Summary: The Christian life is a long walk with Jesus.
Title: Trekking With Jesus
Text: Luke 24:13-43
Thesis: The Christian life is a long walk with Jesus.
The Season of Easter Series: When Jesus Shows Up
During the Season of Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Christ as he shows up in unusual and unexpected ways.
Last week we saw how Jesus understood the need for his followers to see him… seeing was believing. In seeing Jesus, Thomas’ doubts were allayed.
This week we see how Jesus walked with two of his followers… Jesus accompanied them on their journey and Jesus accompanies us on our journeys as well. The Christian life is going the distance with Jesus as a companion.
People are bipeds. Bipeds move by walking, running or hopping. Our form of locomotion is walking upright and on our two “hind” limbs. We are distinct from other bipeds in that we do not combine walking with swinging, climbing and knuckle walking.
Walking is a good thing. The person who makes walking a life-long practice experiences health benefits that can extend your life. They say that for an 85 year old man, walking can give him an extra five months in the nursing home…
This week Homiletic Magazine featured a story about Ed Stafford. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. On August 9 of last year (2010) Ed Stafford completed what no other person has ever done before… he walked the entire length of the Amazon River. A little over two years earlier he began his trek on the southern coast of Peru and 4,200 miles later he reached the mouth of the Amazon where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. (Homiletics, May/June 2011, Volume 23, No. 3, pp. 19-20)
I’ve just ordered The Places In Between by Rory Stewart. It is the story of how he trekked across Afghanistan in June 2002. When he met with authorities to gain permission for his foot-journey he was told, “It is mid-winter. There are three meters of snow in the high passes, there are wolves, there is war. You will surely die, I can guarantee.” (Tom Bissell, A Walk Across Afghanistan, The New York Times, June 11,2006)
When we embark on the Christian life we might think of it as a pilgrimage or a journey or even a trek. Some time ago, Eugene Peterson wrote of the Christian life as A Long Obedience In the Same Direction. So we may think of the Christian life as an arduous trek in which we go the distance with Jesus.
The disciples had been on a three-year trek of sorts with Jesus and then the journey seemed to have come to a startling conclusion. Discouragement was the prevailing mood among the followers of Christ after his death and a nagging doubt persisted when they heard that Jesus had risen from the dead. The post-resurrection appearances of Christ were intended to alleviate that doubt and give the disciples hope.
Our text picks up on what we would call Easter Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day, Jesus had appeared to Mary and the other Mary at the tomb. And now, two of Christ’s followers have left Jerusalem and the other disciples and are walking to the village of Emmaus… a seven mile walk.
And as they walk along they are engaged in an ongoing conversation, but they were not alone.
I. Jesus is an unseen companion on our trek through life.
As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them… Luke 24:15
They were chatting just like we all chat when we are sitting down over a cup of coffee or as we might chat riding along in a car.
We can readily identify with them. Last Sunday evening Bonnie told me that they had just announced on television that Osama Bin Laden was dead and that the President would be making a statement to the nation shortly.
I was headed for bed but decided to wait up to hear the breaking news from the East Room of the White House. And eventually President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was dead following an operation launched earlier that day in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In making the announcement President Obama stated, “Justice has been done.”
That story has been the fodder for our conversations throughout the week. And the discussion continues today as the public mulls over the conflicting accounts of the operation and need to see the photographic evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death.
On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart spoke of how America hardly got a respite between the people calling for the President to show his birth certificate, to people calling for photographic evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death. (Katla McGlynn, Jon Stewart Makes Case for Showing, The Huffington Post, 5/5/11)
And many, like doubting Thomas are saying, “Unless I see with my own eyes, I will not believe it,” despite existing evidence of the truth.