Sunday 18 April 2021 Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber Parish Churches Easter 3

Opening Words God raised up Jesus on the third day, and caused him to appear, to those chosen to be his witnesses. We praise God.



Hymn 1 Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bid'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

 

2 Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

3 Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

 

4 Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

 


 

Prayer Loving and gracious God we praise you and we worship you because you are a mighty God. We especially praise you for Jesus and the wonderful victory he accomplished when he died, was buried and rose again. Alleluia! We praise you for he is a living and a mighty Lord! We are so grateful that your Son loved us and he loved the church in this mighty way. We are here, Lord. We come before you. We thank you too that you love us and care for us even though we are frail and make mistakes. We thank you Lord for looking after us in hard times. Be at work in this world and make it a safer place to be. We pray in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.

Gospel Luke 24:35-49 The risen Jesus appears to his disciples 35 The two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! 38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? 39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he ate it as they watched. 44 Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. 47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ 48 You are witnesses of all these things. 49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

  As someone interested in cooking I find this passage intriguing. The risen Jesus ate broiled fish and a piece of honey. Broiling fish is cooking using heat alone, without adding oil or fat. I read that for Jews broiled fish is a recipe suitable for Passover time. Broiled fish is probably healthier than fish that is breaded or battered. However fish and chip shops were introduced into British life in the 1860s by immigrant Jews. The honey Jesus ate may have been wild honey. The purpose of Jesus eating these was to show the disciples that he had risen body and soul. It matters that Jesus was raised. Death could not hold him. It is important as it shows that the victory of Jesus concerns the whole of life including the physical. His rising bodily is a sign of the future resurrection body promised to all his people.

 

   Jesus met with confused and troubled disciples. They were excited that some had seen the Lord, but also afraid. Jesus brought his peace. His presence and being with him made a big difference. Jesus needed them to overcome their trauma. They needed to realize that his death on the cross had not been an unfortunate accident that should have been avoided. Neither did it take away from the purpose. Jesus had told them more than once that he had to suffer, be killed and be raised. It was necessary. It was something he had come to do. It was the death, the ‘exodus’ he came to accomplish. It was a task. Jesus entered the place of death and judgement as one taking our sin, and he turned away the wrath of God. Sin and death were conquered. The forces of evil were overcome. His task was to defeat sin, death and the Devil. He had done it. The proof of it was his resurrection. Mission accomplished!

 

    It was not enough for the disciples to know that Jesus had risen. They needed a scriptural understanding, which includes these points and that Jesus had done all this in accordance with the Old Testament scriptures. Jesus meets our needs by helping us see that he is a risen living Lord and by us having this Scriptural understanding. That’s something we need to get, whether through learning at church or through our own reading and investigations. If we do it by our own investigations, we need to be sure that we are using things that are reliable and scripturally sound. There are many alternatives and some are exceedingly unhelpful.

 

Jesus gave the disciples an apostolic task. They were to proclaim all this and repentance of sin and forgiveness through Christ. This is our message too. It is not just that God forgives. It is forgiveness because of the cross, that Jesus died in our place and dealt with the just anger of God against human wickedness. He did it for us. It calls for repentance, a heartfelt turning to God and desiring to give up whatever is wrong, and a love for God.

 

He gave them spiritual power, through the Holy Spirit. We too need the help and the grace of the Holy Spirit to reflect back to others the love and goodness of Christ towards us.

 Prayer Loving God we thank you that Jesus rose again. We thank you that he can be our Saviour and friend. Help us to love him more. Deliver us from the dangers of the pandemic and all that goes with it. We place into your hands our friends and families. In the words our Saviour has taught us we are bold to pray further, saying, Our Father…               Closing Words May God’s blessing be upon us, the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.