READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary I Jesus tells us that the most important thing in life is to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. In other words, we are to love God with our heart, head and hands — our whole being.
Discipleship of the Hands (Luke 24:48-50)
Jesus lifted up His hands (vs.50) as He commissioned His disciples to be His witnesses. The Gospel of Luke ends here. However, part 2 of Luke’s Gospel is found in the Acts of the Apostles, which depicts the disciples using their hands in witness. So also are we called to use our hands in acts of mercy and in sharing Christ with others.
Discipleship of the Head (Luke 24:45)
Our Lord opened their minds, intellect and reasoning to understand the Word of God. Following Jesus does not close our intellect or thinking. On the contrary, Jesus opens our minds so that we can understand His truths. We love God with our minds, not just with our hearts and soul. Closed minds will only lead to misunderstanding of His Word to us.
Discipleship of the Heart (Luke 24:25)
“How slow of heart” is used by Jesus to gently chide the disciples. However, would not our hearts also be slow and heavy if we had witnessed the cruel and painful death of the Lord on the cross? The disciples said that they “had hoped that he [Jesus] was the one who was going to redeem Israel”. Their hope of a Messiah who would establish a kingdom and overthrow their Roman conquerors had disappeared, aptly described in lyrics by Don Carson as “how all their hopes lay buried in his tomb”. We empathise with these discouraged disciples. We may be experiencing the same loss of hope, as we encounter suffering and trials. Why doesn’t God heal or protect His children? Our Risen Lord explains (vs 27) to His disciples that the prophets had made it clear that the Messiah had to experience earthly suffering before going to glory. Jesus tells us that “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He has never promised a life that is free of suffering or pain. We are to remain strong and courageous in our earthly trials. In Luke 9:23, our Lord says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”. This is a daily task and not a once-off event.
So where is the good news if we cannot escape pain and earthly death? Jesus who suffered and died is the same One who rose again. Our suffering and death will also be followed by resurrection and new life. In vs 32, the disciple’s hearts are strangely warmed. In believing, our eyes are opened to His Word. Keep believing in God. As we understand, our hearts take heart and are strengthened. Let us take comfort and hope in God’s promises. Take heart. Jesus has overcome.
Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!
(Sermon notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. How has God spoken to you through the preaching of God’s word?
2. How would you summarise the message?
3. The promise of a heaven after death has sometimes been criticised as escapist. What do you think? In what ways might the promise of resurrection be harmful? In what ways might it be helpful?
4. Pray for someone whose heart may be feeling discouraged or depressed. Is there something you and your small group of friends can do (hands) or say (head) to support him/her? What might be things and words that you should not do?