Too Good to Be True

Too Good to Be True

Third Sunday of Easter

Sermon starts at 12:51 in the recording

Service Booklet

All Readings

Gospel: Luke 24:36b-48

36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them,

‘Peace be with you.’ 

37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.

Afterthoughts: The Cost

I shared this Sunday about some things that are “Too Good to be True.”
Indeed, there is a lot about the Scriptures,
its promises and the Gospel,
that seem too good to be true.
But they are true.

From the readings this last Sunday, it is true that:

· A healing of our souls is possible.
· A blessing received during times of difficulty is possible.
· A community that we can all belong to is possible.
· A Savior of our souls is possible.

But, there is a cost.
There’s always a catch, isn’t there.
Well, there is for these things too.

The Scriptures spell this out pretty clearly for us this past week.

Acts 3 says this,

“Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”

In this scene from Acts,
Peter is addressing several things that are important.
He is addressing the crowd’s response to a healing,
the killing of Jesus
and the response to these things.

The Jews who were gathered had gotten it wrong.
They killed the Messiah.

Also, they couldn’t bring themselves to believe the message of the Gospel.

Because of this, Peter calls them to repentance.
They needed to turn from their errors about the Messiah, Jesus, Jesus’ death and God’s plan of salvation.

And repentance is a death.
A death to our erroneous beliefs to come to faith in God’s truth.
A death to our stubbornness to change.
A death to our inability to see where we are wrong.
We are called to this.

Psalm 4 says this,

“Offer the appointed sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord.”

Sacrifice, for us, does not have the same umph that it did for the people during the times the Old Testament was written.
Sacrifices were difficult.
They cost something.
It meant giving something up.
With a purpose.

And sacrifice usually involved violence.
The taking the life of something.
A bird.
A lamb.
A goat.
A bull.

a death for sure.

In the cultures surrounding Israel,
It could even involve taking the life of a child.

When the Psalmist calls us to make a sacrifice and trust God,
It is akin to Peter calling for repentance.

The Psalmist is saying,
· Sacrifice your pride.
· Sacrifice your ego.
· Sacrifice your hopelessness.
· Sacrifice your distrust.
· Sacrifice your disbelief.

We are called to this.

1 John 3 says this,

“What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”

What will I become?
This is a question that many ask.
For those who place their faith in Jesus,
This question takes on a bit more significance.
I know that I will change during this lifetime,
But what will I become in the next life?

I have had many ask about this.
What will heaven be like?
Will I be able to recognize my friends and family?
Will they be able to recognize me?
Will I appear as the old me or the young me?

More questions than answers.

In this life, it is our quest to be more like Jesus.
This truth gives passion to our journey.
And if we are to be more like Jesus,
This will have a major impact upon us.

A cartoon that I recently saw captures the truth of this quite well.

In the first frame of the cartoon,
The Christian is in their bed praying,
“Oh Lord, please make me more like Jesus.”

In the second frame of the cartoon,
The Christian is nailed to a cross and saying,

Many times we have a desire to be like Jesus
without living life like Jesus.

Discipleship requires death.
Like the other passages before.
Death to self.
Death to ego.

We are called to this.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says,

“Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations.”

Jesus’ words to His astonished and very shaken disciples
aptly summarizes the story of Easter:
· Suffering.
· Death.
· Resurrection.
· New Life.

It also reveals an important truth about our lives:
Death is a part of our story.

Even though we want Easter to be pastels and chocolates,
There is a process that is very much not pastels and chocolates.

To be a follower of Jesus requires things like:
A death.

Again, death is a part of our story.
It’s just not the end of our story.

It actually is the beginning of our story.
It is clean slate.
A new day.
A fresh start.

It is an “out with the old and in with the new” kinda thing.
A do over.

And to this,
we should all say, “Amen!”

And, with thankful hearts,
Humbly acknowledge the greatness of God for His love for us
and the plan to make us whole.
To show us more love than we deserve,
that we might give to others,
more love than they deserve.