Communion With Our Risen Savior

April 12, 2009 / No. 3458

Dear Radio Friends,

What a day that had been—the day in which our Savior rose from the dead.

For the disciples, it was both strange and surprising that one moment

they were cast into perplexity and doubt and the next brought to wonder

and joy.

      It began, we read in Matthew, with a great earthquake.  And after

that, God dispatched an angel from heaven to roll away the stone from

our Lord’s tomb—not to allow our Lord to exit the tomb, for He was

already risen—but to display the obvious fact that He was not there.

      When the angel appeared, the Roman guard that Pontius Pilate had

stationed at the tomb skedaddled in panic back to Jerusalem.  And the

angel sat down to wait for the company of women, who were filled with

grief, to arrive at the tomb at the break of dawn.  There he preached

the gospel:  “He is not here.  He is risen as He said.  Come, see the

place where the Lord lay.  Why are you seeking the living among the


      The disciples had been together throughout that weekend after the

death of Jesus on Good Friday, in an upper room.  They were filled with

grief.  And throughout the Resurrection Day, the gospel narratives tell

us, they received news that the Lord was risen, that the tomb was indeed

empty.  Mary Magdalene was the first one to burst in upon them on that

day.  She suspected that the hatred of our Lord’s enemies simply knew no

bounds and that they had taken His body out of the tomb and hid the body

from them.  Two of the disciples, Peter and John, upon hearing these

words, raced to the tomb to see for themselves.  And throughout the day

there came to the disciples reports of the appearance of our Savior.

      The Lord appeared first to Mary Magdalene who had returned to the

tomb in her sorrow and tenderly had made Himself known to her by

speaking her name as only He could:  “Mary.”  And then He cautioned her

to “touch Me not,” that is, “I have not come back as it was; but I must

ascend to your Father and to My Father.”

      The Lord appeared to the group of women who were returning from

the tomb.  And when they saw Him, they fell at His feet and worshiped

Him.  And the Lord said to them, “Tell my brethren, and Peter, that I am


      We learn from the gospel of Luke, chapter 24:34, that in that

Resurrection Day the Lord appeared personally to Simon Peter, the

disciple who had so terribly denied his Lord.  We are not told any of

the details of that private and personal meeting.  For it was the

restoration of His dear disciple Peter.  And that was very private.

      Then, later in that day, there were the two travelers to Emmaus,

probably Cleopas and Luke, who were troubled with all the things that

had transpired over that event-filled weekend.  And the Lord, hiding

Himself from their eyes, appeared to them on the road to Emmaus and

walked with them.  And when they came to their house, the Lord explained

to them the Holy Scriptures and ate with them.  And it was as He broke

the bread that He revealed Himself to them.  And they responded:  “Did

not our hearts burn within us as He opened to us the Scriptures of His


      Then, on the Resurrection Day, we read in Luke 24 (the last part

of Luke 24), that our Savior appeared to the gathered church, that is,

to His disciples, who were again gathered together in an upper room.

The two travelers to Emmaus had retraced their steps—seven miles—in a

hurry to come back to Jerusalem, and found the eleven disciples gathered

together with the other ones who believed in the Lord.  Eleven

disciples, actually ten, for Thomas was not there.  Thomas was nursing

his griefs and his doubts.  So there was a group of some 20-30 of the

Lord’s closest friends.  And into that group, into the gathered church,

on Resurrection evening, our Lord appears, to open their hearts to the

gospel of the resurrection.

      We gather today, too, on the Resurrection Day.  Every Sabbath is

the Resurrection Day.  Every Sabbath is the Lord’s Day.  We gather with

our risen Savior, for He is truly here.  Jesus Christ is gathered today

with His church.  No one need open the door for Him, for He is here by

His Spirit.  He had said to us, “Lo, I am with you always.”  You say, “I

want to see Him with my human eye.  I want to touch Him.”  But then I

must point out to you, as we read these wonderful resurrection accounts

in the Scriptures, that it was not the Lord’s physical presence that

convinced the church of the gospel of the resurrection.

      Rather, verse 45 of Luke 24, “then opened he their understanding,

that they might understand the Scriptures.”  This is the way that the

risen Jesus makes Himself known unto us.  He makes Himself known through

the gift of faith implanted in the heart by the Holy Spirit.  And then,

through the Holy Scriptures, as they are opened to our understanding.

      Communion with your risen Lord Jesus today and always is your

need.  It is the answer to every burden placed upon your heart by God.

If you do not have communion with Him, you have no comfort.  If you live

your life far away from this risen Savior, the call is “Repent or

perish.”  The risen Savior, through His living Word, by His Spirit,

makes Himself known to us that we might have communion with the Lord of


      I would very much have liked to have been there that night when

the Lord Jesus appeared to His church in the upper room.  That room was

buzzing with talk of Jesus.  Emotions ran high—from fear and perplexity

to wonder and joy.  They were all talking of Jesus and the events of

that day, the Resurrection Day, so much so that when the two travelers

returned from Emmaus and knocked on the door ready to tell them of the

marvelous appearance of Jesus to them and of what He had told them,

those two travelers could not get a word out edgewise.  For they were

greeted with the words, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared

unto Simon!”

      You can picture that room in your minds.  One would say, “That

earthquake in the morning was no coincidence!”  Another would say, “What

was it that the centurion said at the cross:  Truly this was the Son of

God?”  Another would say, “John, you and Peter ran to the grave and saw

that the grave clothes were undisturbed but the napkin was folded off by

itself?”  To the women they would ask, “Now tell us again.  What did the

angel say to you?  You say that you actually held the Lord by His feet?”

And then they would say to Mary Magdalene, “You say that He said that He

was going to ascend to His Father and to our Father?”  Travelers to

Emmaus, “You are telling us that He actually broke bread and in the

breaking of the bread He simply vanished from your presence?”  Binding

them all together in that room, was a love for Jesus that had been

implanted in their heart by God, and a consuming desire to understand

what it meant that He, their Savior, the Messiah, the Christ, was risen

from the dead.

      We should note that.  We should simply note that the Lord Jesus,

by the power of His Word and Spirit, comes to a gathered church that is

abuzz, that is, astir, in love about Him.

      Let me read you the comments of the great Reformer John Calvin

concerning Luke 24.   He says these simple words, “The Lord does not come

to the disinterested.  He does not appear to spiritual sandbags.  But He

comes to those who wonder after Him.”

      And in all of their talk and in all of their wondering on that

Resurrection Day, and all of their perplexity and questions, it was very

plain that there was forming among the disciples a common conception, a

natural response, to the resurrection.  We would have been no different.

They were concluding that the Lord is risen in the sense that He has

come back, come back to this life.  Something like Lazarus, whom they

saw raised four days out of the dead.  They could not put it all

together.  Why does He disappear?  Why does He not just stay with us?

Are we dreaming when we see Him?  Is He risen?  Then why this coming and

this going?  And it was then, as they were all astir and abuzz in the

talk of Jesus that we read, “Jesus appeared.”  “As they thus spake,”

Luke 24:36, “Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto

them, Peace be unto you.”  He appeared.

      Now that is something that you and I do not do.  He let His

presence be known.  He was suddenly there.  You say, “How did He get

into that room, for it was locked?”  Children, did Jesus perhaps sneak

in unobserved when the two travelers to Emmaus returned to that room?

No!  That is unbelief.  This is the resurrection.  His body, His human,

earthly body, is now raised to heavenly, immortal life.  Do not think

about physics.  Do not think about matter.  Think about the marvel of

the victory of Jesus Christ.  The disciples believed that He was a

ghost.  “And they were terrified and affrighted” (v. 37).  They were

shocked and surprised and supposed that they had seen a spirit, a

disembodied spirit.  And the Lord, we read, upbraided them.  He says in

verse 38, “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.”  He

showed them His hands and His feet.  It was Jesus!  So that we read in

verse 41, “And while they yet believed not for joy,” that is, still they

did not believe—not because of cynicism, but for joy.  They were giddy

with joy, with excitement.  It is Jesus!  But  how?

      And He asked them for food (v. 41), “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 they all stood watching as He

chewed the fish and sucked the honeycomb and spit out the wax.

      Questions?  Jesus is risen, risen to immortality of the body,

risen to heavenly, imperishable life of the physical body.  He is risen!

His body now has attained everlasting life.  He is no longer subject

unto death.  There is no death in His body.  He is changed.  He is

renewed.  He stands before God perfect in the body.  He has attained

eternal life in His body.  He has broken down death’s door.  He has

destroyed the power of sin.  He has not cheated death.  He did not get

out somehow.  He has vanquished death.  He has destroyed sin and death.

He has done all that is necessary to bring us, sinners, both body and

soul, to the very heart of God.

      Do you grasp the reality of faith?  “I am He that liveth, and was

dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore,” He says in Revelation 1.   “I

am the resurrection and the life” ( John 11).   He is risen.  And

whosoever is risen with Him shall live forever.  In one word, it is

victory (I Cor. 15), “Thanks be to God, who has given us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  In Jesus Christ, this risen Savior, all

who belong to Him today have victory, absolute victory, over sin and


      That is why His first words to the gathered church, and always pay

attention to Jesus’ first words, are so crucial:  “Peace be unto you—

unto My church.”

      That is the blessing of this Resurrection Sunday.  Peace.  Peace

with God.  Peace in my soul.  Peace in this life—glorious, glorious

peace.  The gospel of peace.

      Have you ever noticed the first thing the minister of the gospel

will say to the gathered church on Sunday?  Have you ever noticed that?

He raises his hands and he says, “Grace, mercy, and peace to you from


      Shall we take that word “peace,” and say, “Well, it was nothing

more than the familiar Jewish greeting:  “Shalom, good morning”?  Oh,

  1. When Jesus said “Peace,” this was the Resurrection Sunday.  This is

Jesus, the Lord, who has come to His church.  Peace, sinner!

      “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God

through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).  The risen Savior says to

you—burdened sinner, child of God filled with shame, who cannot look up

into heaven, grief-stricken over your sin, who ask the question today,

“How can God have anything to do with me?”—He greets you this day, the

day of His resurrection, with the word, “Peace be to you.”

      The risen Savior speaks to you who are tried and tossed on the

waves of the trial and anxious care that the heavenly Father sends into

your life.  You are asking today the question:  “But how can this work

for my good?”  You are anxious and disturbed.  You are worried about

your children and grandchildren.  You conclude that all of this is

against you.  You say, “But if the Lord sends this to me, I won’t be

able to bear it.  Lord, please don’t do that.  I don’t want that will of

God to be done.”  The risen Savior stands before you today and says,

“Peace.”  Peace, which means that our relationship to God, the living

and only God, is secure.  He means that God’s holiness and mercy, His

justice and love, have kissed each other in the cross of Jesus Christ.

He means to say, “Because I died and now am risen, you need never to be

fearful to see God face to face.  But in the eye of God is grace.”

      This peace is Sabbath peace, or Sunday peace.  It is a peace that

is especially dispensed on Sabbath, on Sunday, the day that He arose,

the day that He came to the gathered church, the day in which He says,

“Work is done!  I’ve done it all.”

      Sunday is the day that you close your shop, you park your truck,

you put away your business books, you stop the entertainments that

whittle away your time and you come and you gather with the people of

God and you hear Jesus say, “Peace to you.”

      Jesus Christ has not missed one Sabbath Day, one Sunday, for 2,000

years.  Every Sabbath Day He seeks out those who love Him, who are

gathered in His name.  And He enters into their midst, for He is always

there.  And He says, “Peace to you.”

      Risen Jesus.  Lord and conqueror, who has obtained a complete

salvation, on the Sabbath Day pours out blessing into the soul and

brings all the benefits of His death and resurrection clean and pure

into the hearts of His children.

      Thomas, one of the eleven, was not there that first Resurrection

Sabbath.  And Thomas spent a whole week without peace.  He dragged

himself through that week.  But the disciples who were gathered together

on the Lord’s Day and the Lord appeared among them had peace.  They

could say to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord.  All is well.  Victory.

Look up, man!  Look up.  All is salvation.”

      This is why we come to church, twice on Sunday.  This is why we

gather around the Word.  For through the Word the risen Jesus gives

peace.  We are given communion with Jesus in perfect peace today the

same way that the disciples received it on that first Resurrection Day.

We receive it through faith in the Scriptures.

      We read in verses 44-46 of Luke 24, “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 behoved Christ to suffer, and to

rise from the dead the third day.”

      It was not that the disciples that night could actually touch Him.

It was not that that brought the victory of the resurrection to their

souls.  It was not that they could observe Him eating and chewing and

swallowing that caused the light to come into their hearts.  Jesus—now

hear it well—Jesus can and Jesus will walk on the earth again.  Ye will

see Him.  You will see Him do marvelous and awful things.  But the mere

fact of the physical sight and the mere fact that He will appear on the

earth will not give anyone peace.  To the contrary.  It will bring,

apart from God’s grace, fear—great, great fear.  It is not His mere

physical presence that is the power to bring us to believe.  It is not

my preaching.  It is not anything of man.  It is this:  the living Jesus

must open your heart.  The risen Lord of life must impart into your

heart the gospel.  He who once parted the walls of the Red Sea must also

open your heart and pour into it the Holy Scriptures.  He must save you.

He must heal you.  He must teach you.  And He must comfort you with the

Holy Scriptures—all the things that are written in the Scriptures

concerning Him.

      And Jesus, the risen Jesus, now through the Holy Scriptures and by

the preaching of the gospel, appears to His children.  I see Him.  Do

you?  Lord!  Conqueror.  Eternal Son.  Ruler.  All hail the power of

Jesus’ name.  Bow down and worship Him!

      And I hear Him.  Do you?  He speaks peace.  “Son, thy sins are

forgiven.  Daughter, new life is imparted.  Weary child of God, the hope

of glory is yours.”  The risen Jesus appears with His gathered church

through His Word and by His Spirit.  We see Him.  We hear Him.  And He

says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”

      Let us pray.

      Thanks be to God for the victory that is given to us through our

Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.