It was when I was about ten years old that we did not have a TV set at home. In fact, we did not even have electricity in the village where I grew up in Korea. But I remember everyone’s ears pricked up to this radio live report: Neil Armstrong was stepping down on the surface of the moon and we got all excited about this historical event of 1969.
But I hear there are people who believe that the Moon landing was just a Hollywood showcase and that the US Government has been lying to us for 40 years now.
We still deal with the aftermath of 9/11 and the wars after that tragedy are still not finished. But if you go online, there are conspiracy theories arguing that the collapse of the twin towers was an act of controlled demolition orchestrated by government officials of this country. Wow…
Also in Korea, there are some people, especially young ones, who do not believe that there was Korean War at all. Again, wow.
Throughout history, the same thing has been true with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are many people who think the resurrection was fake. Some people have argued that Jesus’ body was stolen by someone. If that was true, how would you explain what happened later on: how did the disappointed disciples after Jesus’ death go back to Jerusalem and later give their lives for the Gospel of the resurrection? Could it just happen? I personally cannot make that connection. What would have been their motivation?
From the very beginning, there have been many folks who did not want to recognize the risen Christ Jesus.
John Lennon of the Beatles once said: “Christianity will go… We’re more popular than Jesus now.” Now, John Lennon has been gone since 1980 but Christianity is still going! And it is going strong in many parts of the world.
Six weeks from today, I will be going to East Africa to do some volunteer teaching for ministers there.
As you can imagine, people’s lives in that part of the world are tough; resources like water and food are so scarce that people are always hungry and thirsty. The living conditions are beyond your imagination.
But one thing I saw last time was this: churches are on fire. People love Jesus. People give their lives to God. People experience the power of the Holy Spirit. People are healed from their illnesses. There are miracles happening in people’s lives.
God is not done with the world. God reveals himself in the works of millions of people who are followers of Jesus Christ in every corner of this planet.
When I was in Uganda six years ago, many pastors had more than one church because churches were growing and there were not enough pastors. The majority of them give their lives with no pay; they want to learn; they have this hunger for education; they have the desire for the Bible and theological education.
By the time I come back from this trip, I know I will be exhausted physically, but I will be much stronger spiritually.
I want to go there not just for the people, but for my own spiritual formation. I want to be challenged; I want to be energized; I want to be empowered by the spirit of God; I want to be refilled by the power of the risen Christ that is among those Christian men and women who, despite all the difficulties they face, never give up their hope and continue to work to spread the Gospel.
I believe they are the true role models of Christian faith in this day and age. How can you give your lives without even getting paid? Do you think it is possible without the conviction of faith? Do you think it is possible without the presence of the risen Christ?
In Luke 24: 13-35, two disciples are on their way home to Emmaus. They were like retreating German soldiers after World War II dragging their feet with their heads down. Even though they had heard from some women about Jesus’ resurrection, they said, “No, it can’t be true.” “No, I don’t believe it.” “Get real; it is done; we are going home.” No hope, no dream; the only thing they had were regrets and disappointments.
But Jesus was not done with them. Jesus was there walking with them even though they did not recognize him. Jesus was reminding them of the biblical promises about himself, the messiah. And it was when they sat down and broke the bread with them that they recognized it was Jesus. Coming right back to Jerusalem, they realized they were not the only ones that Jesus had revealed himself to.
Before, everyone was disappointed; everyone was down; everyone was hurt; everyone was broken; everyone was sad; everyone thought it was all over. Now, after that evening, everyone was joyful; everyone was convinced; everyone was rejuvenated; everyone was hopeful; everyone was ready to do anything even though they would not get paid.
Folks, here is the bottom line: God is not done with us. Our life hangs in the balance of whether we believe in the resurrection or not.
I know American churches are struggling; I know churches here are all dragging their feet just like those disciples who were heading to Emmaus.
But Jesus is here with us; the risen Christ is walking and talking with us in every step of our life.
God is not done with us. Your life and my life can become transformed by the same power of Jesus Christ who transformed the disciples 2000 years ago and many others these days in many parts of the world.
The future of your life and my life, and the future of all the churches can not only become changed but we can also transform this world… Not by our power but by the power of Jesus Christ who is the Lord of all.
God is not done yet. Because of that, God is calling you and me to open our eyes and open our hearts so that we recognize Jesus, the risen Christ, not just with our heads, but in our hearts and minds and in lives and actions.
Every Sunday should be Easter; the joy and excitement of Easter should be our everyday experience. It is what God wants from us; He wants us to recognize His presence no matter where we are.
Church! Before this service, I am sure that some of you came here with doubts and uncertainties about your faith. But now and after this moment, I hope and pray that we have this unwavering faith in the risen Christ so that we not only live a new life in faith but we can also share this good news of Jesus Christ with others in this world.
Christ is not done with us; he is walking with us reminding and empowering us with his presence.