Sermons

Summary: A sermon discussing the power of the resurrection to transform my soul in the ordinary routines of life--eating meals and walking.

A SOUL SHAPED BY RESURRECTION

Cleopas and his friend trudged out of Jerusalem heading for their homes in Emmaus. As they began their 7 mile walk they didn’t say much. Each man was lost in his own thoughts trying to make sense of the bewildering events that had unfolded the week before. Like everyone else from their tiny village they had journeyed to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. They gathered to celebrate and commemorate God’s great gift of salvation. Their arrival on the Saturday before the feast had allowed them to secure lodging for the week. The city was buzzing. The streets were crowded with people. Vendors hawked goods and food. Children ran, pilgrims prayed. Jews from every corner of the region converged on Jerusalem for the Passover.

But just beneath the surface of all this revelry there was another kind of buzzing. A rumor was buzzing through the city. The itinerant preacher named Jesus from Nazareth had allegedly raised a man from the dead in the village of Bethany a few days ago. Everyone was talking about it. Everyone was looking for Jesus. Cleopas and his friend were thrilled. They were personal friends of Jesus and were among his followers.

Then the news swept through the city. Jesus is on his way. He’s coming in from Bethany. Great crowds went out the Bethany road to greet him. They carried Palm branches and shouted “Lord Save Us,” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” Jesus came riding down the Bethany road on a donkey. Hundreds lined the road as Jesus made his way into the Holy City.

That was only one week earlier. How could it have gone so bad so fast? These two men had witnessed it all and it was all spinning around in their heads as they trudged back home to Emmaus. Like many other friends of Jesus, they not only loved him affectionately as the Leader, but they saw in him the promised Messiah and expected that he might assert himself with power at the great Feast of Passover. They expected him to establish his messianic kingdom. But then all the horrifying events came in quick succession—arrested at Gethsamane, mock trial, scourging, the long bloody march to Golgotha, crucifixion, dead, buried.

There was even another rumor. Jesus’ grave was empty and angels had appeared to some women. Why did Jesus die? Why didn’t he do something? Why didn’t he stop it? He had power, why didn’t he use it to escape? Now the weirdness continues with new rumors that his body had disappeared.

These questions harassed Cleopas and his companion. Finally he broke the silence and began to try to make sense of them with his friend. As they were trying to unravel the events of the week they were joined by a stranger along the road. He began asking questions. Cleopas was annoyed. “Where has this guy been all week, the dark side of the moon? Why is he intruding on my grief and sorrow?”

Cleopas doesn’t know it, but his soul is in need of some shaping right now. It has become misshapened by his responses to the events of the preceding week. He is unaware that at this moment he is being set up. Set up by the resurrected Jesus.

How about you? Does your soul need some shaping today? Actually all of us need to be shaped by the resurrected Jesus even if we’re not aware of our need. But most of us are aware of it. That’s one of the reasons we come to church. We’re aware. Some of you only come to church on Easter. But there was a time when your life was alive with Jesus. What happened? You started off so well. Like so many of us the entanglements of this world began wrap themselves around our soul. Subtly Not all at once. Very slowly and subtly they wrapped themselves around our ankles and just slowed us down a bit. But now we only show up for church on Easter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very glad you’re here today. I prayed for you this week. I asked the Holy Spirit to help me set you up. I asked him to set you up for an encounter with the resurrected Christ.

MY SOUL CAN BE SHAPED BY THE RESURRECTED JESUS…

1. IN THE ORDINARINESS OF WALKING/TRAVELING

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. Luke 24:13-16 (NIV)

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