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The King’s Joy

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 25, 2023 9:00 am

The King’s Joy

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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August 25, 2023 9:00 am

As Pastor J.D. wraps up our series titled Kingdom Come, he reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus isn’t folklore or myth, but a factual, historical account supported by hundreds of eyewitnesses.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. These disciples are going to have joy because their certainty, their hope, their purpose and the presence are anchored in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And because of that, they had a joy that was better than anything else life could give them. They had a joy that death and deprivation could not take away. So here's my question for you.

Do you have that kind of joy? And where are you planting your certainty, your hope, your purpose and your presence? Happy Friday and welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today, Pastor J.D. tackles one of the biggest objections to our faith, the resurrection itself. He explains that the resurrection of Jesus isn't folklore or myth like many choose to believe, but it's a factual historical account supported by hundreds of eyewitnesses. He's taking us to the time when Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and describing the joy that followed in their hearts. This teaching is appropriately called the King's Joy. And if you've missed any of the previous messages in the Gospel of Luke series, listen for free online.

Just go to JD Greer dot com. Now let's jump in. Here's Pastor J.D. Luke, Chapter 24. Now, last time that the disciples had seen Jesus, when we find them in Luke 24, is they'd seen somebody taking his dead body down off of a cross.

A couple of the disciples and several of the women had said that they'd seen Jesus since then. But you'll notice there in verse 11 of Chapter 24, it says that this seemed like nonsense to them. So that's where we pick up in verse 36. Verse 36, as they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them. I love that little phrase that he stood among them. Not that he walked into the midst of them, right? He just like, they're in a small group. They're standing in a circle and all of a sudden, boom, he's there. You know, if Star Trek writers had written this, he would have beamed into the midst of them. He teleported into them. The Gospel of John tells you that the doors were all locked.

He just stood there. And then he says to them, peace to you. But to me, that's actually a little humorous. I think you see a little bit of a playful side of Jesus there. They think he's dead.

And he just appears in the midst of them and says, peace to you. Right? I mean, that's the last emotion that's going through their heart when a guy they think is dead shows up in the middle of them. It's like, you know, imagine if I came home at night, I'm out and I came home and get in the house without my wife knowing that I'm in there and she's at the sink doing dishes all by herself and the lights are kind of low and I sneak up behind her and I grab her from behind and I go, relax, relax. That is the last emotion she feels when I grab her from behind.

Right? That's the last emotion they're going to feel. I think Jesus got a good chuckle out of that. Verse 37, but they were startled and frightened and they thought they'd seen the Spirit. And he said to them, well, why are you troubled? Well, because we see dead people. That's why we're troubled.

And why do doubts arise in your heart? Verse 39, see my hands on my feet, that it is I myself, touch me and see for a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see that I have. This was a real resurrection, not a mythical one. One of the things I hear people say sometimes is that the disciples never really believed that Jesus rose from the dead. They just felt like he was risen in their hearts. And later Christians added to stuff about him actually being raised from the dead. But what they really meant was he was like spiritually risen to them, kind of like, you know, when your grandmother dies and you feel like, oh, she's still with us.

We remember her and we remember some things that she taught to us. Or, you know, some people get a little bit more sophisticated and they say, no, no, no, he's risen because the Christ force is at work within us. And the same Christ force that was working in him is working in us. And that's how he's risen from the dead. Or one of my favorites from something I read recently in Time magazine, always a reliable source of information, said this, he said, Christ is risen in the sense that his teachings live on in our hearts. Well, by that definition, who is not risen from the dead? That is exactly what this passage is not saying. It goes out of its way to point out that he could be seen. He could be touched.

He could eat a piece of fish, which you'll see him here do in a minute. So, no, it's not like your grandmother's still with you in the memories of your heart and the things you remember from her, unless your grandmother regularly takes food off of your plate in the table and eats it in front of you. Okay, it's not, unless she does that, it's not like that. It's an actual resurrection. And let me tell you this, Christianity rises or falls on this point. It rises or falls on this one. There's a lot of things that we can disagree about as Christians. There's a lot of things that we can interpret differently and still be okay. And we can still get along if we disagree about this right here. But this point right here is the foundation.

This is the whole thing right here. And the reason for that is what I've often explained to you, that the central point of Christianity is not what Jesus taught. The central point of Christianity is what Jesus did. And the fact that he rose from dead validates the fact that Jesus had lived for us and died for us and paid for our sin. And if he hasn't risen from the dead, then he didn't really pay for our sin. And if he didn't pay for our sin, then this whole thing is useless.

That's what Paul said, 1 Corinthians 15, if Christ has not risen from the dead, then you are still in your sins and your faith is useless. Useless. So this is the point of all of it. Verse 40, and when he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. But why is hands and his feet?

Why? Well, you know this, right? I mean, the nail scars are in his hands and his feet.

The Gospel of John tells you that he retained the scars, that forever, for eternity, Jesus will perpetually have the scars of our sin in his body. Verse 41, and while they still disbelieve for joy. I love that phrase. They've gone from disbelieving because it's not possible to disbelieving because it's too good to be true. And they were marveling. He said to them, have you anything here to eat? Which is kind of a strange thing just to say in the middle while they're trying to figure out, you know, if they're still alive and if they've seen a ghost. He's like, hey, you got something to eat?

And they're like, yeah. Verse 42, they gave him a piece of broiled fish and he took it and ate it before them. Here's another piece of evidence, by the way, that shows you that these stories are not myths that are made up. That people like to say the resurrection stories again are myths that got added in later. That later Christians, in an attempt to beef up Christianity, you know, took these stories of Jesus and they turned him into God. They turned him into somebody to resurrect him.

The New Testament scholar N.T. Wright points out, follow me, that these stories, they just don't read like myths. Question, if you were a Jewish person writing a myth, why wouldn't you put more mythical kind of elements in it?

Like Jesus coming out and his body shining like the stars of heaven. That's a myth, right? But in these accounts, Jesus walks out and orders fish and chips and then none of the church leaders believe that it's really him. Is that kind of stuff, are those the kind of details you would include if you were writing a myth?

No. Verse 44, and he said to them, these are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you. That everything written about me and the law of the Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.

And then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures and he said to them, thus it is written the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead. It had been there the whole time. It's almost like one of those pictures that you're looking at.

Remember the pictures with all the dots in them and like there's some 3D image in it and I think it's called magic eye, do you remember those? And do you remember how the first time that you saw that you claimed to have seen something when you actually didn't see anything? Anybody with me? No? Like for a solid year I was like, oh yeah, it's a dragon, you know, but I wasn't seeing anything. You got to cross your eyes just right?

Are you tracking with me? This is what happens as you're studying the Bible and you start to really get it. You start to see that there are a couple things that are running through every story of the Bible. One of them is the gospel, the other one is the person of Jesus. And I'm telling you, this is when Bible study gets fun.

You're looking all sitting like, boom, how did I not see that? The gospel that God was going to accomplish our salvation by himself. That salvation was a gift that he would give at his expense, that he would give it to us and we would receive it. That's in every story of the Bible.

The person of Jesus that he was going to come and live the life that we were supposed to live and save us as God's son for us, it's there. And that's why I love studying the Bible. It's why I love teaching it to you because I love showing you how the gospel and Jesus are through every story of Scripture. And anytime you interpret a story of the Bible and don't see the gospel and Jesus in it, you have interpreted it wrongly.

It makes Bible study awesome, adventurous, because it's like one of my other favorite authors, Peter Crave says, studying the Bible is like looking through a keyhole and then seeing somebody look back at you. It's Jesus. It's the gospel. And so he opens their minds so that they see that. Verse 47, and he told them that repentance and forgiveness of sin should be proclaimed in his name to all the nations starting in Jerusalem.

There's your mission, by the way. Verse 48, and you, he says, are witnesses of these things. He was going to commission them and preserve their memories so that they could accurately record for you and me what we needed to know about Jesus. Verse 49, and behold, I am sending the promise of my father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. Verse 50, then he led them out as far as Bethany and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and he was carried up into heaven. Then here's our key verse, verse 52, and they worshiped him. First time that Luke has used the word worship in relation to Jesus in his gospel.

If you ever hear an overzealous New Testament professor tell you that Jesus is not God in the other gospels, he's only God in John, there's your proof right there that they're wrong because Jews would only worship somebody who was God. He was God. He worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

There's our key phrase, circle that. And then they were continually in the temple blessing God. Luke ends his gospel by talking about their joy, their joy, which is a little counterintuitive, isn't it? I mean, here you got Jesus, he's leaving. He is their leader. They're convinced he is God. And by the way, it's not like he's left them in a great situation where they're going to sit around and rule with a bunch of servants and just enjoy blessing upon blessing.

No, he's told them they're going to be hated like he was hated. They're going to carry the cross that he had to carry. They are going to pour out their lives for others the way that he poured out his life for them. What is joyful about that? Their leader, the guy they are convinced is God, the miracle worker is gone.

And he has left them with a life that is harder than most of us would ever think our lives could become. And they have joy. What is joyful about that? Their joy, listen, was anchored in four things that they got in those previous verses from the resurrection that I'm going to try to show you today. All right, four things that their joy was anchored in, certainty, hope, purpose, presence, certainty, hope, purpose, and presence. And what I want to try to show you today is that each of you, all of us, are trying to find joy through those same four things. And that if your certainty, hope, purpose, and presence are anchored in the right thing, you'll have joy. Listen to this. Joy is a byproduct of anchoring your life in the right thing.

Joy is a byproduct of anchoring your life in the right thing. Think of it like a flower. I give you a flower.

You take it home. It's a flower plant. You take it home and you plant it in rich soil in a garden. Then all of a sudden it grows and it produces more flowers.

Right? If you take that same flower and you plant it in a pail of concrete, then you can't come back to me and complain that the flowers, something's wrong with it. It's not growing.

No, it's that you planted it in the wrong soil. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. We hope you've enjoyed this series in the book of Luke and that it's been an encouragement in your daily walk with God. Before we head to the finish line, I wanted to remind you about a resource that can also help you stay connected to God's word throughout the week. Our daily email devotionals, written by Pastor J.D., offer insightful reflections on the Bible and practical applications for your life. Each day's devotional corresponds to our current teaching series here on the program as well, so you can stay plugged into the themes and ideas we explore here even if you miss a day.

To sign up, simply visit slash resources and enter your email address to begin receiving them right away. Thank you for your financial support that makes this resource and the rest of Summit Life possible. It's because of friends like you that we are able to proclaim the gospel each day to a dying world. Now, let's finish the week strong.

Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Joy is the flower when the roots are where they are supposed to be. It's a byproduct. So, contrary to what a lot of you believe, listen, you will not find joy by changing your circumstances.

You take that flower that's planted in concrete and you put it out in the sun and water it, it's still not growing because it's in the wrong soil. Some of you think, oh, if I'd ever just get married then I'd be joyful. Lonely, unhappy single people become lonely, bitter, married people.

That's because you look to marriage to do something that was not designed to give you that kind of joy. And these disciples are going to have joy because their certainty, their hope, their purpose, and their presence are anchored in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And because of that, they had a joy that was better than anything else life could give them. They had a joy that death and deprivation could not take away. So, here's my question for you. Do you have that kind of joy and where are you planting your certainty, your hope, your purpose, and your presence?

Because I would say that most of us are anchored in a place that it really can be taken away and we don't even live with that much joy to begin with. All right, here we go. Number one, certainty.

Certainty. You notice again verse 38 that before this they still doubted. They still doubted. The disciples had no expectation of a risen Messiah. Again, a lot of people try to suggest that this was a common way in the ancient days to deal with the death of your political leader as you came up with some myth about them being resurrected from the dead.

That is just not true. The hope of the Messiah for them, for a Jew, was he was one who was supposed to throw off the yoke of oppression, not be overtaken by it, and certainly not then to tell his followers that they were destined for the cross that he died on. I mean, these guys, you see this? They didn't even get it when he told it to them.

And even after he appears to them, they're still having problems believing it after they've seen him. So what changed their minds? What changed their minds? What made them go throughout the world to their deaths proclaiming a message that depended on Jesus being raised from the dead? Was it just wishful thinking? You say, well, I know.

I don't know. Maybe they were trying to gain religious power, you know, trying to get people to follow their religion by beefing it up with these miracles and resurrection claims. Okay, why then would they have come up with a story about Jesus having a kingdom that was not of this world? I mean, the earliest Christians taught people not to fight back against their enemies. The earliest Christians taught people to be radically generous and to not build a kingdom here but to build it, you know, in eternity. What advantage would they have in teaching that if it wasn't true? To say that they just made up the stories about Jesus means basically that they're sitting around one day and after Jesus has died they're in a boat fishing and Peter stands up he's like, I got it!

I know! You know Jesus, we'll tell everybody he resurrected from the dead and then they'll believe us. Oh yeah, that's a great idea.

Okay, and then we'll do this. We'll tell them that his kingdom's not of this world so when people kill us we won't fight back. We'll forgive them and we'll give away all our money and teach all our followers to give away their money because his kingdom is not of this world and if we're lucky maybe we'll all die painful, humiliating, martyrs deaths, us and our children. And all the disciples are like, yeah, that's a great idea, let's sign up!

You know, that's insane. They would never have done that had they not believed that Jesus' resurrection was true. Their whole message was based on the fact that he'd actually risen from the dead and his kingdom was eternal. And here's another thing, why would they have celebrated Jesus' death if they weren't sure of his resurrection?

You ever think about that? We know that from the earliest Christians, any scholar will tell you this, believing, unbelieving, that the earliest Christians celebrated communion. As far back as we can go, the earliest Christians are celebrating communion which commemorates the death of Jesus. Why would you celebrate the death of your leader unless it had somehow been swallowed up in a greater victory? We have heroes in the United States. Some of our heroes have been murdered. We don't celebrate their murder. We don't celebrate the murder of Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. We celebrate their birth which represents their life. We don't celebrate their murder. Why is it that the apostles are every time they get together celebrating the death of their leader? It makes no sense unless they somehow saw that that death had been part of a larger victory.

You see what I'm getting at? Here's another one. How come we don't know where Jesus was buried? Nobody knows where Jesus was buried. The Jerusalem tourist agency will tell you they know but they're not telling you the truth. We don't know. They've got it limited down to two places but all it is is a guess. Within two decades of Jesus having risen from the dead, nobody knew where he had been buried.

You want to know why that is? I'll explain to you this way. If somebody in your life dies that's close to you and it's an untimely death, suddenly everything they left behind becomes precious to you, doesn't it? This was their room. I wanted to stay just like it was when they were here because I want to remember them. Their shoes, these were their shoes. I'm going to keep their shoes.

Now what's ironic about that is when that person was alive and if they are alive all those same things become annoying to you. Oh your shoes are in the living room. Again would you please clean up your shoes? If you're not going to clean up your room at least shut the door so I don't have to look at it.

Right? The disciples didn't care about where Jesus was buried because he wasn't there anymore. They didn't care about his tomb because they believed he'd been risen from the dead. You say well okay maybe the earliest disciples didn't believe it. Maybe other people made it up later and they inserted it into these stories. Okay where's the evidence for that? Where are the other gospels that basically just have Jesus as an indie rocker?

I've never seen one and if somebody later were doctoring these books to try to beef up support for Christianity, why would you leave all the stuff in there that makes the disciples look like buffoons? Because they're the leaders of the church right? And if you're trying to inspire confidence in your leaders why do you keep presenting them as the three stooges? The women get it. All the women get it. The Pharisees get it. Joseph of Amatheus and Nicodemus are the ones who take Jesus down from the cross and bury him.

They get it. The disciples don't get it. Why would you tell a bunch of stories that make the disciples look like idiots if they weren't true?

See it just doesn't read like a myth. The earliest Christians believed that Jesus rose from the dead and that gave them a joy that turned Jesus' death into triumph and it gave them a resolve that made them willing to face their own death to complete the mission. They had a joy that death and deprivation could not take away. They had certainty. They had certainty.

So here's my question. What is your certainty in? I have staked my life and my eternity on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. If you're not a follower of Jesus you have staked your life and eternity on the fact that he has not. What is your certainty in? Now you say well JD can you prove to me that Jesus rose from the dead?

No. I also can't prove to you that my consciousness is not the dream of a butterfly. I've seen Matrix.

I know how that works. But I have a relative degree of certainty that this is not the dream of a butterfly. The reason I say that is because some of you are looking for something that is really inconsistent because you don't ask for this kind of proof in any other area of your life. There is reasonable evidence enough to make me certain that Jesus rose from the dead and it is certain enough that I staked my entire life on it.

And that certainty gave them a joy that gave them joy in the midst of pain and resolve in the midst of persecution. Number two. Hope.

Second anchor. Hope. Where's your certainty? Second thing I want to ask you is where's your hope? The resurrection of Jesus gave them hope in two different ways.

Check this out. In his resurrection he gave them a picture of the creation they were headed to. His resurrection gave them a picture of the creation they were headed into. He could be touched. He could eat fish. They could recognize him.

But it could also beam into rooms. I've told you throughout this series that Jesus was more alive after the resurrection, not less alive. And that all that we love down here is just a pale reflection that we're going to get to experience a resurrection version of up there.

And think, listen, think by way of analogy. If Jesus' resurrected body was recognizable, could still enjoy broiled fish, but could pass through walls, what does the resurrected version of the Alps look like? What if analogously what happened to Jesus' body is going to happen to the rest of the world? Heaven is not whisking us off into the clouds or in the nirvana.

Jesus said it was a new heavens, a new earth, a resurrected version of those things. What does it look like? What's it like to experience that? Down here we've got five senses. Maybe up there we'll have a hundred. What does that look like?

It's got to be awesome. Yeah, how do you describe light to somebody who has no eyes? When Paul was talking about eternity he said this, he said, eye has not seen nor has ear heard nor has entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those that love him. I take that to mean that you and I don't have the sensual capacity to understand what God has prepared. You see that gives people hope who are in the midst of pain and deprivation. You're not married and you've always wanted to be married and you're like if I don't get married this time around on earth then I'm just going to be lonely.

No, no. Marriage is just a pale reflection here of something that is eternally fulfilled there. In eternity the lame walk, the lonely have compared only have companionship, the blind see, the poor abound with riches, the good, the best, the resurrected version is coming. Where is your hope? Only God can fulfill the desires of your heart so turn to him with eager expectation. Thank you for listening to Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of Pastor J.D.

Greer. We're so glad that you joined us this week. We hope you've been enjoying our weekly Summit Life broadcasts but in addition we've also made other resources available on our website like sermon transcripts and blog posts all available free of charge. I sat down with Pastor J.D. recently and asked him to tell us a little more about these resources.

Yeah you know Molly the longer we've had a chance to do this one of the things that we here at Summit Life love is having this archive. It has become a full and rich resource that has a lot of things that will will help you in not only your walk with Jesus but also in the in the people in your family or your friends. There's a lot of resources on there you may find yourself recommending to somebody else going through a situation. We'd love for you to check that out just go to and you'll you'll you'll find a whole bevy of resources there.

Acquaint yourself with what's available to you. We make them all free of charge and by the way let us know if God's at work in your life through this ministry or if there's some answer to prayer we would love to rejoice with you. Let let us know how God is using these messages in your life in your family or in your community. Let us know how he's at work.

We love love love hearing from our listeners. So go there to and send us a note. Each month we design a featured resource that we send as a thank you to everyone who donates $35 or more to this ministry and right now we'll send you a copy of Kingdom Come 20 Devotions from Luke which pairs perfectly with our current teaching series. To get your copy give us a call right now at 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220 or give online anytime at I'm Molly Vidovich and we are so glad that you joined us this week. Be sure to join us next time as we conclude this series called Kingdom Come. See you then for Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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