Lent Course – Faith in Crisis

Psalm 73.   Luke 24: 36 – 49

Prayer – Lord may your word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, in Jesus’ name.

Is there a crisis of faith in the UK today?

Many would say “Yes” there is.” The media reflect the changes going on in society.

Ecclesiastes 1:9    “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

The Psalmist recorded the crisis of faith in Judah; the doubts and fears that brought about the invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon. King Zedekiak had turned away from the God of Israel, even the priests were unfaithful. 2 Kings 25: 8-17.2 Chronicles 36: 19, 20.

As I see it the church is changing, not changing the ‘Good News Message’ about Jesus. But the buildings are changing, even here at St Mary’s we undertook a refurbishment of our building in 2006. Through the events I’ve attended over recent years, I hear Christians are using rented community buildings and I’ve been to meetings in brand new churches but they’re not built in the traditional style with high vaulted ceilings, but instead having a worship area with much lower ceiling, comfy chairs and with several  rooms to accommodate extra activities.

The most important fact is that our bodies are the temple of the living God, The Trinity of God’s presence dwelling within the Christian and not in purpose built buildings.

God’s purpose for calling us is to  walk by faith by having a relationship with the Lord.  To trust God and to be dependent upon him as we serve in the body of Christ

In our Gospel reading the ‘Crisis of Faith’ lasted just over three days from the time of Jesus arrest on the evening or beginning of the Day of Preparation to the  day of Jesus’ resurrection. Luke 24: 21.

The disciples had fled when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, they were in fear of being arrested, and after the crucifixion, they gathered together at the house in Jerusalem.

This was a time of great anxiety and stress

On Friday 16th February I attended a Seminar on “Anxiety and Stress” the speaker was Dr Stephen Critchlow he said, “When stress levels rise, it causes a person withdraw from other people.” We can see that Cleopas and the other disciple in their stress left for Emmaus in the early evening.  But the eleven had stayed together in the house at Jerusalem.

All the disciples and followers were in fear of being rounded up as one of his followers by the Romans. This must have been on their minds as they gathered together in the house. How traumatic it must have been to see Jesus beaten and crucified. They probably felt let down by him. Jesus had been popular among the ordinary people, many had wanted to make him their king. But now their relationship with Jesus was broken.

But on this occasion God had allowed the broken relationship between Jesus’ and the disciples to fulfil His purposes.

The Messiah’s Secret Revealed

Before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion God had hidden from the disciples understanding the scriptures that Jesus had to die, be resurrected and ascend into heaven before the Holy Spirit could come into the world.

Even though Jesus had told them he would die and rise on the third day they couldn’t grasp it. Luke 18: 34.

Here in verse 45 we read he opened their minds to understand the scriptures concerning his death and resurrection, but they had to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit in power at Pentecost before they went out with the news of his resurrection.

Relationships are important to God,

The Bible is all about relationships with God: Abraham’s relationship meant that God’s promises to him are still being answered today. Through Abraham, Moses, Jacob and King David and finally through Jesus the nations of the world are being blessed continually.

For Christians in our personal relationship with God our Father, “If God is your co-pilot swap seats,” Let God take control of your life. “Be patient with others as God has been patient with you,” “Give your troubles to God, He’s up all night anyway.”

For any person who has had a traumatic event in a their life, it can lead to cause mental illness as flash backs bring the circumstances continually back into focus, and with it: hurt, and bitterness. Unless we can truly forgive ourselves and those who have maligned us in some way, these flashbacks will continue to over many years.

Many of the soldiers in both world wars and more recently in Afghanistan have experienced the affects of the trauma of war.

Healing through Jesus’ ministry to us.

The Lord showed me in Luke 24 Jesus’ ministry to his disciples where he walked back in time to the events of the trauma:

When the stranger came along side of Cleopas and the other disciple, he indicated that he did not know what had taken place in Jerusalem, so they poured out with him the events they had witnessed; Jesus being delivered up to be condemned to death by their leaders and they handed him over to Pilate and he declared, “We had hoped that he was the one that would redeem Israel.”

Jesus walking back with the two disciples through their trauma  healing took place as he opened up the scriptures, their hearts burned within them. and later their eyes were opened they realised the stranger was Jesus.

The disciples and followers faith in crisis only lasted a short time. Jesus first healed the broken relationship between him, God and all of his disciples.

On the day of resurrection Peter had seen Jesus, so had some of the women, as they were talking in the house Cleopas and the other disciple joined the eleven disciples.  Jesus appeared in the room, they wondered if he was in a spirit form.  He asked them to touch his body, see my hands and feet that would reveal the marks of the nails. It is noticeable that only the flesh and bones are mentioned.

We spiritually discern that there is no blood, red blood cells in his risen body. His blood was poured out at the cross for the forgiveness of the sin of Israelis and for the people of the world.

The invisible God made visible when Jesus was resurrected.

The Incarnation is where Jesus the invisible God was born into this world God becoming visible. Jesus in his resurrection, he is the invisible God made visible. 

All those present rejoiced when they realised it was Jesus.

Jesus’ ministry is to heal the broken-hearted and to give sight to the blind and it’s the churches ministry today. Jesus’ ministry to all his disciples, he healed their broken hearts. Isaiah 61: 1, 2.

Let Jesus walk back to the point of trauma in your own life and ask in prayer for the Lord’s healing touch, through true forgiveness of those who have been involved at the time and confessing our part in it and asking Jesus’ forgiveness for ourselves and any others involved.

Heavenly Father,

We come before you remembering the trauma that we have experienced, we ask you to walk back with us and for your healing touch as we have heard where you healed your disciples of their trauma. In repentance and faith we ask for forgiveness where we have been hurt by others and were we have had a part in it. We ask for your forgiveness and we forgive those who have sinned against us. Fill us now afresh with your Holy Spirit, In Jesus’ name. Amen

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