"A Sunday Afternoon Walk"
It was Resurrection Sunday, and two men who hoped Jesus was the Messiah left him in the tomb and walked away. What a surprise they had when they met a stranger on the road.
A Sunday Afternoon Walk
A. I want you to think what it might have been like if you were at a party where Lazarus was sitting alive after being dead for four day. The Bible says “Martha served and Lazarus was reclining at the table.” Mary took some expensive ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus. But stick with me, there are a bunch of unnamed people there and the events take place the week before Jesus enters Jerusalem one last time. But let’s suppose that with Jesus and the disciples were two people who also loved Jesus.
B. Jump forward. Jesus comes into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and people are shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of Lord!” Remember, Jesus had many disciples that followed him, not just the 12 Apostles.
C. The week continues and Jesus is teaching publicly in the temple courts. Again, many are listening and some of those are believers. The tension rises and we know that before the week closed, Jesus would be taken by will of the people at the hands of the Romans and nailed to cross for public execution. The whole city was aware and in an uproar.
D. Then, after Jesus died the kindness of a wealthy Jewish leader who was also a believer had enough clout to secure from Pilate right to take the body down from the cross, wrap it in grave clothes and lay it in a garden tomb. Sadness may have filled the hearts of the disciples that day, but kindness was shown to the body of Jesus. It was not just men who showed kindness, but a group of women seemed to come and help prepare the body.
E. But those Jewish leaders wanted to make sure that the disciples could not come up with a viable resurrection story so they secured from Pilate guards to and had the stone secured in front of the tomb. With all the events now done, the traditional Sabbath was honored and the believers were quiet and alone.
I. Lost Hope
A. Have you ever thought that some the strongest negative words in the English language start with “D”? Words like “discouragement, depression, despair, doubt, defeat, death.” Our story today centers around several of those words. You see, there were two people who were disciples of Jesus that had been in Jerusalem for that week and were traveling to a town called Emmaus.
B. I want you to understand the day they were traveling was the first day of the week. The day they were traveling was a day that had already had exciting news – if only they had believed it. But for these two, Jesus was dead.
C. Listen to our text (Luke 24:13-24).
D. What I want you to take from this is that these two people knew the events and participated in the events as believers. These two people were closely connected to the eleven and knew the report of the women and knew the report of the empty tomb by Peter and John and STILL DID NOT BELIEVE.
E. For these two the cross was the great defeat. It didn’t matter that tomb was empty, that woman claimed angels spoke that he was alive, or that two of them saw the empty tomb. What does it take to believe?
F. But let me ask the question, how present and how real is Jesus today? Because our eyes don’t see him in the flesh, does that make Jesus any less real or present in this worship or in your everyday life?
G. We are often blinded by the fact that if we don’t put our hands into his side and our fingers into his hands, we won’t believe. Yet, just before his death, Jesus told a parable about sheep and goats. The bottom line of that story, “What you do for the least of these brothers of mine, you do unto me. (Matt. 25:40)”
H. Don’t leave Jesus dead even if you know the tomb is empty. Don’t let your eyes be blinded to see him in all the ways he reveals himself to us today. The dark days are done, and now we live in hope!
II. Teacher Jesus
A. Listen as the story continues (Luke 24:25-27). These two people only saw Jesus through human eyes, Jesus began to teach them to look through God’s eyes. Jesus opened the word of God to them, and taught them what God had said would happen to the real Christ.
B. How often have we had a warped concept of Jesus? We have the Jesus that look and feels good to us, but not the real Jesus, not the one who calls people to discipleship, that calls people to take up their cross daily and follow him, not the Jesus that showed that sin could only be conquered through the cross and the resurrection.
C. Total supposition: What if Jesus was to teach one class to this congregation. What might his topic be to us? Would it be to see him in every aspect of life, not just our Sunday worship? Would it be to see him in the lives of others who need kindness and love shown to them? Would it be to see him in the Lord’s Supper and how he reveals himself as we partake of the body of the blood of Jesus? There are so many topics it is difficult to pick one, but in this case, Jesus picked one – how to see the Christ of God.
D. Next we read what happens when we come to Emmaus (Luke 24:28-32). I find it interesting that at the house where these two were staying, it was Jesus who played host by taking the bread, breaking it and giving it to them. It was then that they realized their strange traveling companion was Jesus but it was also then that Jesus vanished from their sight.
A. For these two people the evening was not yet done. Listen to the end of their story (Luke 24:33-35). Let me close by just saying that when you encounter Jesus, you can’t keep it to yourself. These guys had to get back to Jerusalem, they had to see the others and tell them the exciting news!
B. I hope you are here today and you have heard the exciting news that Jesus is alive and that he can open the spiritual eyes of those who will but listen.