INTRO.- ILL.- It was following the resurrection and disciples were still somewhat scattered about Jerusalem and the surrounding villages. John finds Peter and runs up to him. Excitedly he says, "Peter, Peter! I’ve got some good news and some bad news."
Peter takes ahold of John and calms him down. "Take it easy, John. What is it? What’s the good news?"
John says, "The good news is Christ is risen." Peter says, "That’s great! But, what’s the bad news?" John, looking around, says, "He’s really steamed about last Friday."
No, not really. What Jesus suffered on the cross was a part of God’s plan even before He created the world, but of course, it was not pleasant. Jesus submitted to His Father’s will.
ILL.- General William T. Sherman said, “War is hell.” I think he was wrong. I think war is hellish but not hell. Hell is far worse than any war this world has ever seen. But what Jesus suffered on the cross was hell. Hell is described in the Bible as “separation from God” and Jesus suffered separation from His Father.
Matthew 27:45-46 “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
It’s hard to imagine or understand why God would do this and especially, for sinful man. BUT HE DID! He did because He is love! He allowed Jesus to suffer for us on the cross and the cross still speaks loudly today! The problem is that many people aren’t paying any attention to the cross!
I Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
BY HIS WOUNDS. By His suffering, His death, His separation we are healed, forgiven, saved, and headed to heaven! Wow! Is there anything better? Is there anyone better who would do this for you???
II Corinthians 5:21“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jesus became sin for us. He became our sin on the cross. UNBELIEVABLE! From a human perspective, it’s unbelievable, but with God all things are possible. All good things are possible. God deals in doing good for His creation and this was the greatest good thing He could have ever done for all mankind! HE MADE A WAY TO ETERNAL LIFE!
We’re on this side of the cross and the resurrection, consequently, the question about these truths should be settled with people. They’ve had enough time to believe and come to faith in the living, resurrected Jesus. But many people are somewhat like to the two men in our text who are so close to believing in the resurrected Christ and yet they don’t.
PROP.- Our text reveals how some may respond to the resurrection.
1- Some consider but do not believe
2- Some agonize but find no joy
3- Some see but they don’t see
I. SOME CONSIDER BUT DO NOT BELIEVE
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
The two guys ”were talking with each others about that everything that had happened.” What things? The crucifixion of Jesus.
I don’t think you will find many people talking about the crucifixion of Jesus today unless it’s in church. It’s a rare to talk about His crucifixion, but the incident had just happened so it was big news.
When something big happens today, good or bad, it’s on the internet and TV in a matter of minutes! It’s on CNN Headline News almost immediately and other stations.
Even though the gospel is over 2000 years old don’t you wish more people would consider Jesus? That is, His death and resurrection? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? And how could they not come to faith in Him if they would consider Him?
ILL.- Vince Antonucci is the preacher of the Verve Church in Las Vegas. What’s a “Verve” church? I never heard of such before. I figured it was a “made-up” word, but I found out that it isn’t made up. “Verve” means enthusiasm, vigor, lively, or perhaps exciting.
Vince Antonucci believes we must love people before we ever tell them the truth about Jesus and the Bible. It’s the old idea of people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. AND HE’S RIGHT. We must “love” people into the kingdom of God or the church. But that’s not how Vince made it.
Here is what Vince said about himself: I have that typical story, told too many times. Guy grows up in home with Jewish mother and gambling addict father. Guy becomes a Christian in college by trying to prove the Bible isn’t true. Guy leaves career in law to become a pastor. Guy starts church in Virginia Beach that grows from four people to hundreds. Guy leaves church in Virginia Beach to move to Las Vegas to start church on the Vegas Strip.
Vince says his story is typical. I DON’T THINK SO! Most of us come from homes where the Bible was believed and taught and where we went to church most of our lives, BUT NOT VINCE. He came from a non-religious and a non-Christian home and yet he came to Christ and he came strongly! He took it upon himself to read the Bible in order to refute it’s claims about Jesus and he ended up finding it refuting life as he knew it and surrendered his life to Christ! AMAZING!
Not so amazing, really. When people begin to seriously consider the truth of the Bible and the truth about Christ they can’t help but come to faith! THAT’S THE POWER OF TRUTH AND THE POWER OF THE BIBLE!
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Our problem is trying to get people to consider the claims of Christ in the Bible. How do we do this? We love people and then point to the truth of scripture. Hopefully, our love and our lives will provide an “itch” in people that they’ll want to scratch and find out about Jesus. We all need to become more “soul” conscious. What’s that?
We all must become more conscious of the people around us, that they are watching us, that they are listening and learning from us. Consequently, we must be on our “best behavior.” We must live for Christ.
ILL.- I’ve been at some ball games where some church members acted more like heathen Indians than healthy Christians. I’ve seen them get mad, yell, scream, carry on, etc., and such actions do not draw people to Christ or the church!
Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Be wise in the way you act: meaning be good, be nice, be sweet. Let your conversation be gracious so as to draw people, not push them away. We must live like Christ in love and hopefully, this will cause some to consider the claims of Christ and eventually come to faith.
II. SOME AGONIZE BUT FIND NO JOY
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.
The world is full of downcast people for one reason or another that have no joy or find no joy. And the greatest “downer” of all is not recognizing who Jesus is and what He can do for you.
ILL.- The wife was telling her friend about her household budget. “I spend 40 percent of our income for food, 30 percent for rent, 30 percent for clothing, and 20 percent for transportation and incidentals.” “But that makes 120 percent.” The woman responded, “DON’T I KNOW IT!”
Not having enough money to pay your bills is depressing and most of us have been there and done that. The economy is tough and it may get tougher and people are depressed over it.
ILL.- A man asked a preacher friend, “How many active members do you have?” The preacher replied, “They’re all active. Half of them are working with me and half of them are working against me.” Sometimes in life we find that some people are working against us rather for us and that is depressing.
ILL.- Many years ago a young midwestern lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his life’s calling and the wisdom of even attempting to follow it through. During this time he wrote, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell."
That lawyer was Abraham Lincoln who became our 16th President. Depression can hit anyone. There is little joy in life for many people.
ILL.- A federal office worker finds a lamp in an old file drawer and as he examines it a genie pops out. For his first of three traditional wishes, he wants to be on a beautiful deserted Island. Poof! There he is.
Next, of course, he wants the gorgeous babes, and Poof! There they are. Finally, he realizes he must sustain this great life and wishes he would never have to work. Poof! He’s back at the office (a federal office where he’d never have to work!)
No, it matters not what your situation is in life or how good it is, joy is not to be found in the things of this world: money, material things, play, pleasure, etc. Eventually, the joy that these things seemingly bring, runs out.
ILL.- Why do you think people like Charlie Sheen who was the richest paid actor on TV turn to drugs? And why do people like actress Elizabeth Taylor get married 8 times to seven husbands? Never content, never happy.
The two men in our text were downcast. Why? The Lord had just been crucified. Their only hope of what life could hold for them was now gone. OR SO THEY THOUGHT!
Brothers and sisters, we always have reason to rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Our lives are founded on the solid rock of Jesus. We always have reason to look up and rejoice no matter what the circumstances of our lives, because our circumstances won’t stay that way! And we have the promise of a better life beyond the grave!
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Psalm 13:5 “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Joy comes when we put our trust in our living Lord. There is no real reason for being downcast.
III. SOME SEE BUT THEY DON’T SEE
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Jesus said, “How slow of heart you are to believe the prophets.”
And how slow for some people to believe the message of the Bible and the gospel today. There are many people who see but they don’t see. They have heard the message again and again, but they don’t believe it. That’s like seeing but not seeing!
Matthew 9:35-38 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
It appears that Jesus could see things that many of us don’t see. When Jesus saw people, he saw harassed and helpless people. He could see their real needs and because of His good vision, His good heart, He had compassion on people. He brought healing to many people and soothed many aching hearts.
We see but we don’t see. We see people but often, we don’t see that they are hurting. We don’t see to the point that we demonstrate compassion and do something for them like Jesus.
ILL.- Mother Teresa is a good example of someone who saw people like Jesus. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.
She is quoted as saying: Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. And: One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa was apparently a person who could see something of what Jesus saw. She had compassion on hurting and helpless people.
But many people see and yet don’t see. DO WE REALLY SEE WITH THE EYES OF JESUS? Likewise, there are many who see Jesus but don’t really see Him for who He is: the Son of God and only Savior of the world.
There is more preaching about Jesus today than ever before. Have you ever surfed the TV channels on Sunday morning and noticed how many preachers there are? How could people today in America not know about Jesus? Everyone has heard of Jesus and what He did. How could they not believe? How could they see and yet not see?
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
When these two guys finally got it, they got it strongly. They said, “It’s true. Jesus has risen from the dead!” And He has.
We should get it too. And once we have it we should do something with it. We have the greatest treasure in the world and we need to share it with others! That’s what Easter is all about! As someone said: If it isn’t true, we must give it up. If it is true, we must give it away!
Steve Shepherd, Jonesboro Christian Church