Summary: As the travelers made their weary way to Emmaus a stranger fell alongside them. It was going to be one of the most wonderful walks in history!
TITLE: CAN’T NOBODY BREAK BREAD LIKE JESUS
SCRIPTURE: ST. LUKE 24:13-32
We will shortly gather around this Communion Table for the final time in the Calendar Year 2016. Few began Year with us have been called from Labor to Reward. I want to spend some time focusing on this table for this final time, this 12th time this year. The text is somewhat different from what is ordinarily used as a Communion Setting, but very Powerful Text indeed.
It must be noted only Luke records this Narrative. Not a word from Matthew, or Mark, or John about this Emmaus Road Experience. And at first reading, the narrative leaves us with more questions than answers. And yet, as I studied the narrative of the Emmaus Road in preparation for today’s message, I sensed I was walking on Holy Ground! I want to lift up as a thought this morning ‘Can’t Nobody Break Bread Like Jesus.’
Have you ever had the opportunity to SIT DOWN AND EAT A MEAL WITH SOMEONE THAT WAS FAMOUS? I have sat down to eat with CEO’s – UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS – NATIONAL BAPTIST LEADERS, people known within their circles, but never with anyone really famous. In our text this morning we are introduced to two men on the Emmaus Road who almost had a meal with someone famous.
Today we have a wonderful narrative about an appearance of Jesus after his resurrection. You know this narrative, the road to Emmaus. It is the evening of Resurrection Sunday. Two followers of Jesus, not members of the disciple band which has now shrunk to eleven with the death of Judas. These additional two followers of Christ are walking back home. They are headed to the little Village of Emmaus, which Luke tells us was about 7 miles from Jerusalem.
• How long would it take three men accustomed to walking everywhere to walk 7 miles?
• Well the average human can walk about 3 miles an hour, so maybe 2 or 3 hours because it sounds like they are walking slowly and sadly
DISAPPOINTMENT - DOUBT – DISILLUSIONMENT – DEFEAT – DISCOURAGEMENT – DESPAIR - DEATH - all of these words sum up how Cleopas and his companion were feeling as they trudged up the road toward Emmaus. They had left the downhearted and confused band of disciples who were afraid and bewildered over what had happened to Jesus on Good Friday. The two men, as they travelled along, were also sad and disillusioned.
The Master they had loved and followed had been horribly put to death – a cruel and degrading death on a cross. Jesus had been made a public spectacle, exposed to the jeers of all who passed by. Only a week before, their hopes had risen to fever pitch when the excited crowds welcomed their Master waving palm branches and shouting ‘HOSANNA’.
• But now Jesus lay dead in a sealed tomb
• Their hopes were dashed
• The dream was over!
As the travelers made their weary way to Emmaus a stranger fell alongside them. It was going to be one of the most wonderful walks in history! We know, of course, that it was the risen Jesus, but somehow they didn’t recognize him. In fact Luke tells us "THEY WERE KEPT FROM RECONIZING HIM."
• It wasn’t an accident they didn’t notice who he is or that they were too preoccupied to look at him in the eye
• No, they weren’t allowed to recognize Jesus for a purpose
• It was so they might be in the same position as ourselves some 2,000 years later
So, Cleopas and another unnamed disciple are heading for home. The text said Jesus “Just showed up.” Don’t know where he came from, but just showed up. Text does not indicate they were startled by any means, but this stranger, just showed up. Undoubtedly Cleopas and his friend had at some point been with the disciples because they are amazed their walking companion who just seemed to have appeared on this dusty road hasn’t heard the news about Jesus.
Even though crucifixions were not rare in the area around Jerusalem — Rome had crucified 2,000 residents of Jerusalem during the uprising when Herod the Great died — the crucifixion of Jesus had gotten everyone’s attention.
• So they ask their companion, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem?”
• So they asked their companion “Man, where have you been”
• So they asked their companion “How could you have missed what has happened during the past three days?”
So, these fellows on this Dusty Road heading to the tiny town of Emmaus begin to tell Jesus about Jesus. Now doesn’t that beat all! First, they back off a little bit when they describe him — “HE WAS A PROPHET” but then they add, “POWERFUL IN THE THINGS HE BOTH SAID AND DID.” But “THEY CRUCIFIED HIM.”