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Summary: Do you ever feel like this? Emptiness? Exhaustion? Feeling trapped? We’ll meet two people in the Bible who felt this way. But because they met the Risen Jesus, they found joy. And you can, too!

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(I used several ideas from Rick Warren’s Easter messages over the last few years for this message. Thanks, Rick! 1980 people attended our services and 63 people prayed to recieve Christ at CVCC this Easter!)

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I’ve lived in NE Ohio 17 years and I’ve personally talked to hundreds of people here. I’ve discovered that just beneath the surface in most people’s lives are three little secrets that nobody likes to talk about.

Secret one: Exhaustion. People feel exhausted. They’re worn out. They say, “I’m tired all the time. I can’t keep up the pace. I’m overloaded. When I get home in the evening, I crash. I’m worn out. I’m out of energy. I’m exhausted.”

Secret two: Emptiness. It goes with exhaustion. You say, “I don’t think I’ve got anything left in me. I couldn’t sign up for another thing. I couldn’t take on another project or commitment. I’m stretched to the limit. And I’m still empty inside.” In those rare quiet moments, we’re thinking, “If I’m so busy, how come I’m still unsatisfied? What’s the meaning of all it all? Getting more and having more and accomplishing more? What’s the point? Why don’t I feel more satisfied?”

Secret three: Enslavement. It goes with emptiness and exhaustion. People say, “I feel trapped. I feel trapped by my debt. I don’t know if I’m ever going to get out of it. I feel trapped in a relationship, either with a girlfriend or boyfriend or in a marriage. I feel trapped by the expectations of other people around me. I feel trapped by guilt. I feel trapped by fear. I feel trapped by my own anger. I feel trapped by bitterness with somebody who’s hurt me.”

Do you ever feel like this? Emptiness? Exhaustion? Feeling trapped?

I want to introduce you to two people in the Bible who felt this way. But because they met the Risen Jesus, they found joy. And I’ve been praying that we could all learn some principles from their lives that might help us find that same joy. There is something more for you and I’m praying that you are about to come alive. God brought you here today to CVCC on Easter Sunday so He could introduce you to a joy you’ve never known before.

Finding joy: Easter, 2003

Text: Luke 24:13-35, 52-53

We’re going to learn about a man, Cleopas, and his companion. Some would say that it was his wife. But we don’t know. I think it’s good that we don’t know who this second person is. We don’t know the age. Or the gender. This second person might be someone like you.

They had followed Christ. They thought He would make their lives better – free the nation from Roman rule. But Jesus had a different agenda. Jesus had died. They hung around Jerusalem for a few days and on the third day were headed home.

They are downhearted, heartbroken, with shattered hopes. They are confused and discouraged. Maybe one of those words describes where you are right now in your life.

They didn’t know exactly what had happened. But they knew it was big. And so they walked and talked. They weren’t going to let it go until they figured it out. That might be where you are. You know something big happened at Easter-time 2000 years ago. But you aren’t sure exactly what.

As I thought about this story this past week, one thing jumped off the page at me. Jesus cared about these two. And He cares about you and me! Let’s jump into the story.

How I know that Jesus cares:

1. He knows where I’m going. vv. 13-15

13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.

14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.

15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.

Jesus finds them! He knew where they were walking – where they were going. He took initiative to find them! He wanted to walk with them!

Jesus has been traveling with you. He knows where you’re going. He cares what’s happening in your life. Think about it this way, “Someone is actually watching what I do with my life. The God who made everything cares about me.”

Jesus goes out of His way to approach you. He loves pursuing people who are broken, hurting, confused. He knows where I’m going.

2. He knows what I’m saying. vv. 16-17

16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.

17 And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad.

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