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Minds That Understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:36-49) Easter 3B

April 22, 2012

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St. Luke 24:36-49


How often do you hear it?  Maybe you’ve said it to yourself.  I hear it all the time.  “Pastor, the Bible is so hard to understand.  It’s too hard for me.” 


Sometimes the comments go the other way.  The total opposite!  “The Bible is easy to understand!  It’s all about what you’re supposed to do!  It tells you how to live!  The Golden Rule!  Do unto others …”


Well, what does the Lord say?  We should let Him have His say, shouldn’t we? 


Let’s ask Him!  Shall we?  All right.  Here goes.  “Lord, help us to understand the Scriptures?”


And His answer is amazing!  It will blow your mind!  So obvious!  So simple!  “This is what I told you while I was still with you,” Jesus says. 


Really?  He told us already?  Yes.  Numerous times.  On many occasions!  But we just didn’t seem to get it.  I guess we didn’t have ears to hear what He was teaching.  “This is what I told you while I was still with you:  EVERYTHING must be fulfilled that is written about ME in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  


Whoa!  Did you catch that?  Did Jesus say what I thought He just said?  “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about ME in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  Law of Moses = Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  Prophets = Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jonah, etc.  Psalms = the hymnal and prayer book of the Old Testament – the psalms!  Jesus categorically announces that the entire Old Testament is about HIM!  “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about ME!”  


All about Jesus!  The Old Testament – Moses, all the prophets, and the psalms — has a Jesus fixation!  A Jesus obsession!  A Jesus addiction!  A Jesus mania!  “EVERYTHING must be fulfilled that is written about ME in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 


Who would have ever imagined?  After all, most of the big wig preachers and Bible teachers tell us that the Old Testament is mostly about Russian and Syrian tanks invading Israel, cataclysmic battles, and an antichrist that comes from the European Common Market.  Or they read the Old Testament to find coping mechanisms for successful living, healthy eating, or leading a better life. 


But is that what Jesus said?  Don’t think so! No mention of missiles, hordes from Russia or Red China, the mother of all battles on the plains of Israel, or help to reduce cholesterol and belly fat.  Instead, Jesus flat out declares that the Old Testament is all about Him! The Old Testament gives witness – proclaims – preaches JESUS!


But what kind of Jesus?  A Jesus that we make up for ourselves?  You know – like a hard-core rules making Lord Jesus?  Example to follow Jesus?  A riding on a tank Jesus blowing away the enemies of Israel Jesus?  A late night infomercial bikini body shaping Jesus?  An investment advisor so that you can get rich Jesus?  What kind of Jesus does the Old Testament preach? 


So it’s back to Jesus!  What does He say?  He ought to know.  So let’s ask Him!  OK?  Good!  “Well Jesus, what kind of Jesus are you?  What kind of Everything Must Be Fulfilled That Is Written About Me In The Old Testament Jesus are you?”


Are you ready for His answer folks?  Better buckle up your seat belts.  Better hand on tight!  It’s stunning!  Mind-blowing!  Incredibly mind-altering!  In fact, His answer will “open up your minds” to finally “understand the Scriptures.”  If you’ve ever wondered, been wondering, confused about what the Bible is up to or what kind of Jesus this Jesus from Nazareth really is, then listen up!  Jesus gives the definitive answer!


“This is what is written:  The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.” 


There you have it!  Holy Week Jesus!  Calvary Jesus!  Good Friday Jesus!  Bloody Death Jesus!  The only sacrifice that atones for all sin and every sinner Jesus!  The Lamb of God slaughtered on the altar of the cross to take away the sin of the world Jesus.  The Lamb’s blood that cleanses or purifies from every sin Jesus!  And then the resurrection from the grave on Easter Sunday Jesus!


This is the heart and center of the Scriptures!  Jesus “opens” your “minds” today “to” finally “understand the Scriptures!”  He is the salvation Jesus!  The Savior Jesus!  Who is Gift!  For you!  His suffering and rising from the dead were for you!  For your salvation!  For your forgiveness!  The Scriptures preach and give you Jesus who suffered, died, and rose for you! 


This kind of Jesus all for your “repentance and forgiveness of sins.”  Yes, that’s right!  “Repentance!”  Repent of getting the Scriptures all wrong.  Saying that the Scriptures are just too hard and therefore ignoring them.  Repent of reading and hearing the Scriptures as if all they’re a rule book or some kind of self-help tool kit in order to reach your ultimate potential before God all on your own.


The Scriptures preach the one and only crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth!  In the first reading from Acts 3 today Peter proclaimed:  “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold THROUGH ALL THE PROPHETS, saying that his Christ would suffer.” 


And through such witness by the Scriptures, the Scriptures amazingly interpret you!  Yes, that right, God’s Word repents you!  Repents you to believe that you are a sinner for whom Jesus came to save!  And that happens to you because the Holy Spirit is at work through the Scriptures proclaimed in your ears and to your hearts!  The Holy Spirit through the Scriptures gives witness to Jesus!  Gives glory to Jesus!  The Jesus who suffered, died, and rose for sinners.  You, me, the world!  For the forgiveness of all your sins!


That’s the core and center of the Scriptures:  delivering Jesus as gift of salvation FOR YOU!  Just as the Epistle itself declared today:  Jesus “appeared so that he might take away our sins,” (1 John 3:5)!  And He did!  Listen to His promise today at the Lord’s Supper:  “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of yours sins.”  


What joy!  How marvelous!         


In the Name of Jesus.

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