Summary: Walking away from Jerusalem. The encouraging ministry of Christ to 2 disappointed believers on the first Easter Day. Has something caused you to walk away from God’s best in your life? How would you know if it had? Where is Christ in it all?
What a message!
Jesus died for our sins and rose again!
Because of this we can now have forgiveness, victory and new life.
Who needs forgiveness but the guilty?
Who needs victory except the defeated?
Who needs new life but those with broken lives?
This is good news!
But does it sound good to you?
Or does it all sound too good to be true?
It’s Easter day. Cleopas has left the building.
Or rather, two disciples are walking away from Jerusalem.
They are not famous disciples. They are just 2 ordinary followers of Jesus. One is called Cleopas.
And they have long sad faces and are talking about the events of the past few days... At one time these 2 had made a decision to follow Christ, and had followed him for some time. But today they were walking away.
Have you ever walked away ‘from Jerusalem’?
What I mean is, Have you ever walked away from the Christian hope you once had? The intimacy you once had with God? The excitement you once felt at following Jesus?
Maybe something disappointed you about God, or church?
Could be somebody disappointed you?
Perhaps you even disappointed yourself?
And you have walked away?
How would you know if you had walked away?
Well, it’s Easter Day and they’re walking away. And Jesus comes alongside and walks with them. It says in verse 16 they were kept from recognising him. He asks them what they’re talking about. They mention the things that have been happening. Jesus plays ignorant, What things? Wow, they think! Who is this guy? He must be from a long way away, ‘cause only a visitor wouldn’t know the amazing things that just took place in Jerusalem.
Point number 1: Sometimes it seems that Christ is very far away, when actually, he’s very close...
As the famous old poem ‘Footprints’ in the Sand puts it... ‘One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?” The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”’
On life’s journey we sometimes feel alone, but Jesus has never left us. His promise is “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Point number 2: Disappointment is often the thing that causes us to ‘walk away from Jerusalem’.
As they walk along the road together, Jesus lets them pour out their hearts. They tell him about Jesus, a powerful prophet. He’d been crucified, killed by the religious and civic leaders. And they had hoped he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. They had hoped he was the promised Messiah who would change everything. But he was dead, and in the morning some of the women disciples had said they’d seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Hopes of salvation, rumours of resurrection. It was all too good to be true. Everybody knew that Jesus was dead.
Disappointment. See it in those words, v21, “We had hoped”... What had you hoped? And what happens when God lets you down? When God does something you weren’t expecting? Or doesn’t do something you wanted him to? Doesn’t give us that job, that promotion, that partner, that healing... Or when life just feels too unfair. Some of us, like these two, walk away from Jerusalem.
Some of us do it obviously. We stop going to church regularly or at all. We may even stop believing in God.
But some of us are like that little boy who kept walking around the classroom. The teacher finally manages to get him to sit down in his chair. And he scowls up at her and says, “I may be sitting down on the outside but I’m standing up on the inside!” Some of us – although outwardly we still come to church, inwardly we have walked away from Jerusalem. And I know that can happen, ‘cause a number of years ago it happened to me. I still sang the songs and carried my Bible around. But inside I was 7 miles up the Emmaus Road until Jesus came and changed things...