The Power of the Resurrection and the Might Within Us

Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #4


TEXT: Acts 1:1-9

Throughout the Gospels, we see repeatedly that the disciples are very concerned about being left alone without Jesus Christ. Whenever Jesus talked about going to the cross to die, going back to Heaven to be with His Father, or said something that indicated He would not always be with them, the disciples got worried. They did not want Jesus to leave them. At one point, Peter took it upon himself to rebuke Jesus after He mentioned how He would have to go up to Jerusalem to be tried and put to death. Once, when Jesus was talking about going back to Heaven, Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” John 16 tells us that “sorrow filled” the disciples’ hearts as Jesus was telling them of how He had to go back to His Father. So, the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus was the absolute worst thing that could happen for the confidence level and morale of Jesus’ disciples. The One they had spent three years of their life following and learning from was gone. Even after they got over their disbelief about the Resurrection and accepted that Jesus had really and truly risen from the dead, they likely began to worry about Jesus leaving them yet again. Certainly, Jesus’ seemingly newfound pension for appearing and disappearing unannounced did not ease their worries that He might one day vanish and never return.

So, with these thoughts in mind, we find the apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ gathered at the Mount of Olives in Acts chapter 1. Luke alone informs us that this takes place 40 days after the Resurrection. During that time, Jesus had been ‘showing himself alive by many infallible proofs.’ Jesus made it His business to ensure that none of His disciples doubted that He had risen from the dead. The reason why is partly because He had a very important mission that He was about to commission them to carry out. That is why they all are gathered together at the Mount of Olives to meet with Jesus one last time before His ascension. During this meeting, Jesus informs them of a power — the Holy Spirit — who will come to live inside of them and enable them to carry out the mission that He is giving them. That same power lives inside of every believer today, and the power of the Holy Spirit came as a result of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and Jesus’ ascension.


The Power of the Resurrection and the Depressed and Discouraged Believer

Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #3




TEXT: Luke 24:13-34

According to the World Health Organization, over 350 million people around the world suffer from some form of depression. Long-term depression can lead to serious health problems. And, at its worse, depression can lead to suicide which is the cause of 1 million deaths each year. In recent months, the church has been forced to take a look at how it deals with depression. This is due in part to suicide being committed by pastors and children of pastors, as well as the seemingly consistent stream of reports which state that people who have carried out mass shootings, other criminal activity, including crashing a plane into a mountainside with 149 other people on board, suffer from some kind of depression or psychological illness.

So, depression is a real issue, and in our passage today, we find two depressed and discouraged individuals walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. One of these individuals is named Cleopas. Some have identified him as the husband of the “other Mary” who was at the cross as Jesus was being crucified. We do not know who his traveling companion is, but some have suggested that it is his wife. These two were on their way home from the Passover feast in Jerusalem which took place at the same time as Jesus’ crucifixion. Luke tells us that they were traveling “that same day.” This is referring to Sunday, the first Easter, after Mary, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and “other women” had gone to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and found that the tomb was empty. The text indicates that Cleopas and his companion were with the disciples and others when the women came to tell them the good news, however, they, like the disciples, did not believe the report of the women. They are depressed, discouraged worried, and anxious about what has happened. As they are traveling, Jesus himself appears and begins walking with them, however, the Bible tells us that they do not recognize him. “Their eyes were holden that they should not know him” — indicating that their inability to recognize Jesus was divinely orchestrated.

How does this experience speak to the depressed and discouraged travelers as well as the depressed and discouraged people of today?