“Fear Not!” is common in scripture. But how can we possibly obey it? After all fear is a response to circumstances we cannot control. Our finitude creates anxiety. We are not in control. We never were. But what God commands, He provides. The remedy for fear is faith in the one who is in control. Luke 21:5-19 appears fear-filled. But closer examination reveals assurance and victory. Listen as we consider how God equips us to advance the gospel through this tremendous assurance.
Every week Christians profess their faith in the Apostles’ Creed. Among its central doctrines is a profession that Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Yet many have never considered why the Ascension is such an important doctrine. Listen as we examine Luke 24:50-53 and consider the hope and comfort we receive from the Ascension.
After Jesus’ Resurrection, his disciples faced a new normal. For 40 days, Jesus comforts their fears, commissions them give the world the gospel, and promises His presence through the Holy Spirit. The end of the gospel story is only the beginning.
Their new normal is the best prescription for our own new normal – looking to Christ for comfort, following Christ’s call, and relying on Christ’s presence through the Holy Spirit. Listen as we examine the “end of the beginning” from Luke 24 and consider the new normal for followers of Jesus Christ.
What is your response to the Resurrection? For those who encountered an empty tomb and a Risen Christ, the Resurrection changed everything. Has it changed everything for you? Has it changed anything in you? Listen as we examine Luke 24:1-12 and consider the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus.
A disappearance is powerfully bewildering. Every magician knows this. Disappearance mystifies us. We doubt what we just saw. Was it really there? Was it what we thought it was? Where is it now? What just happened? A disappearance unsecures what was secure, makes us rethink what is real. Calls remembrance into question. Creates suspicion of others. Whether David Copperfield is vanishing the Statue of Liberty or we are missing our car keys, a disappearance raises questions and fuels emotions – frustration, uncertainty and anger.
But if this is true of things that disappear, how much more is it true when people disappear. People disappear from our lives in many ways. Some are taken from us and some choose to leave. Some leave expectedly and some suddenly. Some may return or be found, but others may be gone forever. Some circumstances make it easier to accept, but the disappearance of people from our lives is never easy. Questions become more urgent and unanswerable. And the emotions — grief, loneliness, and fear — become more consuming. The empty chair casts a long shadow.
The Lord Jesus knew his “leaving day” was coming. His departure would be hard for the disciples to understand and even harder to accept. As he celebrated a last Passover with them, he explained the nature and necessity of his return to the Father. They were grief stricken and filled with questions. In John 14-16 we read how Jesus comforted them and answered their questions. Then after he rose from the dead, he remained with them 40 days to prepare them for their part in the story of redemption. After those 40 days, he ascended and returned to the Father with the disciples looking on. Can you imagine their emotion in that moment? Luke records the moment In Acts 1.
As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
We might have expected the disciples to be dismayed at Jesus disappearance. During the 40 days following his resurrection, Jesus had appeared and disappeared. But this was different. Jesus was gone for good this time. But Jesus had taught them what his Ascension meant. He would send them the Holy Spirit. Far from being alone, now, in the person of the Spirit, Jesus would be more with them than ever. At last he ascended to the throne and begun to rule, as they had long desired. Luke tells us that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. The enemies who sought their lives were still enemies. The dangers they would face remained. The bodily presence of Jesus that they had followed and loved for three years was gone, never to return in their lifetimes. Yet they have great joy.
The disciples now understood what Jesus’ Ascension meant and what it promised. Do you? Every week millions of Christians profess their faith together in the Apostles’ Creed. Among its central doctrines is a profession that Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Yet many have never considered why this is such an important doctrine. Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Luke 24:50-53 and consider the hope and comfort we receive from the Ascension.
Luke’s gospel gives scarcely any details about the crucifixion, but focuses on the reactions of those Jesus encountered on his Via Dolorosa. He was met with pity, mockery and bitter anger, but also remarkable and unexpected faith.
What is your response to the cross? Does it evoke pity, mockery, or despair? Or does it call you to repentance, faith, and hope? Listen as we examine Luke 23:26-49 and consider the Kingship of Christ, powerfully declared, brazenly rejected and savingly believed.
Zacchaeus – the wee little man – in Luke 19 was lost. He tried to find himself in work and in wealth. And, in both he was at the top of his game. He was no mere tax collector, but the chief-tax collector. He oversaw all tax collection in Jericho, a fabulously wealthy and progressive city. And he was fabulously wealthy. But it came at a cost. Success cost him his identity and his integrity. His name, Zacchaeus, meant “righteous one.” But his reputation was that of an odious sinner. All he had gained was nothing compared to what he had lost. He was lost and longed to be found. Perhaps Zacchaeus had heard about Jesus. That he was a “friend of tax collectors and sinners.” The religious establishment had no place for Zacchaeus in their lives or their religion. But maybe this Jesus would be different. What kind of man was Jesus? He had to see. You might think at first glance that Luke 19 is a story about Zacchaeus looking for Jesus. But it is actually quite the opposite. It was Jesus who came to Jericho looking for Zacchaeus. Listen to “Lost and Found” as we examine this passage and see how God’s love for us unfolds in the seeking and the saving of Zacchaeus.
Every week millions of Christians profess their faith together in the Apostles’ Creed. Among its central doctrines is a profession that Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Yet many have never considered why this is such an important doctrine. Listen as we examine Luke 24:50-53 and consider the hope and comfort we receive from the Ascension.
As we encounter the Lord’s disciples at the end of the Gospel of Luke, we find them facing a radically new normal. Jesus, their master and teacher, has finished His redemptive work. As He is preparing to return to the Father, He is preparing them to pick up where He left off. Jesus meets the disciples on the first Easter night, he comforts their fears, calls them to take their part in the story of redemption, and promises them His ongoing presence in a radically new and powerful way. The end of the gospel is only the end of the beginning. Listen to “The New Normal” from Luke 24:36-53 as we examine how we are to live facing our own “new normal.” Get the Order of Service.
The story of Jesus on the Emmaus road is remarkable. Included only in the Gospel of Luke, it is a recognition story, instructing and encouraging us in the hope of seeing the Risen Christ. Two disciples have Jesus right in front of them, yet they do not recognize Him for who He is. What about you? Have you recognized the Risen Christ ? Join us for “In Plain Sight” as we examine Luke 24 and consider our how we too can see the Risen Christ. Get the Order of Service.