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Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

Luke 24:30-45 & John 20:19-25 by Robert Dean

You’ve wronged someone and you confess and are forgiven. Does that mean there are no more consequences? Listen to this message to hear about the importance of forgiveness in all our lives and the results of being forgiven. Find out that Jesus appeared to Peter in private after His resurrection and forgave Peter for having denied Him three times. Hear details on how Cleopas and the other disciple that Jesus joined on the road to Emmaus recognized Him when He gave thanks for the bread and broke it. Learn what it means to “bless God”.

The combined Scripture reading for this lesson is available in the Notes link below.

Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:48 mins 8 secs

Resurrection Evidence; Resurrection Bodies
Luke 24:30–45; John 20:19–25
Matthew Lesson #198
April 29, 2018

Opening Prayer

“Father, we’re thankful that You revealed Yourself to us. As we study Your Word and probe it and think about it, reflect on it, we are amazed who You are—beyond our comprehension. Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts and Your ways are not our ways.

“Father, You have revealed Yourself to us that we can understand You to some degree. And Father, we must respond like Isaiah, “Woe is me, a man of unclean lips,” that we are indeed unclean. We are all sinners, but You have in Your love redeemed us.

“You have paid the sin penalty for us by sending Your Son, and because of Him the debt is paid. By trusting in Him, we are cleansed of sin, positionally forgiven, and we are adopted into Your family.

“Father, we’re thankful for all that You have given us. We pray that as we study today and reflect upon our resurrected Savior, that our faith is not a faith that is based upon some mystical insight, some non-demonstrable event.

“But there is evidence so that we do not park our brains and turn them off, but we understand that there was tremendous evidence—“many convincing proofs” as Luke says in Acts 1—and that our faith therefore is a faith that is rational, that is based upon an understanding of that which was revealed, and that it is guaranteed by God the Holy Spirit to be true.

“We pray that You help us to understand the glories of this resurrection. In Christ’s name, amen.”

Slide 2

Turn with me to Luke 24:30–45. We will also look some at John 19.

Slide 3

One of the things I want to do before we get into the Word is talk a little bit about some things that happened while we were in Washington, DC. One of the things was Representative Louis Gohmert; he’s from the Texas District 1, which is mostly East Texas. I met him a number of years ago at an AIPAC event in DC. He has spoken here at this church in the past. He is a strong defender of the Constitution, and he is a solid believer.

He is one of the few congressmen who does not maintain a separate residence in Washington, DC. He sleeps in his office, he showers down in the gym that’s provided there for congressmen. He flies home almost every weekend on Friday, flies back Sunday night, and he teaches his Sunday School class.

I had arranged this back in the early Fall and it was just us, but in the meantime, there was another church that came along and was going to be there for the same reason—to go to the Museum of the Bible, and they wanted him to give them a tour. It’s his home church from Tyler, so they were with us on the trip, so that was great.

Also, some folks from Dan Inghram’s church joined us. One of his deacons, the Chairman of the Board, is Scott Craig, who is a graduate of Texas A&M, and one of his classmates and close buddies was Louis Gohmert. So, it was kind of an old home week, a lot of people renewing acquaintances and friendships.

Gohmert gave us a great tour of the Capitol building, and it was four hours long. His knowledge of the history of the Capitol, knowledge of history, is really tremendous, and we had a great time.

Slide 4

This is Statuary Hall, which is just to the south of the rotunda. It is a room that has statues all around it. Every state is able to have two statues in the Capitol. Texas’ two statues are Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin.

This room was not always a room to place statues. The Senate actually met there at an early stage in the use of the Capitol. What most people do not know and would be surprised to hear is that two years before the Congress met there, this room was first used as the meeting place for a church starting in 1795.

It was approved to be used as a church by both the House and the Senate, and Thomas Jefferson at the time was the President of the Senate. He was Vice President at the time, but he had already been elected president.

What’s significant about this is that Thomas Jefferson is the one who wrote the letter to the Baptist church in Danbury several years later, where he used the phrase “separation of church and state,” which has been co-opted and distorted by the liberal Supreme Court to indicate that there would be a wall of separation, and many people think that that’s in the Constitution.

By looking at Jefferson’s actions, we come to understand what he meant. He wasn’t protecting government from the influence of the church; he was protecting the church from the influence of the government. He believed it was totally consistent with his views that a church could meet on government property.

The church met in the Capitol building for a number of years before the War of 1812, and then, of course, the Capitol was partially burned by the British during the War of 1812. Then after it was restored, the church met there from 1816 until sometime in the 1870s. In 1856 the size of the church was 2,000 members.

Two thousand Christians met there every single Sunday, and by that time there were many other churches. When the church first started there, there were no other churches in Washington, DC. So initially, it was because there was no other place to meet, and they needed a church. Then later there were many more churches in DC, but that continued to be there.

Slide 5

After the church at the Capitol, we went to the Museum of the Bible. We found out while we were there that there was another exhibit in the Capitol area at the National Geographic Museum. There was an exhibit called the Tomb of Christ, which fits with what we have been studying with the crucifixion and the resurrection.

When we studied about the location of the crucifixion, the resurrection and the tomb, I said that these are now enclosed within the confines of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

There is tremendous historical and archaeological validation for that being the site of the crucifixion and the resurrection—that the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea was located right near that site.

In 1808, there was a fire that destroyed whatever had previously covered the tomb area. It was repaired and replaced 200 years ago with what is called an Aedicule. It looks like a tent, but it’s a solid structure, and it is inside one of the domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

It has fallen into bad repair, so two years ago they sent in teams of archaeologists and others who work with ancient things and restoration. They used thermographic imagery, ground penetrating radar, infrared—every tool they have available today—to scan almost every atom in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

More was found out about it than has really ever been known and discovered. Some of you have been with me to Israel and part of what I was corrected on is (I have been told by numerous people and it has been widely held) that when the tomb of Christ—that area—was destroyed by the Fatimid Caliph in 1009, it was just leveled to the ground. That’s not precisely true.

They took down a lot of it, but enclosed in the masonry of the Aedicule are the remains of the original wall of the tomb, up to about 4 or 5 feet in height. There’s one place inside the actual tomb itself where they put a glass panel in the wall, and you can actually look around and see part of the original cave wall. It is quite interesting.

Slide 6

I don’t agree with their diagram completely here on the basis of what other archaeologists and maps and other things show, but they do have some things here. This is a wide shot. I’ll zoom-in in a minute.

Here is the tomb area [points to the circle on the left of the slide], which was the garden tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and this is where Golgotha was located [points to circle near the middle of the slide]. They have it somewhat of a hill [points to ground area beneath the circle on the left]. I think it was more solid. I think it was at ground level by the road, and that’s what many archaeologists have said. This part of it is not what they were investigating.

What’s interesting is not only do you have the tomb of Joseph, but based on what’s there now, there were a series of other tombs from that same period all through this area and these walls. If this is Golgotha [points to center circle], then this area out here [points to area beneath center circle] would be in what’s the courtyard, and underneath that, through the use of ground penetrating radar, they’ve discovered a number of other tombs.

This whole area was the original rock quarry that started during the early phase of Herod’s rebuilding of the Temple Mount. It was not solid stone, so they just abandoned it—at which point it became an area for a graveyard, and that’s why they cut tombs into the side walls of that quarry. It gives you an idea here.

Slide 7

What surprises people, when we walk into the main entry of the church that’s there now—which was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century—this is only 140 feet from the crucifixion to the tomb. Both of them are in that one church; they are very, very close together.

Slide 8

This is the Aedicule, which is a fabulous cutaway picture. As you can see, you walk into this outer chamber [points to area with multi-colored mosaic floor], which is called the Chapel of the Angel because there was an angel who was sitting on the rock, the stone that was rolled away from the door.

This is the outer chapel, the Chapel of the Angel, then you go through a very narrow passageway [moves cursor to the left], then you’re inside the tomb [area to the left of the Chapel of the Angel with the white slab surface]. This is a marble slab; underneath that marble slab, what they discovered when they were doing all of the restoration, was the actual stone ledge where the body of Christ would have laid.

I’ve been told before that you’re basically looking at a marble slab that was put there because everything else was gone, was destroyed by the Moslems in 1009, so that’s not exactly true.

Slide 9

This is the main dome; here’s the Aedicule over here [points to Rotunda in the circular area]. Here’s the outer courtyard [labeled Courtyard on the slide], the main entry into the chapel. This is a rock area where you can see the rock of Golgotha [labeled Golgotha on the slide]. But according to Joel Kramer and some other archaeologists, this is probably the area where the crucifixion took place [points to the semi-circular area to the right of the red area labeled Kathoukon]. Because as they built the church, they built one dome over the site of the grave. They would not have built the other dome anywhere else but over the site where the crucifixion had been.

All this goes back to the church that was built by Constantine in AD 350, which was built over the site of a temple to Aphrodite that was built by Hadrian. He destroyed all the Jewish and Christian holy sites and built a temple to Jupiter over the site of the temple, so basically, he marked the spots for us. There is strong evidence for this.

Slide 10

This is a cutaway of the whole Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Slide 11

This is a diagram showing what they believe the tomb looked like. Here’s the stone that rolled across the entrance. This was the area where the ledge or shelf is where the body would have been lain. This is where you’d have the angel sitting on the stone outside. When Mary and His other disciples went in, they saw the two angels, one at the head and one at the foot. This gives you their idea.

Slide 12

This is what it looks like today: this is the marble slab that is over the ledge where the body of Jesus would have lain.

That gives you a little bit of an idea of what that looks like, in case you ever go. If you get a chance to go to Washington, DC and go to this, it’s incredible. They have a virtual reality because they were able to film in high definition every aspect of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and you put on a helmet and you’re there. You can look at things and go places that you can never look at or go to if you’re actually there. It was just tremendous.

There were three other pastors on the trip, all of whom have been there, and all of whom were absolutely stunned by this whole exhibit. It was just phenomenal. Some who are here and were on the trip went through it as well.

Slide 13

After the resurrection of Christ, we looked at His first appearance, which was to Mary. Then He apparently ascended to the Father before there was the second appearance, which was to the other women who had gone to the tomb.

Last week we looked at His appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. We will finish that this morning and go into the fourth appearance, the appearance to Peter, which is a private appearance. We know He appeared to Peter; this was when He forgives Peter. It must have been an extremely, just a poignant moment for Peter meeting with the Lord. Then He appears to the Ten.

Slide 14

We saw that Mark 16:12–13 just summarizes this appearance on the road to Emmaus. “After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

The point I keep making is the disciples were not ready to accept the resurrection; they didn’t believe it. When the body was not found, when they discovered the tomb was empty, they thought the body had been stolen. They were not in a position where they were trying to put forth a hoax. They didn’t believe it at all.

Even when Jesus appears, they don’t expect it, they think it’s a ghost. They don’t think it’s the resurrected Jesus because this is not something that they’re ready to accept yet. He had to demonstrate—as Luke says in Acts 1—through many convincing proofs that He had indeed been resurrected and raised from the dead.

Slide 15

The setting, Luke 24:13–14: two of them were traveling to a village called Emmaus, which is about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they’re going along, these two men are trying to process everything that has happened during the last week and the crucifixion.

They’re extremely disappointed because they believed Jesus was the Messiah. Now that has been shattered, and they have lost their hope in the redemption of Israel.

Slide 16

We learn that Jesus appears to them and talks to them, but they don’t see anything distinctive about that body. They don’t recognize Him, but His resurrection body doesn’t appear to be anything distinctive, so the first thing we learned about a resurrection body was it appears to be a normal human body and had all of the functions of the normal human body.

Slide 17

As Jesus goes along, He begins to ask them questions, Luke 24:17: What are you talking about? Why are you so upset? What’s going on?

Slide 18

The first one to talk to Him is Cleopas, and he incredulously said, Luke 24:17, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?

Slide 19

Jesus responds in Luke 24:25 after they’ve described their hope for Jesus, who He was, and what had happened, He says to them, “O foolish ones ...” Biblically a foolish person is someone who does not pay attention to the Word of God or learn from the Word of God. He says, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe ...”

They have believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but they haven’t believed in the resurrection yet. They are saved, but they’re like many believers, they are growing. They come to the Scriptures and they read and hear things, and they just don’t quite comprehend it yet, so they don’t believe it. That doesn’t mean they’re not saved at this point. They’re just confused and trying to put everything together.

As we concluded last time, I pointed out that what Jesus is emphasizing here is the same thing He will emphasize when He appears to the Ten. Luke 24:26, He says, “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?

Notice what He is doing: as He is addressing their confusion and their doubt and their disappointment and the sorrow that they’re feeling, He focuses them on what the Scripture says because it is the Word of God which stabilizes us and gives us answers.

Then He gave them a Bible class on Christology—what the Old Testament taught about the Messiah.

Luke 24:27, He began with “… Moses, and all the Prophets—meaning He went through all of the Old Testament—He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

Not just the death, burial and resurrection, but all the things. He gave them a complete course, and they are astounded with His ability to handle the Scripture.

Slide 20

I concluded last time with “What would you focus on? How would you summarize what the Old Testament taught? What were the key events that you would go through? What passages would you go through?” I gave you ten prophecies to think about to put that together, out of over 100 prophecies.

It’s important to be able to synthesize things down in the Scriptures, so that you can help people who don’t know the Scriptures very well to understand them.

That’s part of what the Museum of the Bible has done. There’s been criticism, I think not fairly, of the fact that they don’t go into a lot of detail on what’s in the Bible. They are not a Museum of Christianity. They’re not a museum of Christ.

They are talking about the Bible, primarily the history of the Bible, the impact of the Bible. But what they want to do—their goal and objective—is to create an environment that stimulates curiosity for those who come who don’t know anything about the Bible to go read the Bible.

I compare it to what happened at the beginning of the Reformation. The Bible was translated into the vernacular of the people: you now had a German Bible, an English Bible, a French Bible. You now had other languages, the Bible in their own language. People begin to read it for themselves in their own language, and that was part of the spark that ignited the Reformation. People learned the gospel.

That’s the idea of the founders here. They are not trying to hammer people with the gospel. Initially, I think they did have an evangelistic purpose, but you have to understand that when they first started, they were going to have a little small museum that was going to be in Dallas.

Then they began to think, “We have more. We have to go bigger. We have to think grander. We have to refine what our purpose and our goals are.” And as they did that, they came up with their stated goal to get people to engage with the Bible.

They have an Old Testament section which has different rooms that you walk through, and they do a very good job of what we used to call “a walk through the Bible,” which was a very good tool.

I went through several of these after I got out of seminary, and they were very good for synthesizing the major events and to give people the big picture of how all the events in the Old Testament fit together, so that when you read it, you have a framework within which to put the details.

Then they have another display that’s about the world of Jesus, what it was like in Nazareth. It is very similar—if you’ve been to Israel and gone to the Nazareth village—it is similar to that.

They have a New Testament film that began with John the Apostle in a cave in Patmos, and he’s writing the Gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word …” and he recites key versus from the first chapter. He doesn’t explain the gospel, but he cites some gospel verses that are present there.

The clearest expression of the gospel at the museum was a display in the section on the Bible in American History, and they had a good film on George Whitfield. It was animated, and they had a lot of quotes, and they would put all the quotes up on the screen.

One of the statements Whitfield makes in a sermon, and the verse they put up on the wall is “Unless you’re converted you will not see the Kingdom of God.” That was the clearest gospel presentation in the museum.

It had many, many other things, and it gave you a good synthesis of Acts in the film on the New Testament. It summarized that. It’s important to be able to have those kinds of synthesis-type structures so that you can plug in the details.

It’s like if you had a big closet and you didn’t have any coat hangers, all the details in the closet, all your clothes would just be on the floor. You have to have key points like coat hangers to hang your clothes on and to organize things, and that’s what you do in this kind of synthesis.

We’re going to move on beyond what Jesus said; they still don’t know who He is, and He is acting as if He’s going to continue on His journey.

Slide 21

Luke 24:28–29, “… He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him ...”

They have been just overwhelmed, I’m sure, with what He had said. As they described it later, “Our heart burned within us,” an idiom that they were just overwhelmed with what He was saying. The heart refers to their thinking; He was just stimulating their thinking as He went through all the Old Testament passages related to who He was.

They still haven’t recognized Him, so they implore Him, Luke 24:29, “Abide with us—stay with us—for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” It’s about to be dark; it’s not safe to travel; come stay with us, eat with us.

Slide 22

He’s invited to come in, and so He sits at the table with them, and in Luke 24:30, “Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them.”

The first thing that He does is that He takes the bread, and He is going to give a traditional Jewish blessing. He is acting as if He is the host, He is acting as if He is the one who is in charge, and they are allowing Him to do that.

He would have recited the typical Jewish blessing over the bread, which means, “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” That is a pretty standard blessing that you will hear if you go into a Jewish home, especially if they are Orthodox, this is what they will recite.

It is a blessing that has its origin back before the time of Christ. Notice that in their blessing of the food, they are not asking that God would bless the food; they are blessing God. That doesn’t mean that they are telling God something. The word “bless” means “to give something beneficial, something gracious, something good” to someone.

Of course, we can’t give anything like that to God, but it is also an idiom for praise. So when it says in the psalms, “Blessed are you, O God,” we should understand that to mean “praises should be to You, O God. May You be praised.” That’s the idiom. So, when God is the object of the verb “to bless,” it means to praise Him.

In the blessing for the food, “Blessed are You, O Lord our God,” they are praising God, and one form of praise is to give thanks. They are giving thanks to God because He has brought forth bread, food from the earth, and provided for them.

In Jewish thought, one does not bless the food nor ask God to bless the food; one blesses God who has provided the food. One gives thanks to God.

Slide 23

1 Timothy 4:4–5 is really the basis for our giving thanks as New Testament Christians for food. Paul writes to Timothy, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.”

He is talking about food, and therefore we receive it with thanksgiving. When we pray before a meal, the focal point is to give thanks to God—that is blessing God. That is what was going on in a Jewish prayer of blessing.

Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:5, “… for it is sanctified …” Sanctified in the Greek, HAGIAZO, means to be set apart to God. We are thanking God. We pray that He would sanctify the food—that is, set it apart for us to strengthen us and give us the nourishment we need in order to serve Him in every area of our life. With our work, with our recreation, with all the different things that we do in life, we are to be servants of God. So, we give thanks to Him for giving us the food, the strength, the nourishment in order to serve Him.

It was normal in a Jewish home for the host to be the one to break the bread and to pray, so this is completely out of order. Jesus takes it upon Himself, and they allow Him to because He has functioned as a rabbi, basically, along the way—as one in authority, opening up the Word of God to them.

As a result of that He has demonstrated His wisdom and His understanding of the Scripture. This is out of order, but they allow Him to do that. As Luke 24:30 says, “… He took bread, blessed and broke it …

A little later on after the two disciples go to Jerusalem to the other disciples, Luke 24:35, “And they told about the things that happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

It’s not like all of a sudden God removes the blinders. When Jesus, in a position of authority, gives thanks for the bread and then He breaks it, there’s something in the way He did this that all of a sudden they realize Who this is in front of them. At that point, they recognize Him.

Slide 24

In Jewish tradition, it was taught according to Berakhot 6:1, “The one who recites the blessing before eating stretches forth his hand first to partake of the food. But if he wished to give the honor of partaking first to his teacher or to one who is greater than he in the mastery of Torah, he may do so.”

In other words, though the host has the responsibility to do this, if they want to allow someone else to do it, it would go to someone who’s a master of the Torah, who has taught them Scripture, so this fits within Jewish custom.

Slide 25

The second thing we learn here about the resurrection body is that in His resurrection body, Jesus is able to eat. He’s going to do it twice in the passage we’re looking at. He eats with them, and then when He appears to the ten disciples, He is going to eat fish again. He’s demonstrating that this resurrection body functions in many ways like our normal flesh-and-bone body today.

Slide 26

When they see Him break the bread, Luke 24:31, “Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.”

Slide 27

This brings up a third observation on the resurrection body—that it is able to materialize and de-materialize at will. While it looks, appears, and can function in many ways like a normal human body, there are capabilities that go beyond our normal human body today.

Slide 28

Now we see the reaction of these two disciples after Jesus vanishes. Luke 24:32, “And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us ...’ ” What they’re talking about is “Our brains were on overload. We were processing going through so much. It was amazing!”

As I was studying on this the other day, I thought about when I had gone to, what I showed you earlier, that demonstration, that exhibit at the National Geographic Museum. For the next three or four hours after I went through that, I was just amazed. It just kept going over and over in my mind, replaying it. I just learned so much; it was phenomenal. That’s what happens! You’ve gone through that. You just feel overwhelmed with the content of something that you’ve learned.

That’s what they’re overwhelmed with: the eyes have been opened to the truth of the Scripture. They’re so excited about it, they got up and immediately went back to Jerusalem, seven miles, about two hours. It probably took them an hour and 15 minutes or less. They were in a hurry to get there before it got too late to find the Eleven and those who are with them.

Here it says the Eleven. This is one of those things that people get a little confused about. Who are the Eleven? Some people say, “Well, this is all but Judas because Judas has already hung himself.” But then that would include Thomas, and we know that that’s the next appearance. That’s the seventh appearance when Jesus appears to Thomas.

I believe that the title that you hear all the way through the Gospels—even after this, John will use it as well after Judas is gone—he still calls them the Twelve. That was their name. That was the name of the team. It’s the Twelve. Even when there weren’t twelve, they were still called the Twelve.

When Judas was gone, Luke changes it and calls them the Eleven. That doesn’t mean all eleven are there, but that’s the team. Thomas wasn’t there, so I think that best explains the shift in terminology that we see in the difference in the Gospels.

They find the Eleven minus Thomas, Luke 24:33, “and those who were with them gathered together.” It’s not just the original disciples that will become apostles. It’s others, and they are going to tell their story.

Slide 29

As Luke tells it, we learn of a fourth appearance, and that is to Peter. Apparently either before or after Jesus appeared to the two on the road to Emmaus, He appeared privately to Peter.

Luke 24:34–35, when the two from Emmaus get there and tell them that they saw the Lord, the eleven that are there “saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’ ” Then the two from Emmaus “… told about the things that had happened on the road …” They’re all excited talking about everything that they have learned.

Slide 30

The only other reference to this private appearance to Peter is in 1 Corinthians 15:5 and there it simply says “… that He was seen by Cephas.” This is the fourth appearance.

What must that appearance have been like? For Peter had betrayed the Lord. He had sworn three times that He would never do it. “It won’t happen, Lord. Not me.” And yet He did; he betrayed the Lord. He must have felt overwhelming guilt.

The Lord appears to Him in private, and we can surmise what happens. He confesses his sin and the Lord forgives Him, because the next time we see the Lord and Peter together, it’s when Peter is fishing up in Galilee, later on in John 21.

We learn something from that, that this intimacy that occurs in confession and forgiveness is private. Sin is between us and the Lord, and that forgiveness is between us and the Lord.

There’s one thing that came to my mind, as I’m contemplating this: what’s Peter learning here? He’s learning about forgiveness.

Some people have a hard time with forgiveness. Maybe you have a hard time with forgiveness. Maybe you think, “Some people have done some things to me and it’s just—I don’t know that I can ever forgive them.”

Slide 31

I think Peter was like that because Peter is the one who asked the question of the Lord back in Matthew 18:21 when the Lord is teaching about forgiveness, and Peter said, “How many times do I have to forgive these people? Once or twice, maybe, but if they keep doing the same thing and they keep on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive them, Lord? Seven times?” Peter’s thinking that ought to be enough.

Matthew 18:22, “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’ ”

That’s an idiom; seven is the number of completion. “Seventy times seven” means indefinitely. You forgive them and you forgive them until you’re out of this life. You never stop forgiving them, and it may be for the same thing.

Remember, there’s a difference between forgiveness and absolving people of consequences. We live in a culture where they don’t always understand that. This always happens when some Christian or someone who has become a Christian in prison is about to be executed for murder, and the family says, “Well, I forgive them.” That’s wonderful.

They have violated the law and there’s a legal penalty. There are consequences. Sometimes those consequences can be commuted. God forgave David of his sin with Bathsheba and his conspiracy to murder her husband Uriah the Hittite. The penalty under the law for what he did was death.

God reduced the sentence to a fourfold punishment. It all would affect David’s family. The baby was going to die, he had one son who was going to rape his half-sister. The third level of punishment was that Absalom would kill the brother who had raped the half-sister. Then Absalom himself would rebel against David.

There were consequences. Was David forgiven? Yes. Were the consequences removed? They were reduced. God gave him grace to handle it.

In life there are times when there are people who have done things to us and they may continue to do things to us, and we are to forgive them. We’re not to harbor mental attitude sins, we’re not to be angry. We are to treat them with grace and kindness whenever we have the opportunity. But that doesn’t mean that you continue to put yourself in a position where they’re going to take advantage of you, abuse you, keep doing it. There may be consequences.

I think of the situation, because this is usually what’s brought up, the case of a marriage where a woman is being abused by her husband, physically abused. “So, I forgive him, I just go back and get beaten over and over again?”

No, you forgive him, and you go live somewhere else. There are consequences. You forgive him because you’re not going to harbor bitterness and anger and resentment against him, but neither are you going to put yourself back in a position where you’re going to be abused and beaten and physically harmed or possibly killed.

There are other things. It’s a complicated situation, but it doesn’t automatically mean that we just become somebody’s punching bag because we’re forgiving them. Forgiveness and consequences are different things.

Peter learns this at that time because he has committed what he thinks is a horrible, horrible sin, and it was. He’s betrayed His Lord, and Jesus forgave Him, and he comes to understand what grace is. That will shape Peter’s ministry for the rest of his life.

Slide 32

The fifth appearance, which is when Jesus appears to the Ten, not including Thomas. There’s a lot covered in this section.

It’s introduced in Mark 16:14, simply summarized, “Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief—this wasn’t a friendly meeting—He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”

We learn here that the disciples are not expecting a risen Savior. They’re not expecting resurrection. They have to be convinced. There’s nothing wrong with having to be convinced.

We will get into the rest of this passage on the fifth appearance and compare it with what’s revealed in John 20 next time.

Closing Prayer

“Father, we’re thankful for this opportunity we have to study Your Word, to reflect upon the lessons here, that Your Word is given with evidence. It is not something we just believe in terms of what some call blind faith.

“There’s no such thing in Scripture as blind faith. There’s no such thing in Scripture as a leap of faith. It is a faith that is grounded in reality, a faith that is grounded in reason, and a faith that is grounded on evidence, and we will see that as we go forward.

“Father, we’re thankful that we have a risen Savior. We’re thankful that we have new life in Christ because He has been raised from the dead, that now He is seated at Your right hand, and that His resurrection is the first fruits for our resurrection, and that we have hope and a future eternity with You because of His resurrection.

“Father, we pray for those who are listening to or reading this message, those who are here or those who are listening on the Internet, that if there’s anyone who has never trusted in Christ as Savior, anyone who has never clearly understood why they can go to Heaven or how they can go to Heaven, that they would understand now that that is simply a matter of choice, a matter of what you believe.

“That only by faith in Christ can we have eternal life. Scripture makes it very clear in the Gospel of John. Over 95 times John says that it is faith. It is to believe in Him, and that these signs are given that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.

“Father, we pray that You will make the gospel clear to those who are listening, and those who need to understand and believe will understand that that is all that is required for salvation.

“Father, we ask that You help us to understand these things and challenge us with the need to know the Scriptures, to know them well, that we can lead others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

“We pray this in His name, amen.”