Sermon The Third Sunday of Easter April 15, 2018

Acts 3:12-19             Psalm 4    

1 John 3:1-7               Luke 24:36b-48

May these words and our thoughts be acceptable to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Today’s readings raise so many questions.  The first one I have is what kind of body did Jesus have after Easter and what kind of body will we have at the General Resurrection.  He has a material Body, He is not a ghost, remember Jesus invited Thomas to touch Him, and Jesus was able to walk, breathe and even able to eat the fish we heard about today.  A side bar to is that as Jesus ate fish and although meat was not part of the general diet for people of His earthly life He had eaten lamb at least at the Passover, we can conclude that animal meats are provided for our consumption.  We don’t have to be vegetarian to be Christian but we do have to be humane in our treatment of animals, domesticated and wild.  I will point out that although Jesus had not eaten for several days He did not over indulge, likely He had no need to eat – a Body that can eat but doesn’t have to.  Today perhaps we should be conscious of portion size too.

Jesus was also able to appear and disappear at will.  The disciples from Emmaus experienced that twice that day – that Easter Day.  They had walked with Him, even ate with Him in Emmaus when He disappeared from before their eyes.  They ran back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples and as they were speaking Jesus appeared again before them and all the others.  Now I know some scientists are skeptical about the Scriptures and our Faith but with their new understandings of Quantum theories and the like where things are not as simple as we think, then surely these things are highly possible.  All things are possible with God, it just needs science to catch-up and discover for us this new reality, until then we will rely on Faith.  For centuries various reasons have been given for strange happenings, science has helped us weed out the Myth from the Truth.  We cannot discount these accounts of Jesus Resurrection appearances, they happened just as described, we however remain curious as to how, until science can help us we will rely on our Faith.

What science may not be able to explain though is what happened to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, the healing of his useless legs by God through Peter and the power of prayer offered in Jesus’ Name.  We still hear of remarkable healings brought about by prayer, not those sham healings we see on television but real healings of physical and emotional disorder.

The Psalmist believed in prayer for he says  “Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause;  you set me free when I am hard-pressed;  have mercy on me and hear my prayer.  Know that the Lord does wonders for the faithful;  when I call upon the Lord, he will hear me”.

The danger we face is that we expect our prayers to be answered when we pray them and in accordance with our wishes.  That’s not always the case, usually it is not the case.  We come to prayer with a  ‘Honey-do’  list for God, that’s unfortunate because it should be the other way around.  You remember  “Thy will be done”.  So what’s the point in praying if we are just going to ask God to do what He wants anyway ?  Are we useless, inconsequential and don’t we really factor into what’s going to happen except as a mindless pawn ?  That’s a pretty grim picture to paint, to say the least.

The point of prayer ?  To get us to that state of mind where we can be an actor in God’s plan;  now sometimes by the Grace of God that will entail physical or emotional healing.  Many times though it will fortify us against Evil in whatever form Evil takes.  The ideal prayer leads us into meditation on God’s plan for us, upon God’s Promise and great works  (Psalm 119:148, 143:5).  The greatest relief is received when we hand things over to God.  Listen to the Psalmist again  “Many are saying,  ‘Oh, that we might see better times !’  Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord.  You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase.  I lie down in peace;  at once I fall asleep;  for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety”.

And going back to the story of the lame man, he asked for alms, he wanted something to help him for the next day.  He didn’t want much, he just wanted enough for food for the day.  His prayer was to treat the symptom of his life, he needed food, for that he needed money, so with typical short-sighted vision he asked for money.  But Peter said  “Silver and gold have I none:  but such as I have I give thee”  (Acts 3:6).  I can imagine the man’s face fell thinking he might get something useless.  But Peter went on  “In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk”.  And of course that’s exactly what he did.  The man now didn’t just have food for the day, he had the ability to get all he needed for life.  With a God who can rise from the dead, walk through walls, cure the halt and the lame, the blind, the deaf, the mute don’t sell yourself short.

We often pray hoping to fix the symptom.  Therefore in your prayers spend time mulling over with God what’s behind the problem.  Spend a lot of time doing that before you even ask for a resolution because you may not be asking for the right thing.  Lastly God knows what your problems are, but I think He worries that you don’t.  Do Him the great courtesy of talking it over with Him for some time, air the problem and then go deeper into it so that He can reveal the whole thing to you and heal whatever ails you, your friend or the situation.  It works, try it.  Amen.

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