Summary: An Easter sermon that helps us see how to recognise Jesus, and what to do next
In the Gospel reading read this morning from Luke 24, verses 13 to 35 we hear about two people on a journey with Jesus.
On this journey some significant things happen.
The mood of the journey, changes.
It begins with two of Jesus followers,
going back to something they knew.
Probably a bit like a Brisbane Lions supporter this morning.
They had put all their hope in Jesus.
To bring them success.
And that hope had been wrenched from them.
But now the one they believed in to be their Messiah, was not with them.
Their problem was that they had defined whether Jesus was successful or not, by what they saw.
What they were experiencing right now.
And what others thought success is.
These two followers had defined Jesus’ success as redeeming all of Israel.
In other words they were expecting to be freed from the authority of the Romans, the non Jewish rulers,
then for Jesus to be their leader.
But now they couldn’t see how this could happen
Jesus appeared to be out of the picture.
God had let them down again.
So they had lost hope!!
As you read the text you can almost sense them,
walking along a dirt track,
scraping their feet,
“That life was a mess,
that life was tough,
and the glimmer of hope they had in Jesus had now disappeared.
Ever felt that way?
Ever felt disappointed,
like there was little or no hope???
Hope is a powerful thing….
A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope!
Those animals somehow hoped,
that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them.
So why did these two feel hopeless??
Because they thought they hadn’t seen Jesus!
They couldn’t recognise Jesus being with them!
They had lost hope that Jesus was alive!
They had lost hope in Jesus being their Messiah!
But as we read in verse 15, Jesus had joined them on the journey and was right beside them!
And so it is not a matter of Jesus not being with them!
It is a matter of them not recognising Jesus!
And this happens today, to every person.
Jesus is always walking with you!
With believers and unbelievers!
Listening to you, and talking to you!
But we don’t always recognise that he is present!
Sometimes this is because he is not responding at the pace we want him to respond!
Sometimes he isn’t responding to us in the way we want him to respond, the way we expect!
Sometimes we have in our mind what God should look like, act like and be like!
Some years ago a wealthy business person undertook an experiment…
He dressed up as a homeless man and went to the businesses and bank where he was a regular customer
What happened made him upset….
in every instance the service was bad in some cases appalling.
He said, “I was treated as if I was worthless”
So he withdrew his money from the bank and stopped being a customer of some of the businesses….
When asked why by one manager…
He told them about His experience
Their response was, ohh but we didn’t recognise you!
Jesus however, points out to the two followers that their hopelessness is not because God has deserted them.
Rather it is because they were assuming that Jesus did not have to suffer!
They were assuming that Jesus should always appear as the winner!
Be always successful,
according to their definition of success.
So how do we recognise Jesus?
Jesus indicates that where we can find out about the true Jesus is by reading scripture!
This is also important for each one of us!
Let me say that in another way.
It is important for us to read scripture regularly so we can see who Jesus truly is and how God is working.
In other words our scripture reading helps us recognise Jesus.
Unfortunately in our congregation,
only around 50% of those people who attend worship regularly open up their bibles to study it.
Regular bible reading and study helps us get a true perspective of Jesus.
Not one that is determined by the media or other people who try to write Jesus’ job description.
Regular Bible study is not only important for us,