Series: This Thing Called Church
Sermon: Because I Said So
Scripture Readings: Luke 24:25-31, Luke 24:44-49
Then Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49)
Monday May 7 — Ephesians 2:17-22
The household of God—also known in the New Testament as the Church—is built upon a sturdy foundation of God’s people throughout history, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. (See Psalm 118:22, Luke 20:17, and Acts 4:11.) When we think about why the Church exists, we remember that, from the very beginning, God has called people into community, and we know that the Church is built upon the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The Church began with Jesus. When you think of the Church, what images come to mind? What is the Church? Where did the Church begin? To whom does the Church belong? What does the Church mean to you?
• Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for adopting me into your household. Teach me how to be faithful in the world today and every day. Amen.
Tuesday May 8 — Luke 5:1-11
The community of God that is built upon the cornerstone of Jesus Christ began when Jesus started calling disciples to follow him. Jesus’ encounter with Simon (Peter), James, and John reveals several truths about the Church. The Church is made up of people who answer the call of Jesus and leave everything else behind to follow him. The Church’s reason for existence is to “catch people” (Luke 5:10). And the Church accomplishes its mission when it does what Jesus says to do. (Notice that the disciples did not catch any fish until they did what Jesus told them to do.) How does this story connect with your personal experience? Have you answered Jesus’ call? Are you engaged in the ministry of “catching people”? Are you willing to do what Jesus tells you to do?
• Prayer: Almighty God, I hear the voice of Jesus calling me. Grant me the courage to trust you and leave everything to follow him. Amen.
Wednesday May 9 — Luke 24:1-7, 34, Acts 20:7
Christians are Easter people. The primary worship services in most Christian churches are held on Sundays because it was on the first day of the week that the tomb was discovered empty and the Good News was announced for the very first time: He has risen! (Luke 24:5, 34). Death did not have the last word. On Easter Day God gets the last word. Where were you when you first heard the Good News of Easter? What does it mean to you that Christians are Easter people?
• Prayer: God of Resurrection, remind me of the Good News that Jesus Christ is alive, and that he is with me today and always. Amen.
Thursday May 10 — Luke 24:13-35
Luke’s account of Jesus’ Easter appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus provides an outline for the worship of the Church: word and table. On the first day of the week, the risen Jesus interpreted Scripture and then broke bread with the disciples—and their eyes were opened. When we gather to worship, we interpret Scripture, we break bread together, and we know that the risen Christ is with us. How fully are you aware of the presence of the risen Christ in the worship services of the Church? What practices of Christian faith increase your awareness of God’s presence in your daily life?
• Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, for his death and resurrection, and for the opportunity to worship in his presence. Amen.
Friday May 11 — Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:44-49, John 20:21-23
The witness of the Gospels is clear: the resurrected Jesus commissioned his disciples to continue in ministry after he ascended into heaven. The mission of the Church—proclaiming repentance and forgiveness, making disciples by baptizing and teaching—comes from Jesus. As the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12), the Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the ministry of Jesus in the world. In what ways do you participate in the mission and the ministry of the Church? In what ways do you fulfill Jesus’ commission?
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me when I resist your call and fail to participate fully in the mission and ministry of your Church. Amen.
Saturday May 12 — Ephesians 1:15-23
Like most first century epistles, the letter to the Ephesians includes a prayer in its opening verses. The prayer is that the Ephesian Christians will receive God’s wisdom and power, which was demonstrated in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. It is the resurrection of Jesus that makes it possible for Jesus to be the head of the Church, which has become Jesus’ earthly body in the world. What does it mean for you to be a member of the body of the risen Christ? What does it mean for you that Jesus is the head of the body of Christ? In what ways do you experience God’s resurrection power?
• Prayer: God of love, I am ready and willing to be a member of the body of Christ in the world. Fill me with resurrection power. Amen.