After Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  10:40
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
As we begin to reflect on the passage from Luke this morning, I am going to encourage each of us to take a moment to rest in the Spirit that is flowing through each one of us this day…after a brief silence...let us pray...
God of love, God of compassion, God of all, we ask that you would help us to clear our hearts, minds and spirits in this day so that we can open ourselves to your love and the Spirit which resides within us. As we listen this day, bring our hearts into focus, open our ears to hear only your voice, and dispel anything that might move our hearts away from you. Amen.
Our passage from Luke for this morning takes us to the day that Jesus ascends into heaven. Just to set us up a bit, we are on top of a mountain outside of Jerusalem. Jesus has spent the last 40 days teaching and leading the disciples around the area healing and preaching along the way. All of this has taken place after the resurrection, a time when there is much wonder and awe over what has transpired in the very recent past. On this day, though, Jesus is giving us his final instructions before he ascends into heaven…one of the greatest themes that comes from his speech on top of that mountain is that even though he will no longer be physically present, God will send one to reside with them and us into eternity, a comforter who will give us exactly what we need when we need it...

Dependence on God encouraged

One of the things that stands out to me from this time is that Jesus gives those around him great comfort in knowing that he has come from God but that he must also return to God but that they would not be alone in their times of need, suffering, and trials. Many times Jesus spoke words of comfort to the disciples and all those gathered around him. He prayed for all of them and us here today as he faced his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. His dependence upon what is real and true, the only real and true way of being in this world of pain, was to rely upon God…that might sound strange because he and God were one but in a very real sense, as we celebrated on Christmas Eve, Jesus came as an infant to take on the physical nature and experience what it was like to live as a human in a world that would reject and despise him for what he was, the Messiah...
As we sit here today, thinking about the pain and trials that we have been through, I want to pass along just some of his words so that maybe, just maybe, a little bit of his comfort can enter into our hearts and bring us some comfort on this first Sunday of the New Year…so let’s begin with these words...
Luke 24:46–47 NLT
And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
The first step to healing is often forgiveness. Forgiveness is a simple yet such a complex topic…we could probably spend an entire year of Sundays discovering what it means to truly forgive. For today though, I want you to understand that the simplistic nature of forgiveness really is about being able to reside in God’s loving arms and trust that when we offer one another forgiveness, it is not about holding onto the emotions and pain that has been caused but rather being able to say for the first time, “I forgive you” and then continuing to say those three words, over and over again until it takes hold of our hearts and the pain begins to diminish little by little over time. Does that mean we forget what happened, not necessarily but if we hold onto the hurt and pain, we are only going to carry that bitterness with us and pass it along to everyone we encounter. I have often heard it said that “hurt people, hurt other people”. In my life, I have found that to be true, especially in the church. Remember this too…we ask God each Sunday to forgive us to the extent that we have forgiven others…let that sink in for a moment...

God is a refuge

But here is something else I want you to consider…if we are forgiven only to the extent that we forgive others and we are unwilling to say that we forgive someone for the pain they have caused…are we really relying on God’s grace to help us be the Christians that God has called us to be in this world? There already is so much pain in the world and when we come to church on Sunday, we should be able to come here for the love that God has for us, not to worry about who is going to approach us first with a complaint...
Now with that being said, God truly is our refuge. When Jesus was here in human form, he shared in our pain and the hurt that comes from knowing others in this world. He suffered and he died a very human, albeit humiliating, way. He hung on a cross so that God would feel the pain and know the pain that we as humans experience in our daily lives. And this is why Jesus says...
Luke 24:49 NLT
“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
God promised a comforter, Jesus told us that the Spirit would come many times and here in his last words on that mountain, he reminds us that the promised comforter will come. Once that Spirit comes, the disciples and all those who followed Christ are given one instruction…carry that Spirit with you wherever you go and maybe even more importantly, share that comfort with others.
I don’t know that there is much else to say about God’s comfort and healing for us…other than this last question for you to ponder...

If we hold onto pain and suffering, can we really share God’s love?

Ultimately, Jesus’s last instruction boils down to this…if we hold onto our pain and do not let it go, is there any room in our hearts to be able to give others comfort or can we share any love at all? Amen.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more