Come and See

by Rev. Randy Brown

Lord, it’s only a sermon when You speak through the preacher. Other than that, it’s just a talk. So, Lord, come again and rescue me from me and hide me behind Your cross. Let Your words flow through me that they may be Your words and not mine, that people may see You and hear You and not me. Above all else, may we hear the quiet shuffling of sandal feet, and know that Jesus, the Christ, is in our midst. In His name and for His glory, Amen.

We are midway through our five part series on the power of touch. You remember that two weeks ago we looked at the question that Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” And, you will remember that we talked about how the lady who reached out and touched Him, she didn’t sit on her faith. She acted on her faith. It was because of her faith that she weaved her way through the crowd to touch the hem of His garment, and that faith is put into action.

Last week you remember that we had talked about Malchus. Malchus is out of John’s gospel. He was the servant of the high priest. When Judas was doing his thing to betray Jesus, Simon Peter took out the sword, and he started swinging, and he missed his neck, but he cut off his ear. And, then Jesus put his ear back on and touched him and restored him.

Today, we come to another passage of scripture that Jackie read a moment ago about touch. When Jesus invited folks to touch him, touch and see. You know, I know that this is normally a time when, or this scripture’s normally saved for right around Easter time, but I could not avoid this, when Jesus invites us to touch and to see.

We’re looking at that particular passage this morning and that particular invitation. It comes at the end of the gospel. It comes after the Emmaus Road experience. It comes as, if you go back and look at the whole story, the whole chapter there, Jesus… The tomb was empty. No one was there.

And, word was beginning to get out. As it had gotten out, Jesus appears to the disciples or to some of them, and He begins to have a conversation with them. They realize who He was. Then they go and tell others, and then He comes again to where they all are. Now, in Psalms 34:8, we’re invited to do something, and that is to taste and see that the Lord is good. But, in this particular passage, Jesus invites the disciples to look and see. Isn’t it amazing that He appears to our senses of touch and sight and hearing and taste to prove who He is?

That’s amazing to me. Jesus says, “Look and touch and see that it’s me. Touch and see.” Three things I want to pull out of this particular story that kind of goes back to the Emmaus Road experience, but also kind of culminates here. The first thing that I want us to look at is this. Their confusion was real. Their confusion was real. They had seen the Messiah. They had walked with Him. They had talked with Him. They had followed Him, even to the hill of Golgotha, and then He was crucified. He was laid in a barred tomb, and now all of a sudden they’re wondering what in the world is going on.

“How can we make it? How can we keep going on? What can we do?” All of a sudden they get even more news. He’s not there. He’s risen. “We don’t know where He’s at. Where have you laid Him?” All of those things that were going on. So, they were confused, and their confusion was real. Could it be, could it be real?

The plans were foiled because they thought that His kingdom was going to be an earthly kingdom. As we talked about last week, He told Peter that, “My kingdom’s not an earthly kingdom. My kingdom is a heavenly kingdom. A kingdom of love and peace.” But, still, their confusion was real because they didn’t know what to believe. They didn’t know what the media was going to release. Does that sound familiar?

Our confusion is real too, isn’t it? Because, we’re not real sure of what’s going on. Depending on who you listen to and how long you listen and how discouraged you get, there can be some disappointment there. There can be a lot of disillusionment there. There’s a lot of discouragement. “You know, you can’t fight city hall and win,” they say. So, the disciples, they had to be discouraged that this leader who they thought was going to usher in the kingdom, he’s gone now.

“Is He really? Because we’ve heard now that He’s not gone.” All of those things. There’s confusion. There’s chaos. There’s turmoil. There’s rumors. All of those things. Some of them were in flight mode. They just wanted to go back. Peter just wanted to go back to his fishing boats and do what he knew how to do. Everybody experienced it differently. The authorities were doing damage control. The followers, they were in panic mode. Kind of like a political season, huh? Kind of like being stranded in the snow for hours that we’ve… You’ve heard about those folks that had just gotten out of their cars not many hours ago. That there may be social and political issues and economic issues of the day. How in the world can we handle it?

Disillusionment, discouragement, it’s not easy. Their confusion was real. The rumors would go, and their tongues would wag, and it was real. They didn’t have the reality of, and the advantage of knowing what we know through years of history, that it was going to all be all right. Their confusion was real. We can realize that too when we see the scriptures. Out of Second Timothy he tells us that God does not give us the spirit of timidity and fear, but of peace and of love and of sound mind.

Their confusion, it was real. Not only was their confusion real, but if we keep reading the story, the good news is that the companion was real. Here are these two walking along the road to a place called Emmaus. And, as they were walking and talking together, somebody showed up in their very midst. He joins the conversation. They had not yet realized that it’s Jesus. They’ve not yet been shown by the Spirit who it is. He asked a question. And, the next time you’re in a conversation, I dare you to think about this scripture.

Because, Jesus says, “What are you all talking about?” Do we realize that Jesus wants to be in the midst of our conversations? It might change some of the things we talk about. Jesus says, “What are you talking about?” Realize that He is the one who is totally interested in what’s going on in your life. He’s very interested in the details of your life. He’s very interested in your conversation. He is the companion that is real. He wants to be a part of the conversation.

That’s a scary thought sometimes. “What are you discussing?” He said. Then they told him, and He began to reveal to them the truths of scriptures. The companion was real to them. So real that when he got a little farther he said to them, “Peace be with you.” That’s what they needed at that time. They needed that peace, because they were going through all of the confusion and all the chaos.

Then if you look further in this conversation, he asks them, “Why are you troubled? Why do you have doubts? Why you looking so down?” You see, he cares about where we are in our life. He’s our real companion. The hymn writer put it like this: “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I’m His own.” That’s a real companion, isn’t it? And, that’s who He is.

They had a real confusion, but they had a real companion. Now, other folks knew that they had a real companion. Look at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the midst of the fiery furnace. They knew about that real companion. Daniel knew about Him in the lion’s den. Simon Peter knew about Him when He came to his mother-in-law’s house and healed her.

When have you allowed Him to be real to you? The disciples, they knew He was a real companion because they had breakfast with Him on the beach. Read what Jackie read a moment ago. There they were. They weren’t sure if it was a ghost, and that’s why He said, “Touch and see. I’m not a ghost.” Lo and behold to prove it further, He says, “You got anything to eat?” Ghosts don’t eat, folks. Real folks eat. He was a real companion.

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there when He said, “You all got anything to eat?” I just can’t get that out of my mind. They said, “Well probably.” You know, they didn’t have loaves and fishes, but they had fish and chips. There He was, a real companion.

What about your life and my life? Do we want to do it by ourselves, or will we take advantage of this real companion? The same one that shows up in the midst of the fiery furnace, the same one that showed up while the boat was weaving back and forth in the storm and the waves: will you let Him be your companion? For that’s what He wants to be. They had a real confusion. They had a real companion. And, then once this was over, they had a real confidence. The psalmist declared it first. He was confident, for the psalmist says, “The Lord is my shepherd, my shepherd.” There wasn’t any doubt about it. “I shall not want,” not, “I may get what I want or need.”

“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” A real confidence. They’ve seen him. They’ve touched him. They’ve eaten with him. Now they know, for they have that confidence of who he is.

If I can share just a minute? Four and a half years ago, you all know that I went through some stuff health-wise, including two back surgeries. And, if you’ve heard this story before, I’m sorry. But, the night before we left for the second surgery was one of the loneliest nights that I spent because I couldn’t sleep. Usually I don’t have any trouble sleeping, but this particular night, I said, “Lord, you’ve got to tell me something. I got to know if this is going to be all right.”

A few minutes later, the scripture out of the book of Acts that came to my mind was this: “And he went walking, and leaping. and praising God.” You remember the story. Peter and John had gone to the temple to pray, and the beggar was there. He couldn’t get up. He couldn’t do anything but ask for alms. Peter and John said, “You know, we’re on our way to church, and I don’t have any money.” He must have been a Methodist. He said, “I don’t have any money, but what I have, I give to you. In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk.”

The very next verse says, “And he went walking and leaping and praising God.” I’m hearing that scripture in my mind, and I’m laying in the bed not able to get up, not able to walk, having to literally to be carried everywhere I went. I knew then that that scripture meant that someday, having to go through whatever I had to go through, that it was going to be all right. I went walking and leaping and praising God.

Now, I’m not to the leaping part yet, but I never was good at that anyway. So, what I figure is two out of three’s not bad, but there was a confidence. There were days of doubt. I don’t… These three sitting on the front row can tell you that. There were days of doubt, but I knew that I knew what His word had said. I was going to try as best as I could to stay confident, because that’s the word he gave me. There was a confidence that was there.

Ephesians 3:20 tells us this, “And now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all that we ask or think.” That’s the confidence that we can go in. We may have real confusion. Your life right now maybe as confused as it’s ever been, and it’s real. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s not, because confusion can be real. It is real. But, what’s also real is a companion. And, the companion is the one who walked on water. And, the companion is the one who calmed the seas. And, the companion is the one who walked through the fiery furnace. And, the companion is the one who says, “Peace. Be still.”

So, when the confusion is real and the companion is real, you can rest assured that he will give us a real confidence, that he will be with us. He’s able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all that we believe. And, that’s what the book says. The book doesn’t lie.