Luke 24:36-53                       “These Are My Words”


            At Dominos on Tuesday night Cara Hegwood told the story of Elsie, her mother, and herself watching a game show called “Family Feud.” You all may know how the show works already. The host asks a hundred people a question and then rates the responses. The contestants then have to guess the most likely responses in order to win points. The question was: “What do men think about most when in church?” Oddly enough for this question there was a pastor and his family who answered correctly the number one response was “When is this going to end?”

            Honestly, I never really like watching “Family Feud.” Maybe because I never really cared much about what other people thought! But, I was surprised to learn that the Mexican version, called “100 Mexicanos Dijieron” is the number one show in Latin America.

            So, let us put all that aside and note something very, very interesting about the last few words that we read here in Luke: Jesus comes back to Jerusalem where Cleopas and Mary have come to after meeting Jesus on the Road to Emmaus and tell his other disciples to do what? “Stay praying until the power of God is put upon you.” As it turns out, that is another forty-five days until the Pentecost.  Forty-five days? That sounds like a congressional continuing resolution on the US budget! So, they all go up to the Temple in Jerusalem, even though they are wanted men who were just in hiding, and worship God openly for the next six weeks. I bet you they were also asking: “When is this going to end?”


Perhaps some of you have wondered about this sermon series in Luke: “When will this ever end?” It ends today. It feels as if we have been on a long journey with Luke. At the end, I have to say that I have a great appreciation for Luke’s writing style. He is by far the most adept writer of the four gospel journalists. His language is far more nuanced and poetic than the others. I am left with the feeling that he really enjoyed writing this gospel and sharing it with others.

            There is a section in Paul’s letter to the Philippians that interested me in this regard to the joy that Luke shares from the heart while writing: Check out Philippians 1:15 and on: “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love. . . .” Luke is certainly writing out of love and joy, nothing else. Interesting to note is that Luke was with Paul in Philippi. Paul may have been addressing Luke personally about sharing the gospel out of love of Jesus and for no other reason! 

            At the beginning of his gospel, he wants to tell his story to a fellow named Theophilous. We assume that the name is fictitious because it means simply “friend of God.” So, Luke addresses all of us with this simple aim: We must open our minds to the idea that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, and our personal Savior.

            In the end of his writings, he takes this commandment out of the mouth of Jesus and into our own ears. We must open our minds. With his excellent use of Greek, he tells us that we must think about everything that has been reported.  Let us not take the rumors on the street as what is real. Let us not take the Roman Emperor’s spin on it. Let us look at the very facts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as printed in this incredible report from Luke.

            Point one of my sermon: You cannot open your mind if you cannot open a book and read it for yourself! That is why Luke wrote his report—not to give me sermon fodder, but to give the entire world an accurate report of who Jesus is.


            What does it mean exactly to “open one’s mind”? This word is νους in the Greek (and is also the same word in English), which is translated as “mind,” and is really in reference to cognitive function. This is like “2 + 2 = 4.” You know this because you were taught this but also because you can think it through. You have an understanding of mathematics.

            Jesus in his time with the disciples before his death gave us his Great Commandment: (Lk 10:25) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and all your MIND!” That last part Jesus added from the usual commandment to love God found in Deuteronomy 6:4. So, we are to approach our faith in God with open minds, thinking minds, and intellect.

            So, Luke is telling us that Jesus himself is telling his disciples to think it through. They must make the calculation. First, Jesus is in fact the Messiah that the Bible foretold. He is the one that they were waiting for all this time. Second, as was prophesied, he died and suffered for the iniquities of the world. Third, Jesus conquered death and is risen and is in fact standing right in front of them eating some broiled fish. What does all that mean? What are we to conclude for our own lives?

            The Apostle Paul actually works out this exact equation for the Church in Collosae. Check out Colossians 1:15-23, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of Creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things (Just like the choir sang this morning) and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Now here comes the solution) And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable. . . .”

            In its simplest form what is being said is that because Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, we all have a shot at eternal life. Because Jesus won the victory over death, we all can live forever with God. Are your minds open to that?


            All we have to do then is in fact forgive and repent our lives.  You see, in this time with the disciples Jesus promises them that God will clothe them with power from on high for the sake of forgiveness and repentance. Check out verse 47 of today’s reading. Because of the grace of God in sending Jesus to relieve us of our sins, we now are forgiven and repented before the Almighty God.

            We have to use our minds to understand these two disparate words from Jesus. You see, if you practice forgiveness without repentance, then you are in real trouble. If you hurt me, then say you are sorry, but do not change your heart, then you will hurt me again, say you are sorry, and so on. WE call that abuse. It is not true forgiveness. It is making an excuse for the other person without any repentance of the heart. Christ’s words are specific. Forgiveness and repentance!



            Just to really cement this case forever and ever, Jesus is carried up to heaven in their sight. If you want to ascend at the end of your life and live forever in heaven, then “follow” Jesus.

            As I mentioned early on in this message, this is a personal message from Luke made out of love for Jesus. Jesus wants all of us to repent, be forgiven, and ascend, and Luke wants to share this with all of us so that we might be angels one day too. So, Luke wants to understand and take to heart Jesus’ words. Jesus himself states “There are my words.”