Often, after preaching a sermon you feel like you could’ve conveyed aspects of the sermon much better. This is another one of those times. I’ve been asked to elaborate.
In the sermon on Luke 24 and Jesus’ resurrection I highlighted, not exhausted, a few points for reflection. As is the case most of the time, sermons cannot address the questions some have as they listen, and perhaps listen to something different than what they’re accustomed. The three points I highlighted were the timing, nature, and purpose of the resurrection of Jesus. These three are definitely not addressing all of the angles from Scripture concerning Jesus’ resurrection.
The idea I attempted to convey about the timing of Jesus’ resurrection was not relevant to Luke’s Gospel the same way it was relevant to us. The timing of Jesus’ resurrection was important for Luke’s Gospel but it served purposes other than what I was getting at Sunday. The idea I proposed was a broad sweeping idea. The Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century propelled Western society into a mindset that progress with the human story was now on an upward trajectory due to reason and individualism. Philosophers had major impact on the West that continues rippling through cultural belief. Particular aspects include the rationales concerning freedom, human rights, liberty, etc. These aspects, among others, are noble and their origins can be traced back to Biblical influence. However, the Bible and its narrative have suffered because of the Age of Enlightenment. Thomas Jefferson is understood to have had an Epicurean like worldview. He dismissed the idea that Jesus was a miracle worker, healing people, casting out demons, and walking on water, to name a few. Jefferson did like Jesus’ moral teaching though. If Jefferson did not recognize the Gospel accounts as being legitimate narratives regarding how God’s kingdom was launched through Jesus ministry and especially Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, then Jefferson was dismissing an incredibly massive mountain landscape that still stands in plain view today. Jesus’ resurrection is that landscape that informs us of God’s intention for real human progress. Ironically, the Age of Enlightenment, hasn’t been the source of enlightenment for the Biblical story, which locates Jesus’ ministry at the heart of human progress.
Jesus did launch the kingdom of God in His lifetime. Many today oppose this fact, replacing it with a slanted version or a completely different worldview altogether. Many think that Jesus’ kingdom isn’t coming until sometime in the future. This is one reason why the timing of Jesus’ resurrection matters so much. God has a plan for humanity and it began with Jesus, not an era 1700 years later. God’s plan was for Jesus’ governance to have its intended effect; to redeem (save) the world through love instead of brutality and corruption, to transform human life through faith and peace and not oppression.
More on this aspect Lord willing…