Summary: Though shattered, Jesus can put us back together again. A message for Easter based on the story of the Emmaus road.
His Name Is Jesus – Part 5
Easter - March 31, 2002
Just about everyone I know loves a good story. Well, have I got a story for you!
To tell it best I need you to pick up a Bible and look at Luke 24. Just so happens that we have some in the racks under the pews. Page 1047. Share with your neighbor.
For the past several Sundays we have been learning about the last week of Jesus’ life. We learned that on Thursday night he and his 12 closest followers celebrated the Jewish Passover in Jerusalem. Then later that night, Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. A mob of people interrupt Jesus and arrest him. Through the night and into the early hours of the morning Jesus is given a speedy and unfair trial. He is sentenced to death by the Roman official Pontius Pilate and on Friday morning he is nailed to a cross. By noon on Friday Jesus is dead. He is buried in a tomb with a stone rolled in front of the entrance and Roman guards stationed there. But early Sunday morning some women who were followers of Jesus went to the tomb and found it empty.
Read v. 13-16
13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
Jesus comes up to them. You might be thinking, “Wait a minute! I thought you said Jesus was dead.” Well just hang on and see what happens.
I thought it might be fun as we listen to this story to answer some multiple choice questions. They are in your bulletin:
1. Why didn’t the two travelers recognize Jesus? (v. 16)
a) Jesus was wearing a disguise.
b) They had never stood this close to him before.
c) The late afternoon sun was glaring in their eyes.
d) A supernatural force was at work.
Best answer is d – supernatural force at work.
v. 16 – “They were kept from recognizing him.”
Another translation of the Bible called the NASB reads “their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”
Yet another translation says “their eyes were restrained.”
A supernatural force was at work – God was at work. These two travelers were in the presence of Jesus, but were none the wiser.
Makes me think…
(Application): Sometimes God is at work and we don’t even know it. Our eyes don’t recognize it at the time.
ILLUS – I met my wife Kim in 1996 when she came to do her internship at the church where I was Youth Minister. Sure, she was the cutest intern we had ever had. But little did I know what God had in store for us. God was at work and I didn’t know it.
ILLUS – That same year I received a phone call from Mark Derry who was an Elder at the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills. He said they were looking for a new Senior Minister to follow Winston Zastrow and wondered if I might send in my resume. I thought about. I prayed about it. But that was all. I figured who would want to hire a single guy in his 20’s who had only done youth work to succeed someone with nearly 50 years of preaching experience. Then Mark called back a couple of months later, and said, “Hey, we were serious when we said we wanted your resume.” God was at work, but my eyes didn’t recognize it at the time.
You have probably had some similar experiences too. Times when you could look back and say, that’s what God was doing. But you were unaware of it at the time.
It makes you think doesn’t it?
Where were we? Oh yes, Jesus comes up to them.
Read v. 17-19a
17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One 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?”
19“What things?” he asked.
This was Sunday. Jesus had been put on the cross Friday morning. The Bible always refers to this as the third day. Friday (1), Saturday (2), Sunday (3).
The way Cleopas reacts is almost like he’s talking to someone who has been asleep for years.
Think about it like this.
You’ll never ever forget what happened on Tuesday, September 11. My guess is that the events of that morning affected you deeply for several days after. So let’s say on the third day (the 11th was Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) – on Thursday, Sept. 13 you are visiting with a friend when all of a sudden a stranger comes up to you and says, “Hey, you guys seem a little down. What’s wrong? What are talking about?” You might be strongly tempted to say, “Where in the world have you been? What do you mean what are we talking about? Are the only person alive who hasn’t heard about the things that have happened?”