Summary: Sometimes God is at work and we don’t even recognise that He is at the time. Let it be our prayer this morning that the Lord will reveal Jesus to us, so we can put our hands into the hand of God.
Luke 24:13-35: Put your hand into the hand of God
The Christian faith has been likened to a journey.
Story: Last Tuesday many of us here will have watched the Queen Mother’s funeral, the end of her journey here on earth. It was extremely encouraging to hear the Archbishop speak of the Queen Mother’s Christian faith.
I found the poem that she chose to be written on the Order of Service that Tuesday morning (09.04.02) very interesting. Let me read it to you.
I said to the man
who stood at the gate of the year
“Give me a light that I may tread safely
into the unknown.”
And he replied:” Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be better than light
and safer than a known way!”
So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
trod gladly into the night.
M. Louise Haskins (1875-1957)
The Queen Mother had put her hand into the hand of God on her Christian journey.
In our Gospel reading this morning, the two disciples were on a journey. One was Cleopas, who was the other? Perhaps it was Luke the author of the Gospel. I suggest that because Luke seems to know the details very intimately.
It had been a horrific week for the two men. The road from Jerusalem to Emmaus is about 7 miles - about a 2-hour walk.
As they walked down the road, they struggled to understand what has happened that week. In the short space of 7 days, their world has been shattered. Jesus - on whom they had placed all their hopes - was dead.
The Messiah had been killed, crucified on a Cross. The light of their world had been extinguished.
As they walked along the road, they bumped into a man who engaged them in conversation and asked them why they are so sad.Yet they didn’t recognise that it was Jesus with them
They told him that Jesus who they had hoped would deliver Israel was dead.
The man replied by explaining to them that all of this was in God’s plan.
Couldn’t they understand, he said that the Scriptures pointed to a Suffering Messiah and not to Superman. (You might note that I have taken a little bit of liberty with the text here – but you get the drift).
And still they did not recognise Jesus with them.
When they reached Emmaus, they invited the man to have supper with them. It was only when he took the bread, broke it and blessed it they recognised him. Jesus the Risen Lord.
2. Have you ever wondered why the disciples couldn’t recognise him?
Matthew Rogers has suggested some possible explanations:
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.
Luke tells us the answer - a supernatural force was at work – God was at work. These two travelers were in the presence of Jesus, but were none the wiser.
Luke tells us that “They were kept from recognizing him.” (Lk 24:16) (NIV)
Another translation of the Bible (NASB)reads “their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”
Yet another translation says “their eyes were restrained.”
These two travellers were in the presence of Jesus, but were none the wiser.
Sometimes God is at work and we don’t recognize Him at work in our lives.
(My thanks to Matthew Rogers in his Sermon "On the road ...again - in the SermonCentral.com databank - for these insights in section 2)
Story: Back in May 1994, I was standing at a Tram Stop in Basle, Switzerland wondering where my life was going. Everything was going well in the secular sense –the job, promotion prospects, house etc.
I never ever thought that I would go back to England.
In fact I had said to Maddy.
“I’ll never go back to England, but if I do
I’ll never go to an Anglican Church and if I go to an Anglican church, I’ll never become a vicar.”
It was beyond my comprehension that God could change the course of my life and call me into the ministry.
I needed to have my eyes opened to see where to go next.
And so it was with the two disciples on the Emmaus road. They had no idea what to do next. They could not comprehend that the Messiah firstly would be killed and secondly that anyone could rise again.
And it is that very fact of the Resurrection that makes the Christian faith so unique.
Story: An English House of Lords judge, Lord Diplock once said that "the Resurrection is the best proved fact in history".