Summary: An Easter sermon looking at the things that stop us recognising Jesus.(suitable for before communion)

The Emmaus road- what ‘keeps’ you?

Luke 24:13-35 WBC Easter Sunday 20/4/3 am

V13- “… two of them…”

Two unknown Jews, here

Told later (v18)- one of them = Cleopas

- other = wife?

 Luke himself?

o Certainly = an eyewitness

But basically – unknown. Anonymous. Just your average Jo (or Joseph, or Joanna)

- they’re not one of the remaining disciples (v33 ‘the Eleven’)

- probably just two of the crowd that followed Jesus around

But they met Jesus!

• You don’t have to be a hero to meet Jesus! Just an average person- like so many here. Me

V15 “… Jesus came alongside”

Jesus seeks them out. Knows their hearts, actually.

- = such a comforting thing! Jesus knows YOUR heart

- knows how/when to seek you out. Knows your sincerity and desire for truth

= bit of a traumatic time… week:

- hopes dashed. Violent crucifixion. Fear and violence still around

Actually- often God DOES speak to us… come to us… in time of

- trauma, trouble, shattered dreams

o (sometimes it’s the only time we’ll listen… be open!)

But the point I want to make is:

- he came alongside

- He was there… even though they couldn’t recognise Him

o (Easter version of ‘Footprints!’)

He was there. And He is with you. I pray you may recognise Him, and ask Him to stay, this morning.

But here’s the thing to me!: why didn’t they recognise Him?

- I wanna know! Why?!

Some suggestions!:

1 Different

Others in the Bible didn’t recognise him immediately, either:

- Mary (John 20)- thinks He’s the gardener

- Disciples in the boat, Jn 21, Jesus on the shore. Only Peter’s sure, immediately

o Sees with the eyes of faith. Proven right

It’s quite possible- Jesus was the same, yet different

- death is NOT the end. THIS proves it. Jesus= ‘prototype’

- but between ‘here and beyond’, ‘us now and us then’:

o = continuity of existence, personality, features (bodily even)

 cf Jesus’ wounds, and the fact that He WAS recognisable (ultimately)

o = discontinuity, too. Or should I say ‘transformation’

 (or maybe better ‘metamorphosis, cf grub> butterfly. Seed> plant)

 = new!. Fulfilment of this!

- So, somehow, we’re US… but like the angels, too

o (cf Jesus- had a body… ate… but not bodily limitations)

So- don’t be surprised they didn’t recognise Him initially. May ‘simply’ have been because of something ‘supernatural’ that we can’t grasp

2 Pain

But here’s some natural reasons why they might not have recognised Him

- certainly some reasons why some don’t, today

= the trauma of it all. Their journey so far

- Illustr: was speaking with someone recently (don’t come here) and the ‘tears in their eyes’ were certainly stopping them seeing Jesus was RIGHT THERE

o = just like Mary, Jn 20

= possible, here.

- v17. Downcast. V21 “we had hoped”

o such hopes and dreams, shattered

o oh gosh. When things don’t work out as hoped/expected- can be so v hard

 can affect our walk with God

 = almost always a crossroads for coming closer or bitterness driving apart.

Their language is v revealing, here.

- understand some things: ‘prophet’. ‘powerful before God’ v19

- ‘… was going to redeem’ v21

o understood something of coming to save, pay the price

- but didn’t understand other things: “redeem ISRAEL”

o = a give-away. May have thought He was a Messiah. But a certain kind of Messiah

 one to deliver ISRAEL (rather than PEOPLE)

 military

- Illustr: Liz & I chatting Fri. Choosing “Jesus Barabas or Jesus Christ”

o Rejected Jesus because He was not the kind of Messiah THEY wanted. On THEIR terms

And so with us. We often feel most let down by God over plans/promises that were not His in the first place

- the struggle with ALL of us is ‘God’s plans or mine’. AS His ways are not ours (but they ARE better)

- Illustr: “don’t let them die, Lord” “Why did you let them”

- Honest truth: death STINGS – but it’s better for the Xian! This is what Easter is about. We get to go to be with HIM! Don’t grieve like those who have no hope

PS 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD

is the death of his saints.

o But He’s not concerned about it in the way WE are

They’re crying to Jesus “we had hoped He would have redeemed Israel”- & He knows he’s done something better, fuller, global rather than national. For the true Israel

Pain? Tears? What’s the way through? To see Jesus through them?

Note: - HE joins them. Seeks them

 journeys with them. IS there

 LISTENS to them

 In time, brings TRUE understanding

 Eventually reveals Himself, (with tender words of ‘Mary’). Does so, here.

3 Preconceptions

Illustr: Edward getting v heated. “Something dead cannot come back to life!!” “you can’t say ‘cannot’. Can say X= normal”. Keep an open mind

- = SO heated by end of resurrection video. Sat and sulked. Later went out with (cynic) doctor friend who gave him all the ‘answers’- (but not having watched the video!)

We see what we want to see. Find what we want to find (both ways, I guess!)

- would have NEVER believed it possible that this was Jesus beside them.

o = ‘too god to be true’ ‘doesn’t happen’

- But it DOES. Did. 2 days later- He came back to life. Over 500 saw Him.

o If God can raise a dead man/baby- THIS is no problem

 Seeing as you can’t kill God

So- careful before you say ‘God can’t. Didn’t’. Keep open and objective

- He can do ANYTHING! He’s God!

o Normally He sticks within stable laws ((as WE see them)

 But remember- He made them! Can do what He wants!

Keep an open mind. Look at the evidence. Then decide (not beforehand!)

- Alpha

4 Need to understand more

while we’re on the topic of Alpha

often there is need to understand more, to experience more

- for Xians and seekers alike

Here- could have “taken the wool away” earlier… but it wouldn’t have lasted. Needed 2 hrs of unveiling the Bible

Jesus gives them quite a dressing down, here (v25)- when they’re hurting! Because they’ve missed the point

- root problem = foolish, slow to believe the Bible story

- so He explains it all to them, staring with genesis (‘Moses’):

o God wanted to walk with His people

o We’re ruined the relationship

o God came to:

 Walk again- bodily

 Pay the price- bodily

 Show His lovely power- bodily

= great illustration, here! This is their ‘journey’

- initially: full of their ideas. Religious ideas. Personal ideas

- they grow in their understanding

- then- the penny drops (with God’s help)

5 … they were kept from recognising him (v16)

Here- the fascinating reason it really gives for them not recognising Him is GOD!

They… WE don’t ‘see’ until

a) the timing’s right

b) the groundwork’s done (understanding certain things)

c) they actually wanted to! Eager. “Stay with us!” Jesus won’t IMPOSE- He waits to be INVITED into the home of our hearts

d) we understand that inviting Him into our ‘home’ means He’s gotta be boss. Completely

a. they give Him the honour of breaking the bread, here. + normally the hosts’

e) God chooses to reveal

- “no one can come to me unless the Father draws Him”

6… “then their eyes were opened” v31

The blinkers fall off at meal time!

- = the first time they’d looked at His face? (doubt it!)

- saw the nail marks in His hands (v possibly)

o when you see them, and why… the penny will drop

= basically, just God’s time. Timing. And it happens at the strangest times and places!

- He’s SO sovereign

But certainly a good application is that it can happen HERE (point to communion table)

- as we break bread

- as you see nail marks as the bread is lifted up

These guys wouldn’t have been at the ‘last supper’

- but what we do NOW is a memorial of that.

And may God open your

- HEART so that it burns with the WORD spoken… the truth of this Easter day

- EYES so that you see Jesus, afresh… for the first time today

Now- remember- it takes faith. Peter had to dive into the water (Jn 21) to actually have it confirmed that it was Jesus

- but He knew it by faith, already

No faith, no diving, swimming- no lunch with Jesus on the beach (Jn 21)!

Dive in. Take. Eat. Receive the risen Lord.