Summary: The resurrection of Christ declares who Jesus is and confirms all that he makes known of our world and our lives.

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In the summer of 1969, then-President Richard Nixon engaged in hyperbole to express his excitement over America’s landing on the moon. When the Apollo 11 astronauts returned to earth following the first-ever moon landing, Nixon called their mission "the greatest week in the history of the world since the Creation, because as a result of what happened in this week, the world is bigger, infinitely." (Today in the Word, July 5, 1998)

He was then reminded (by Billy Graham) that there was a day in between that was actually more important than someone walking on the Moon - that day is Easter - the day that provides our salvation and our life to come.

What we celebrate today is that our world is indeed bigger… infinitely bigger… and better… infinitely better.

For the resurrection of Christ declares who Jesus is … and confirms all that he makes known of our world and our lives.

The challenge for many of us is that we live between two realities… one that’s defined by the temporal and tragic condition of life… and one that’s declared by the risen Christ. Easter has the power to break through and transform the very reality out of which we live… not just a morning of religious excitement but of celebrating a reality that can transform us in a deep and ongoing way.

How do we discover that reality in the midst of a world so enveloped in the temporal reality of suffering?

On this Eater morning, the Lord has a word for us from perhaps the most interesting encounters with His risen presence. As we walk through this encounter, I believe we can hear the Lord’s heart for us.

Luke 24:13-35

[13] Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. [14] They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.

One of the marvelous things about this event, is that it does not involve one of the twelve primary disciples. We know little about these two… one is referred to as Cleopas (Claopus) and the other remains un-named. They are simply a part of the larger public circle which had followed Jesus. Why would Jesus come to these two on the very first day of his resurrection?

> Because he has no favorites… he cares for each and every one of us… and comes to all who will welcome Him.

These were souls who longed for life to be different. The common quality of all who discovered Christ was that they understood and truly desired for this world to be different… they weren’t so connected and committed to the status quo so as to resist the radical calling of Christ. We do well to open up that sense within our own souls.

… talking with each other about everything that had happened.

So much had happened… beginning with first hearing the news that one who could be the Messiah was on the scene…the promised hope of a savior from God. Then meeting him… the words he spoke… the Kingdom of God He proclaimed … the power of signs and wonders he demonstrated… the love he showed. Now at the climatic point when he went to Jerusalem during the Passover… he is suddenly seized…. Beaten… condemned by sway of the religious leaders… and crucified. He’s dead. The tomb is sealed… and with it all their hopes….all their vision of God at work in the world.

> No wonder when asked about what they were talking about… we’re told, “They stood still, their faces downcast.” “Downcast” describes so well what happens when disappointment causes us to look down in such a way that it’s hard to see much else.

Where were they going ? Emmaus… a seven mile walk from Jerusalem.

They are leaving behind the bitter memories of Jerusalem and are walking to the Village of Emmaus. As Frederick Buechner describes,"Emmaus was not so much a place--as a state of mind. They could have gone any place--just so long as it was far enough removed from the despair and disillusionment that paralyzed them from making a positive move."

Emmaus is the temporary hiding place, the momentary distraction, the running away. Sometimes it’s the walk we take into cynicism when we discover that the noblest ideas can be twisted and destroyed by deluded, selfish people.

Wherever it may take us… it’s ultimately the wrong direction… away from God.

What they didn’t know was that Christ was right there with them….

[15] As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; [16] but they were kept from recognizing him.

We’re not told how they were kept from recognizing him… perhaps it involved the differences of his resurrected body… but clearly in this case God intended that they would not initially recognize him.

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