Sunday’s sermon from Luke 24 and Hebrews 3 and 4 was fantastic. Pastor reminded us that even the breathtaking experiences of the apostles were no match for the written word of the prophets.
I will never forget driving up north with my National Guard unit for training at Camp Grayling, MI and seeing a huge billboard for a new casino that read:
Seeing is believing!
But what does the Bible say?
John 20:29 – “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Now, look closely at Luke 24: 36-49:
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look 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.”
40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Did you notice what Jesus did after he gave them a breathtaking visual and tactile experience? He didn’t leave them with visual and physical evidence. He appealed instead to the written word, “the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Why would he do that? Were not the holes in his hands and feet not evidence enough? Wouldn’t the fact that he sat and ate with them settle his case? Nope. You see, seeing is not believing. Reading is. Hearing God’s promises, found in God’s written word is believing. It’s the same thought that Peter conveys in 2 Peter 1:16-19. Check it out:
16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[a] 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
You see, Peter saw Jesus’ glory at the transfiguration. But he didn’t rely on that breathtaking personal experience. He didn’t put all his stock in his senses. Instead, he referred his readers to the word of the prophets.
Some possible takeaways from the message –
- What am I relying on? My own experiences or the all-sufficient word of the living and loving God?
- I say I believe God’s word, but how much am I actually reading it?
- Devotions are good, but sometimes all too insufficient. Regular reading of entire books, or at least large sections of books of the bible, is important.
- What do I speak about most often? Weather? Sports? Politics? Or do I speak of and about God’s truth in his precious book, the Bible?
Thank you Pastor, for reminding us about the place of God’s word in our lives and calling us back to center!