Written by Pastor Ed
April 30, 2017
I Peter 1: 17-23
Luke 24: 13-35
(Running in from the back)
It’s true, it’s true! It really is true. It’s hard to believe but I can honestly say – Jesus is alive.
Let me explain. You see, after all the events of last weekend, Cleopas and I decided that we might as well go back home to Emmaus. It wasn’t really all that far, about 12 kilometers, and we thought we could make it by evening. So we walked and tried to make sense of everything – part of the time being angry – at Jesus, at the Romans, at whoever we could think of – and part of the time just sad. We had such high hopes.
Well, somewhere along the way we realized that someone had joined us. I’m not sure where he came from or even when he joined us, he just all of a sudden was there. But he must have been there a little while listening in, because after we had noticed him he asked, “What are you guys talking about?”
Well, Cleopas, you know him, he doesn’t mince any words, and he said, “Are you crazy? Where have you been, under a rock somewhere? Are you the only one in town who doesn’t know what happened this past week? And he didn’t seem to know. So we had to fill him in, I mean rehash the whole thing that we had been talking about.
So we told him – I mean first we had to explain who we were talking about, Jesus of Nazareth and a little bit about how we had been with him for the past three years and seen all the things he had done and listened to him teach, I mean we could have gone on a long time but we finally got to the recent events, how the chief priests and elders had conspired against him and handed him over to the Romans, and they had crucified him. We had had such hopes that he was going to be our saviour, throw off the Roman rulers and restore the kingdom. Make Israel great again.
And then the weirdest part, how just this morning, three days after he had been killed, some women had come rushing in and said they had been at the tomb – and he wasn’t there! I mean can you really believe some women, they even said they saw some angels who told them that Jesus was alive. Well, you can imagine how that went over – so some of the others went into the garden where the tomb was and discovered that the women were right, his body was gone! But they didn’t see him, or angels, so now we don’t know what to believe.
This guy, at that point we didn’t know who he was, did this shake of the head, tsk, tsk, sort of thing and then he started talking. And could he talk! He knew his scriptures alright and he started in the Torah and worked his way through the prophets pointing out all the passages that pointed to the Messiah as a suffering servant, one who would need to die but would be vindicated in the end. He made a very convincing case that made us feel like we really hadn’t understood Jesus very well at all.
Time passed really quickly, and before we knew it we were at the house, and it was getting on towards dark. This stranger acted like he was going to go on to the next town, but we said, no you shouldn’t do that, it’s getting dark and the road can be dangerous, come in and have a meal with us, and spend the night. Really I think we wanted to talk more, but it was going on toward dark and it wouldn’t have been good for him to continue. So he, said, sure, he could do that.
So, we fixed a light supper and sat down to eat, and then – and then, as was the custom we asked the guest to say the blessing, it’s the polite thing to do especially since it was clear he was a learned man, he took the bread and blessed it, and broke it – and that’s when it hit us – it was him! It was Jesus, just like the women had said, it’s true he is alive. And then he was gone. I’m not sure if he slipped out while we weren’t looking, or what, but one minute he was there, and then he was gone.
We sat there in stunned silence for a minute trying to think – why hadn’t we recognized him? I mean it had been so amazing when he was talking with us, why hadn’t we known? But then, perhaps that’s the way it has always been. Maybe we didn’t really recognize him when he was with us before either. Would you recognize Jesus if he came and walked with you?
You think you know someone, you’ve been with them for some time and seen everything they did. And yet, you put your own ideas and expectations into that person and sometimes miss who they are completely. I’ve seen it happen with couples who want to get married, sometimes they become so enamored with their own idea of who the other person is that they miss seeing who they really are. And maybe that’s what we did with Jesus.
We were so intent on what we thought he ought to do for us that we missed what he was really saying. I wonder if that will happen in the future as well. Will people really hear Jesus’ message, or will it get twisted to suit their own ideas? Will people recognize Jesus even when he’s walking along with them and trying to explain who he really is?
But then, there are those moments, like sitting there at the table with him when suddenly it becomes clear, and you see Jesus for who he really is.
Well, anyhow, it didn’t take us long to hike back to Jerusalem and find the other disciples – and that’s when we found out that Jesus had appeared to Simon as well. So I wanted to come and tell you about what had happened and how we met Jesus on the road. It’s true, he is alive and he may meet you walking along the road as well. Pay attention, you might not recognize him right away.
I’m off to tell others. Think about it – what are your expectations and where did you last meet Jesus?