Summary: Inviting people to take the next step in their spiritual journey, culminating in encountering the Risen Lord
Dare To Journey Again – “Up From the Grave” Lent 2003
Luke 24:13-35 March 29/30, 2003
The journey of life sometimes catches us by surprise. Many of you were likely surprised by Niels’ announcement of his resignation as our Minister of Music this morning. I know he and Ingrid are wondering where God is leading them next, recognizing God’s call to change the path of their journey. And we are wondering where God will lead us next in our worship leadership. I’m sure there will be lots of questions and discussions in the weeks ahead, and the pastors and elders welcome any questions or feedback or suggestions you may have. And as our elders and admin boards have information to share, we will gladly do so. And in it all, the words of Paul in Philippians 1 come to mind for both the Reinholdts and for us: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I have that confidence – God is doing some exciting things, and He won’t abandon them, He promises to complete them.
Today I want to talk about journey. About the journey that each of us are on in life, and what role God plays in our journey. Throughout Lent we have been concentrating on Jesus’ resurrection and what that means for how we should live. Today I want to suggest to you that the fact that Jesus is alive means that we journey with Him. Everyday.
The Gospel of Luke records for us a fascinating story of one the Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. It is in the last chapter – 24 – beginning at verse 13. Let me read it with you:
Where are you on your Spiritual Journey?
1. Have your dreams been shattered?
The story begins with two of Jesus’ disciples walking along the road – likely returning to their home. The text tells us they were “talking” – the word conveys an intense, emotional conversation. They were trying to make sense of all that they had seen and heard, trying to understand how the one they had believed was the Messiah could have suffered as He did – could have been crucified like He was. A common criminal – was that really all He was? But if so, how could He have taught with such authority? How could He have done the miracles He did? How could He die so soon? It just doesn’t make sense.
These two disciples begin their journey in pain. Isn’t that true of you and I also? For many of us, the journey begins in pain. For those of you who came to faith in your adulthood, I know this is often your story – there was a crisis or a series of crisis, or else there was an emptiness and a loneliness. Something happened along the journey that left you crying out for God – sometimes out of the midst of some very deep, personal pain.
Some of us came to faith early in life, but even there we recognize the beginning of our journey with God came out of the pain of sin. Even if we were very young, we had some basic understanding of the separation from God caused by our sin, and we wanted to end that pain. To be forgiven. To be restored in relationship.
For some of you here today, that describes exactly the point you are at. Your journey is full of pain. Full of shattered dreams. Full of confusion. Maybe you have even asked the question, is it even worth continuing in this journey? I have wonderful news for you today – let’s keep looking at the story to discover what it is…
In the midst of the pain of their conversation, they are approached by a stranger. He hears the intensity of their conversation and asks them what they are talking about. Luke demonstrates his skill as a writer here, letting his readers in on the true identity of the stranger while also making it clear that the two disciples didn’t recognize Him. Jesus asks them about their pain: “18 They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"”
Notice this: Jesus’ question stops their journey. “They stood still, their faces downcast.” Doesn’t that ring true? They don’t even recognize that it is Jesus, but the question stops them in their tracks. It cuts right to the middle of the pain, gets right to the issue. I love how Jesus does that in Scripture, and how He does that in my life. Sometimes I come to Him in prayer with a whole list of stuff to talk about, and – when I stop to listen – He always has a way of cutting right through all of that to the things that are most important.