Scriptures for April 26th : Sermon based on Revelation 7:9-17. Lectionary text: Acts 3:12-19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48
Revelation: Many people are afraid of the book of Revelation, because they don’t understand the significance of the symbolism. Much of the message of the book is intended for the people at the time that it is written. But it does help us to think about the meaning of heaven. Chapter 7 speaks of those who will be with God in heaven in the end times. Literally ,144,000 chosen by God. Many people from all nations who have endured tribulations until the end. Those who are willing to take sin in their lives head on. They are those who believe in the resurrection of the dead. In times of trouble, it is knowing that we are in that number that gives us strength – or resurrects our soul.
Luke: This passage occurs after two disciples have talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It is proof that this is the same Jesus whom they knew before he died, - he shows them his hands and feet, he eats with them. Yet there is something different about him, the did not recognize who they were talking to. Once the remaining disciples are gathered, Jesus gives them peace and the great commission – go make disciples of all nations. He knew that this was a scary time for his disciples, but he wanted them to have the courage to not be afraid.
Questions: This is a scary time for many of us – what are you afraid of? What difference will the peace of Christ make in your situation? What are you doing to make disciples of others? Do you believe in bodily resurrection? Or is resurrection just a spiritual quest for you? What would you do, if you have a chance to see God face to face? How do you praise God in your every day life? What tribulations do you need strength to overcome?