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Come Out Of The Dungeon!

Did not our hearts burn within us as He talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?
Acts 2:14,22-33; Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11; 1Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35

Sermon Week Third Sunday of Easter Cycle A

Scripture Summary Luke 24:32

In Sholem Asch's great novel, "The Apostle," the closing scene is set in a dungeon in Rome. Hundreds of Christians have been lowered into a pit through a little trap door, and they know that they will never come out except to die in the arena. Many of them die in the dungeon. The scene as described by the author is one of darkness and horror. Suddenly the trap door opens and there is a shaft of light for a brief moment as a man is lowered. And as the man descends into this place of indescribable darkness, death and despair, he is singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. The word spreads like wildfire among the people in the dungeon: "It's Paul! It's Paul! Paul has come!" And Paul's joy is so contagious that before long he has all the people in he dungeon singing songs of praise and thanksgiving -- and a whole new spirit is burning within them. In this, the author has given us an accurate description of the New Testament spirit. Even in the darkest corners of life, God gives His people joy -- and through His people, He gives joy to the world.

In times like ours it is so easy to get bogged down in a mood of despair. Problems all around us are so great -- man's inhumanity to man so shocking. And it is easy to see only the bad side of things -- allowing ourselves to be pulled down into a whirlpool of complaints and grief and hopelessness and despair. So many of our conversations, no matter where they start, seem to end up in this kind of mood. That is why it is so important for us to remind ourselves that the People of God are a People of Joy. We are a People of Joy because we know that God gives Himself to us even in the midst of our darkest situations. And as He gives Himself to us, He gives us joy.

The entire New Testament is a collection of books of joy. Remember, the word "Gospel" [...]


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