Reflections for the Week of Sunday April 30, 2017 Third of Easter

Gospel: Luke 24.13-35 tells of the appearance of the risen Christ to two disciples, Cleopas and his friend, on Easter as they were walking to the nearby village of Emmaus. Jesus, risen from the tomb, joined them as a stranger, and told them about how the Scriptures told of His ministry and of the crucifixion and resurrection. They finally recognized Him during supper as He broke the bread and blessed it. Here is one of several powerful personal witnesses to the resurrection. The resurrection is as well documented an historical fact as any other based on the empty tomb and the witness of many different people (cf. 1 Cor 15). The significance of the resurrection is profound. First, it shows that death has been conquered or defeated. Jesus tells us that we too, we believers, will experience the same thing in a two-step process: when we die our spirits go to be with the Lord and when He returns at the Last Day we will be given new bodies and be raised from the dead as Jesus was. His resurrection also a divine affirmation of the truth of what Jesus said during His lifetime and shows Him to be the Anointed King who rules the universe. It shows that the powers of sin, death, and evil have been defeated, and believers have the power to resist evil through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is in this sense that satan is defeated. Christians are no longer under the dominion of the satan but under the dominion of Christ. The resurrection is thought to be the main fact that led to the explosive expansion of Christianity in the first century. Jesus came preaching that with Him the kingdom of God was at hand, and now, with the resurrection, He is commissioning His followers (Including us) to extend the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven to the best of our ability. The Spirit will lead and guide us and reveal to us opportunities to serve as ambassadors for the King. We have the power to express our love and obedience and the fact that there is a new creation defined by the Spirit and that His followers are a new people that reflect His divine nature through the fruit of the Spirit and the beatitudes. By our lives reflecting the light of Christ into the nooks and crannies of the dark world, we can draw people to Him. Our humility, service, meekness, patience, love, forgiveness, chastity, and non-violence reflect a new way of living, a way of true humanity that is dependent on Him and His Spirit. We can offer peace and the power to overcome the tribulation of this world which His Spirit makes possible. It is a winsome way of life that should be attractive in the world suffering under the ruler of the power of the air. Christians are not perfect but when they err, they are enabled by the Spirit to repent and confess their shortcomings and are assured of forgiveness by the Lord. They are members of His family and will not be cast out. The living relationship we can have with Jesus through prayer and the Spirit will empower us to live lives pleasing to Him especially as we seek to be faithful to our new vocation as royal priests, serving Him and worshiping Him in His kingdom, the church. We receive the Spirit by asking Him to come into our lives. “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rm 10.13). John 3 tells of Jesus informing Nicodemus of the need for the Holy Spirit, and Romans 8 tells of the effects of the Spirit in our lives. Christians may experience suffering in this world, but we are assured that the whole creation will be renewed (Rm 8.18-25) and the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared to the joy we will experience in the age to come.

Memory Verse: In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world (J

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