Being Welcomed by Jesus

Last Sunday I visited a friend’s church. He was preaching through two of the post-resurrection passages where Jesus appeared to His disciples. His opening thoughts got me to thinking. He posed this question: as the disciples wrestled with the reality of the resurrected Jesus, did they wonder how He fit into their lives now that He proved to be much more than even they had imagined?

They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

Before the crucifixion, the disciples believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Peter had even declared Jesus to be the Son of God. However, their view of Him was still narrow. They still believed that Jesus’ kingdom was of this world. They believed that His kingdom was focused on the Jewish people and their political future. A Savior for the whole world was beyond their imagination. Then that final Passover week happened. A beautiful feast with words of love and profound promises (see John 13-17) was crushed by soldiers boots, whips, a crown of thorns, and a crucifixion. When we next see the disciples they are hiding in the upper room. The two disciples mentioned in Luke 24 above were escaping Jerusalem and heading to Emmaus. In these situations – hiding and running – Jesus appears to them.
When Jesus appears to them, what does He do? He does what He had always done. He teaches them. He broadens their understanding of who He is and what He is doing in the world. He invites them to be a part of it all! What it must have meant to them for Jesus to receive them anew. They had failed Him. They had run. They were hiding. Again and again Jesus had called them to be men of faith, and they weren’t. Did they wonder if Jesus was going to start over with other disciples who would be more faithful? Did they wonder if they were going to be rejected?
That isn’t what happened. Jesus reached out to them again. He called them to Himself. He invited them to join Him on this amazing journey of faith. He commissioned them to take the good news to not just Jerusalem and Israel but to every nation. He welcomed them. If they wondered how Jesus would fit in their lives as they understood His mission and person more clearly, they now knew. He was calling them to follow Him. He was no longer hidden from their hearts and minds. They would no longer be following a Messiah of their own imagination. They would be following the One who would command their destiny. He wanted them. Here is the exciting thing – He wants us too! He told them:

“Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46 — 47

The nations includes you and me. We, too, are welcomed by Jesus. Will we follow like they did?
Something to think about,
Pastor John

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