Sermon – 3rd Sunday of Easter – 05-01-2022
Psalm 30; Acts 9:1-20; Revelations 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
Good Morning, one and all. Our Psalm is that of a central “thank you,” and a reminder that we don’t just pray and give our Lord petitions, we also say thank you in response to what he does. It is also a reminder that not everyone is healed, but when it happens, it should acknowledged. I used to be a Chaplain for the Round Rock Police Dept, and often an officer or detective or civilian might come up to me and ask for a prayer for a promotion or for someone in their family and in need of healing prayers, or a situation in their family and I said ok, let’s pray. They would look around and say something like, “You mean now and here,” and I would say, “Yes of course.” In variably they would catch me in the hallway and tell me how things worked out. So, I would say “Let’s pray and thank the Lord for giving you an answer to your prayer, because if was in His will for you to received a blessing, that’s what He does.” After a few of those times, the word spread that if they asked for prayers, this is how it worked. For the Christians, and there were quite a few of them, they embraced this approach, because of this Psalm this morning. Notice, I said if it was in His will? I’m sure Paul probably kept his pain in his side, a physical problem, but God did not heal him of that. So no matter what we pray for, we ought to at least say, “thank you,” for simply listening to us. In this case, David prayed that his body would be healed and the response would be his praising God from near death. We all should all develop our relationship with Him daily, because He loves us so much and wants to be part of our lives every day.
From Acts, we read the “Conversion of Saul of Tausas,” who became Paul, Jesus’ Apostle. Remember to read this entirely, but I will condense the story in this sermon for timeliness. Saul has gone to the High Priest to gain warrants to arrest man or women of, “The Way,” and carry them to Jerusalem. Along the way to Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around, and he fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” The men with Saul were speechless, as they heard a sound, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind and did not eat or drink. There was a man named Ananias and Jesus spoke to him in a vision telling him to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. Go to him as he is praying, and place his hands on him to restore his sight. Ananias was fearful, as he had heard of Saul and all that he did to people of “The Way.” The Lord said to Ananias to go to my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings, and the people of Israel will I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Ananias went immediately and did as he was instructed and Ananias laid hands upon him. He called him Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus whom appeared to you on the road has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, the scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Paul spent several days and then began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
So, Jesus say that Saul was effectively and aggressively attacking His people, so Jesus stopped him on that road and put him in a state of blindness, had his people lead him into Damascus and allowed him to stay blind for three days, and then took a true believer (Ananias) to go to him to prepare him for becoming one of Jesus’ strongest supporters. He took him blindness away, baptized him, and then gave him the gift of the Holy Spirit, with a mission to evangelize Gentiles, and that he did so very well. It took some time before people trusted Paul, but he did not disappoint them or Jesus either. He worked tirelessly to take the message of salvation out into the world and to train others to do the same thing. Once he began to preach in the synagogues, he proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God. Isn’t this pretty much how it happened to you, right? Even if your own conversion is not as famous as Paul’s was, it is no less important, but we are to take this free gift out into the world for others to feel God’s Presence and to begin to serve Him as well.
Today, we read from Revelations about the “One who was the Lamb and the only One who was worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for god from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have make them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.” And then the voices of thousands upon thousands of angels in a loud voice sing: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” The Lamb is Jesus, the One who was slain, for our sins but was Resurrected to life. There is so much more in Revelations and people are always calling for someone to explain it to them, but God has already given the explanation beloved. As in any scripture, before you read, praying for God to open the meaning for you and He will do so. Jesus will open the seals and the 6th seal releases the Antichrist on earth, but if you do not read His Word, it will be hard for you to not succumb to the false Christ. Be ready and prepared.
Our Gospel from John Is the final time Jesus is seen with His disciples, until the 7th and final seal is opened and He returns in all of His glory. He ate a meal of fish and bread, enjoying His time with them and then he reaffirmed Peter in his role a leader. He reminded them all that the work they had been doing was to continue, until they were in the kingdom. He neither confirmed or denied they would all but one die a horrific death. He will return, but didn’t say when; He did say how much God loved them and the work they have done an were going to continue doing their vital work, and this beloved, is exactly what we are to be doing ourselves. We are to continue the work that we have been called to do. Amen