Summary: Jesus walks with two disciples and reveals himself to them in eating of bread and drinking of wine.
Luke 24:13-35 "Do You See Him?"
We all have had events in our lives that have shaken our faiths like a level 8 earthquake. Our faith lives have been left in shambles. We have been overcome with doubts and confusion. Looking upon the pile of dust, brinks and broken trinkets, we have wondered if we will be able to find life underneath the rubble and whether we will be able to put our lives back together.
Except for encouraging the People of God to be faithfully obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Scripture never gives instructions on how to avoid catastrophes. The writers of the Bible understood that such occurrences were a part of life--something to expect in the broken world in which we live.
Instead of telling us how to escape tragedies and tribulations, the Scripture gives us instructions on how to live through such events. The goal is to emerge on the other side of such happenings with a faith that has been tempered and strengthened, rather than weakened and riddled with doubts. Reading today's gospel text about the disciples on their walk to Emmaus, we are able to learn valuable "survival techniques."
A LOST HOPE
One of the most tragic verses in the Bible is Luke 24:21. The two disciples who are walking to Emmaus on Sunday afternoon talk to a stranger (who they later discover to be Jesus) and say, "But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel." The hope of the disciples is past tense. They had lived in hope, but they no longer have that hope. Confusion, hopelessness, fear and despair have replaced the hope they once had.
Faye and I can certainly identify with the disciples. Several years ago, when Faye was diagnosed with cancer, we experienced to same emotions. I recently had the opportunity to minister to a young couple to learned late in the third trimester of their pregnancy that their unborn child was missing a crucial chromosome. Their child would be born with a partly developed brain. If the child was born alive, its life expectancy was, at most, a few days. This couple went through the same trauma that the disciples experience. A few years after a couple's retirement the husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. They experienced the devastation that accompanied such a diagnosis.
What has happened to you? A lost job? A dream that failed to be realized? A health issue? Those Tsunami events of life come in all shapes and sized. The one thing they have in common is that they rob us of our hope and shatter our faith.
There are actions that we can take that will help us to journey though the tumultuous and confusing times that we encounter.
One of the first things that we notice is that the two disciples are together. It is important for us to understand that we do not need to go through hard times alone and we should not go through hard times alone. It's called bearing one another's burdens. The word that is translated "talking with each other," doesn't mean that they were casually passing the time of day. Rather, the word indicates that they were really wrestling with the problems which confronted them. They were attempting to help each other to understand that had happened and was happening in their lives. The disciples did not fall into the temptation of trying to tough it out and go it alone.
Another thing that the two disciples did was to search the Scripture. In verse 27 Luke records, "Then beginning with Moses and all of the prophets, he [Jesus] interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. It was through their search of scripture that the disciples begin to understand what was happening. It didn't enable them to escape, but it did help them to see what God was doing in their lives.
Finally, the disciples continued to worship. The actions of Jesus as he ate with the disciples mirrors the actions and words of Holy Communion. It was as they celebrated Holy Communion that the disciples were able to see Jesus--the resurrected Christ. Worship enables us to turn our attention from our problems and struggles, focus on God and praise God.
The situation was changed when the disciples were able to see Jesus. Jesus had been raised from the dead since the morning. Jesus had also been walking with the disciples for some time, but they were not able to see him. Once the disciples saw Jesus, Luke records that their eyes were open.
Things didn't magically change for the disciples. They still had many changes to face. Eventually they would face persecution. Once they saw Jesus, though, the confusion cleared and they were able to take the next steps of faith and discipleship.