St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

Easter 3, April 14

You Gotta Have Faith

Sermon for 4/14/24  Third Sunday of Easter


Do you have certain doubts in your life?  And more specifically, doubts if events really happened or not?  Would you call that a lack of Faith or just Doubt?


There are many conspiracy theories out there like, Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the Moon in 1969 was staged and never happened.  Chem Trails spreading chemicals on us by the Government.  The New World Order.  And many other wild and crazy theories.  


All these theories have many supporters who are convinced that what they believe is very, very real.  They have Faith in their belief.


How do we know that the entire story about Jesus wasn’t just another conspiracy theory?  Do we doubt the Gospel’s stories?  Or do we believe them because we have faith?


In our Gospels for Easter, we will be hearing the same message throughout the Season and the Gospel from Luke today is no exception.


All of these Gospels have some common shared qualities and patterns to them:


  • Each story has an Encounter–a failure to recognize Jesus

  • Then we have the Explanation; Jesus must explain again to his friends who he was.

  • Eating something is next.  

  • Then the Enlightenment .  Here we see Jesus teaching his friends about the scriptures and the fullment of the Prophecy of the resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins.

  • And the Exit…Jesus leaves his friends and commissions them to be with the mission to be witnesses to this great event.


But where does that leave us?  How can we relate to these Gospels?  


George Micheal sang it well, “You gotta have Faith, Faith, Faith”


My dad was a bigger-than-life figure in my life even though he was only 5 foot 5.  I was always amazed at the things he could do, how strong he was, how smart he seemed, and what a great leader he was. 


People looked up to my dad and wanted to go with him on his great expeditions; near and far.  He often planned great and adventurous climbing and skiing trips all over the world.  He was blessed to stand on some of the highest mountains and ski in some of the most remote areas.  People had Faith in my Dad and his leadership abilities and to keep them safe.


My first summit with him was to the top, the very top of Mt. Si near North Bend when I was 5.  He literally had to coax me up the last rock haystack and I did it because I had faith in him.  I had no doubt that he believed in me and I of course believed in him.


Over the years, I grew to understand and appreciate even more why people had such faith in my Dad. But why did I have faith in him?  


I had faith in him because he never let me down.  He always loved me unconditionally, even when I messed up.  He always showed up when I needed him. He always believed in my worth.  He gave me good instruction and motivation to make good choices.  He helped me find positive meaning for my life.


 Now As you might recall, before the appearance of Jesus we hear about today in our gospel, He appeared several times.  


First at the Tomb when Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women came to the anoint and take care of Jesus’s body. 


Then we find Jesus walking and talking with two people, one of them Cleopas as they were heading to the village of  Emmaus.  And after talking with and hearing from their Lord, they decided they must race back to Jerusalem to share the news with other “new” Christians and the Disciples. 


So In our Gospel today, we find the disciples together, still trying to figure out what to do next after they witnessed their teacher and Lord crucified on the cross  They were trying to wrap their heads around what was going on.  Most likely, they were hiding in fear.  Afraid that they might be hunted down and killed themselves because of their association with Christ.


Then Suddenly, there was Jesus standing with them in that room.  I can only imagine the initial reactions.  Jesus feeling their fear, says to them, “Peace be with you.”


Of course they then go through the same elements that each of these Gospels share:


  • The Encounter

  • The Explanation

  • The Eating  

  • The Enlightenment .  

  • The Exit


And again, we are left to our own choice if we believe these events happened for real or just for effect.  


It really doesn’t matter which choice we believe in, because the bottom line is this:   if we accept the fact that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and that he died on the cross, and rose again three days later and that God gave his only son to die so that we, as human beings, could have life everlasting…Then we have faith.


Faith:  the confidence or trust in a person or thing.  A belief that is not based on proof.


So why do I have faith and belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit?  Why do I have faith that my sins were washed away on that cross?  Why do I have faith that my Lord and Savior and all he said and stood for are real?


  • Because Jesus has never let me down.  

  • He has always loved me unconditionally, even when I messed up.  

  • He has always shown up when I needed him. 

  • He has always believed in my worth as a child of God.  

  • He gave me a good list of instructions on how to live my life and the motivation to make good choices.  

  • And lastly, He has helped me find positive meaning and direction in my life.


Do I need to actually visually See Jesus to have Faith?  No.


I see Him everyday in the faces of the Children I teach.  In the faces in this place.  In the people I encounter at the store, or on the street, or in City Hall, or at the hospital.  


I see Him every day in my yard, at the lake, in the mountains, by the ocean or on the prairie.


I see Christ in how people treat each other.  How people behave or not behave.


The truth is that in order to have Faith, we must trust.  


And who better to trust than Jesus?


“To have faith is to defy logic. It takes faith to think positively. It takes faith to believe that there is a loving God who cares deeply about our pain. To believe in life, the universe, or yourself after numerous failures is to have courage. Faith is an act of courage. It is choosing to get up in the morning and face our fears and believe that God will help us. Faith is choosing to believe that even though we may have failed one hundred times before that we can succeed the next time.”