We don’t always get all the facts right away when something momentous happens. The day of 9/11 was filled with confusion and speculation. More confusing the closer to NYC and WTC.
Recap Passion Week: triumphal entry, Last Supper, prayer, arrest, trial, execution, and burial. Now there were rumors of a resurrection. Late in the day on that first confusing Easter.
Read Luke 24:13-35.
These two were in a funk about what had happened.
DESPAIR & CONFUSION
The whirlwind week left these two in a state of despair and confusion. They were casually discussing the events when suddenly a stranger comes up beside them and says, “What ya’ll talking about?”
They looked sad and one said, “What planet are you from?” How could this fellow not know what had gone down.
Their despair came from the fact that Jesus didn’t fulfill the aspirations they had. For centuries there had been rising within the Jewish community a sense that a military/political messiah would come and kick out Rome and reestablish Israel as a dominant world power. How could their leader wind up getting himself executed?
Now with all that had happened they were confused. Some of the women they knew had visited the cemetery that morning, and they said the tomb was empty. Women’s testimony wasn’t considered reliable in the 1st century. That’s makes the use of women as the first witnesses to the resurrection all the more amazing.
Sometimes, we try to box Jesus in as well. These two and others tried to box Jesus into their preconceived notion. Do we do that? Do we box Jesus into our preconceived notions?
We have preconceived notions about how church is supposed to happen. When we box in Jesus it winds up in despair because he doesn’t meet our expectations. We then end up in confusion.
DEFINITION & COMFORT
After they get all their despair and confusion out of their system, Jesus says, “You just don’t get it.” To call them “foolish” isn’t an insult. He is simply saying that they don’t understand or comprehend. Jesus then carefully defines for them from Moses and the Prophets what the Messiah would be.
A lot of our despair and confusion comes from an inadequate definition. These two were aware of the scriptures, but they had interpreted them through preconceived notions. They had read things into the scripture. They didn’t have an adequate understanding.
When we get an adequate definition we are comforted. Their heart were burning, but they weren’t sure why. When the scriptures are opened our hearts will burn. John Wesley relates an account in his life, when he was at a meeting of believers when he felt his heart “strangely warmed.”
Even though they didn’t get it all, they received comfort. The pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place, although the picture wasn’t yet clear.
Our definition of church is shaded by our modern mind. I’ve been on a journey about what church truly is.
DINNER & COMMUNION
Jesus wasn’t being deceptive when he acted as though he would continue on. He wasn’t going to force his way in. He doesn’t force his way into our lives either. He offers us the free will to invite him into our lives. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20) He won’t kick in the door.
Two of the highlights of the Gospels revolve around breaking of bread. The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels. This is a turning point for Jesus. The crowds wanted to force him to be king, but he slipped away. The other is the Communion Meal that Jesus shared in the Upper Room the night before he was executed.
When we invite Jesus in he feeds us. Jesus had an exchange with his disciples: “Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work’” (John 4:31-34). Jesus satisfies as nothing else can.
DELIVERANCE & COMMUNICATION
We see, once they recognize Jesus, there is deliverance. The long arduous journey of sadness to Emmaus becomes a joyous dash back to Jerusalem. Their despair and confusion were wiped away and replaced with deliverance and communication. They didn’t fear the nighttime journey back to the city. Did their feet touch the ground?
Once delivered, they couldn’t help but communicate their experience. When we are delivered into the freedom of Christ we can’t help but communicate it. Barclay says, “The Christian message is never fully ours until we have shared it with someone else.” They came back to Jerusalem to tell their story. They found out when they got back that others had seen the risen Christ.
YOUR GOD ENCOUNTER
Have you spent time walking with the Lord? Have you sought to have him open up the scriptures to you? Do you feel a sense of despair or confusion? Walk with the risen Christ. Spend time with him.
This is perhaps the first recorded celebration of the Lord’s Supper after that first time. Let us now walk with Christ to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.