Steven Furtick — Round Trip Resurrection
When we look at Luke 23:44, we see the very last thing that Jesus said and we're going to read the context of it. Luke tells us, Luke 23:44, it was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until 3:00 in the afternoon for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, unto your hands, I commit my spirit." And when he had said this, when the word of God had spoken his final word, he breathed his last, and he gave up his life.
Now, look at Luke 24, because this passage for us has been a picture of this idea of spiritual journey where we've been following these two travelers. One of them called Cleo, at least we've been calling him Cleo, his full name is Cleopas. But we gave him a nickname as we got to know him.
He was disappointed and he was traveling in the wrong direction. And Jesus decided to catch up with him, even though he was headed in the wrong direction. And he revealed himself to him along the road, the seven-mile road. And I want to catch him because I feel like the best place to end this journey that we've been on will be back on the same road where we started out, only now, we're on the return trip.
And the Bible says that after they had walked seven miles with Jesus... at first they didn't recognize him, because usually we don't see how God is at work in our lives while He's working in our lives. It's usually in looking back that we recognize the hand of God. Especially when things don't feel good, or when things don't make sense to us, logically. It is when we process things sometimes, that we get perspective, once it's in the past, to know that hey, you know what, that was God. That break-up was God. Amen.
Doesn't feel like it's God when your heart is broken. But Cleopas goes all the way to the destination where he thought he would bury his hope because he's watched Jesus die on the cross. And all of a sudden, when he gets there, he recognizes Jesus. And so he and his companion... look at verse 33, what a great Easter verse by the way, it says they got up and returned at once to Jerusalem where the holy spirit was promised to be given not many days from then.
There, they found the 11 and those with them assembled together in saying, "It's true, the Lord has risen and appeared to Simon." Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them, when he broke the bread. Verse 36 and then I'll preach a little bit, and then I'll let you go eat ham and hide eggs, and whatever else. But how many of you could use some spiritual food first before you go home and look at bunnies.
While they were still talking about this, notice how many things are happening just in the process of common conversation, common activity. Notice how God is revealing Himself in unexpected ways. And while they were talking about this, Jesus himself, stood among them, and said to them, "Peace be with you." And they were afraid and he spoke peace. And he did it, he revealed himself in an usual way.
So turn to your neighbor, and this is an interactive sermon, and so you need to turn to them. In fact, it's not a sermon at all. Look at your neighbor and say, "This is not a sermon at all." You better look at your other neighbor because that neighbor look confused. Tell them, "This is not a sermon at all." Tell them, "This is a ticket." Tell them, "It's a round-trip ticket."
That's what I want to talk about today, I want to talk about round-trip resurrection. A round-trip ticket to Resurrection. And it just so happens that I came back this week from Sydney, Australia, which is like 5,000,000,973 hours on an airplane. When I flew over there, I got there on Friday, I left on Wednesday. And one thing about Australia, it's so far away, that when you get there, it's tomorrow.
Not that it's... so the first time I went over there, I FaceTimed my kids. I've been over there seven times now. And when I get over there, usually I get there in the morning. And I called my kids the first time I went and I was showing out my window, Sydney, Australia. And the sun was up in Sydney, Australia. But at Charlotte, back in Charlotte it was Thursday night and they were so confused.
And they were like how is it nighttime here, and it's daytime there because... and I started explaining to them that Australia is across the international date line, like 14 hours ahead. So I told my kids, I said, I'm actually calling you from tomorrow. And I kind of thought that was clever. And at the end of the call right before we hung open up, my oldest son, Elijah goes, "Hey daddy, before you go, can you tell us what happens tomorrow?"
Which I thought was so cool and so appropriate for an illustration about the perspective that Resurrection gives us. And maybe that's why we come to church, deep down even though we don't know it because we want a report for our tomorrow, from someone who's already been there. And that's what I love about God. Is that He is an ever-present help in my trouble, but He does not speak to my today, from my situation.
But outside of time, God who has already been in my tomorrow and is not anxious about the economy, or my health, or is not anxious about the political system of the country where I reside. God, from tomorrow, the one who is and was, and is to come, speaks back to my today, increases my faith. And gives me the ability to face forward into my future with confidence.