Summary: A sermon for the 3rd Sunday of Easter preached 4/26/2009 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Audubon, Iowa
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Since we are still in the Easter season, it’s quite appropriate that we begin our message for today with that great news. Two weeks ago, you heard me share with you, through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, how difficult it could be to really believe that good news. In fact, at first, it didn’t seem like she believed it until Jesus appeared to her, spoke His Word to her, and then she believed. In last Sunday’s Gospel reading, you heard the story of “Doubting Thomas”, a man who heard the news that Christ was risen, but couldn’t quite believe it to be true until Christ appeared to Him and spoke to Him. Let me ask you this morning, would you have believed the news that Christ is risen if you had heard the Word? Or would you need someone to open your mind, clean out the junk that’s in there, so you could believe the Word? Our Gospel reading for this morning is going to teach us a bit about the Word of God, and about the truth of the Word. It is my prayer that as you hear the preaching of His Word, that our Lord will open your minds as He opened the mind of His disciples.
Two weeks ago, you heard about Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the news that Christ is risen! But, she was skeptical until she saw the risen Christ and heard Him speak His word to her. In the section before our Gospel reading for today, we have an appearance of Jesus to a couple of his lesser known followers. These two men are from the town of Emmaus. They had made the journey to Jerusalem for the Passover, and had followed the events of that week. So the evening of the Resurrection, they’re making the walk back to Emmaus, which is about 7 miles from Jerusalem. Their topic of conversation along the road is about the events of that past week. As they’re talking, Jesus came up and walked with them, and asked them what they were talking about. Hearing this, they think “What’s wrong with this guy? Has he been living in a cave the past week or something, how can you have been in Jerusalem and not know what happened this last week?” So they proceed to fill him in. They say “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” (Luke 24:19-24) Jesus responds “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (v. 25-27) Once they get to their destination for the evening, they invite Jesus to stay with them, he sits at the table with them, breaks the bread, gives it to them, and we’re told “Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.” (v. 31) So they stop what they’re doing, and go back to find the disciples and tell them what they had just seen and heard from Jesus. What was the key here? Jesus taught them “from the Scriptures” why these things had happened to Him. He didn’t make this stuff up. He spoke to them God’s living, active Word. Keep that in mind, because I’m going to get back to that.
Now what’s my purpose in sharing this account with you? Look back at the text in Luke again. Remember with Mary Magdalane that Easter morning? Remember, she didn’t recognize Jesus right away. She had the physical evidence in front of her that Jesus had risen, she had heard His Word earlier, but her experience in this world led her to believe that this good news was false. It wasn’t until Jesus spoke His life-giving Word to her and through that Word opened her mind that she realized He had indeed risen!