, and a deeper experience with the Holy Spirit, and a greater empowering and a brokenness.  And how their ministries then were enlivened to a greater degree.  You know, I think it’s so important for us today, so important for the Church [Body of Christ], we’ve camped in two different camps, because on one side there’s been Charizmania, there’s people acting like [laughter]…[tape switchover, some text lost]…and things done out of order.  Then the other camp camps way over there.  And this camp [of Charismania] is saying, ‘Because they don’t speak in tongues, they’re not really saved, they don’t have the Holy Spirit.’   And these guys over here are saying ‘Well those guys must be demon possessed, because I know I’m saved…’  And there’s abuse on both sides.  There’s an abuse on one side of doing things out of order.  And God is a God of order, and things are to be done decently and in order.  And he’s given us power, it says here, to be witnesses.  Not to go witnessing, it’s something you are, not something you do.  Chuck Smith always told us that the power, the steam is in the train, in the engine, to move the train, not just to blow the whistle.  And there are abuses, I agree.  And I grew up through them.  I grew up in a church were there were abuses.  But the error on the other side is to be closed to life [i.e. dead orthodoxy, so right you’re dead right].  Jesus said, “How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.”  That’s something different.  And don’t say, ‘Well that was a different dispensation’, for well it would be in Matthew then, and Jesus would have said it will only last until the Book of Acts.  It’s written in Luke’s Gospel after the Book of Acts had begun, chronologically, by the Gentile writer, “How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.”  We look in the Book of Acts, we see in the 4th chapter they’re praying after they had been threatened, and the whole building was shaken, and it says they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  They had already been filled, they spoke in tongues when they were filled in chapter 2, chapter 4 they’re filled again, refilled.  That’s what we need,  refills.  In fact, Ephesians, chapter 5 says “Be ye being filled”, chapter 5, “not to be drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be ye being filled with the Spirit.”  So that a Spirit-filled Christian is not a title, it’s a condition.  And we should seek God continually for his filling.  Again, Moody was once asked, “If you’re a Spirit-filled Christian, why are you always asking to be filled again?”  He simply said, “I leak.”  And so do I.  But I am desiring, in my own life, a greater measure of God’s Holy Spirit, a greater reality of his presence, a greater love that would be demonstrated by life, and less selfishness, a greater hunger for his Word, and a deeper insight into those things that are written there for us.  I look at this city and the nation that we live in, and we don’t need another “Program”, another psychiatrist couch, we don’t need to throw money at one more thing.  We need something from heaven.  I need something from heaven.  We need a great move of God’s Holy Spirit.  And the promise, it says, is to you and your children, and to as many as are afar off”, in Philadelphia, on Philmont Avenue, in the old meter factory, the promise is to them. 


Luke Skips Ahead 40 Days To Jesus Christ’s Ascension to Heaven


“And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:  and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.  Amen.” (verses 50-53)  So the last memory they have of him, is that of blessing them.  Now by the way, it seems that in this scene, he does this on purpose.  For these 40 days and 40 nights, he would appear, Boom! in the middle of the room, Boom! he would disappear.  He’s demonstrating the resurrection body.  He’s putting an impression on their minds that though you don’t see me I’m there.  A week after this resurrection day encounter he’ll appear to Thomas and say, ‘OK, you don’t believe unless you see my hands and my feet?  Here they are.’  You see, he was ease-dropping, he was wire-tapping.  He was there, but they didn’t see him.  And he’s impressing on their minds for these 40 days and 40 nights that he’s there, whether they see him or they don’t see him, he’s appearing and disappearing.  But this time, purposely, instead of just disappearing, he doesn’t say, ‘OK, I’m going to the Father’s throne now, Snap!  No, he raises his hand and begins to bless them, and in their sight he’s carried up to heaven.  There’s a finality about this, to be impressed upon their hearts, as they watch him ascend, and be engulfed in a cloud.  And remarkably it says, “They worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:  and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.  Amen.”  In the beginning of Luke’s Gospel he starts in the Temple, with Elizabeth and Zacharias in unbelief.  He ends his Gospel with the disciples in the Temple filled with joy and belief, praising God.  Imagine how those Temple precincts looked as they came back there, and the Lord said “tarry here”, ‘don’t go out and start this great work of evangelizing the world until the day comes when you’re endued with power.’  Now, that is ours today.  Galatians says this, ‘O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been openly set forth crucified.  This only would I learn of you, received you the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are you so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh.  Have you suffered so many things in vain, if it is in vain?  He therefore that ministered to you the Spirit and worketh miracles among you, does he do it by works of the law or by the hearing of faith.’  [For a good commentary on Galatians, see:]  He challenges them.  Sometimes you know, I think as we go on in our Christian experience we think, ‘You know, I’ve blown it, you know I got mad in traffic yesterday, I did this, or I did that.’  Personally, I see my failings as soon as I get up out of bed, as soon as the day starts.  But I live in the light of his fellowship, and his grace, and his love, and his completed work on Calvary.  Not using that as a license to the flesh, but the great liberty that I walk in knowing his grace, and the filling of the Spirit as I seek him for that, and seek him for greater measures.  I simply seek him for it, I don’t earn it.  I don’t say I’m going to huff and puff and blow this house down.  There’s none of that involved.  It’s almost like David says, ‘Who knows whether the LORD may be gracious?’  And I just seek him daily.  Interesting, Moody sought the Lord for a year for a greater filling, and hadn’t seen it, and went from Chicago to New York, on his way to England to watch Spurgeon and George Mueller, was walking down the street in New York City without expecting it, and God just began to pour his Spirit all over him.  And he said he had to go back to his hotel room, and he said he almost had to tell the Lord to stop, he said his heart was going to burst, as the love of God just washed over him, and washed over him.  And I long for that.  And it’s by faith, it’s not by earning it, or deserving.  So I encourage you as believers, as we sing this last song, have the musicians come, not to be afraid to look to heaven and say ‘Lord, fill me, wash over me afresh, Lord, revive me O Lord, renew me.’…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 24:36-53 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]


related links:


Our Destiny, Our Resurrection to Immortality.  See:


Gnosticism and Arianism seek to hide the real Jesus.  See: and,


Church denominations have a life/death cycle.  See:


The Early Church, What was it like?  See:


What is the Gospel Jesus commissioned the Church to preach to the world?  See:


As new-believers, what are we supposed to do?  Studies on Law & Grace.  See:,


What is the Holy Spirit?  See:,