Luke Chapter 24begins with the Evangelist recounting how on that first, early Easter morning the women went to the tomb to lovingly provide what they thought would be their last service to their Lord, preparing His body with spices and perfumesfor its final rest. But they found the tomb open and empty, and were greeted with a vision of angels who questioned, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you…‘The Son of Man… on the third day [will] be raised again.’” (Luke 24: 5-7) And they DID remember, so they hurried back to tell the all the other disciples. After their report, Peter and John Mark rushed to the tomb “to see for themselves.” They, too, returned – uncertain – finding the tomb empty!
Two of the disciples who saw and heard the report of the women, Peter and John, left the gathering of disciples to walk northwest seven miles to Emmaus. Saddened, confused and downcast, they were joined on the way by Jesus who they were “kept from recognizing.” (I think that they were prevented from recognizing Him because they would have been so excited in seeing Him that they would not have listened to the critically important lesson which our text tells us He wanted to teach them.)
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24: 27) Using the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible which were written by Moses) and all the books of the Old Testament, He explained that the Christ – the Chosen, Anointed, Appointed One –was sent by The Father in Heaven in order to suffer, die and be raised again for the sins of the entire world. Jesus’ name means “Savior.” (See Matthew 1:21) Jesus is the “sent Savior,” the “golden cord” woven throughout the whole Bible who “ties together” God’s plan of salvation for humankind.
These two disciples were like dry sponges soaking in every word He spoke, and when they arrived at their destination – and it appeared that Jesus was going on further – they begged Him to remain with them so that they could “drink in” even more of what He had to teach them. He came in and “When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24: 30-31) Now they too had seen the resurrected Savior for themselves! Hearing Him, seeing Him, being with Him they were motivated, “their hearts burned within them.” They were filled with joy and “couldn’t sit still” in Emmaus. They just had to get up, at that very moment, and rush the seven miles back to Jerusalem to witness what they, too, had now seen and heard for themselves… Jesus was alive!
There are often times in the lives of Jesus’ “modern day disciples” when we come to “a fork in the road.” We have the option of going our own way; doing our own thing; setting our own agendas; and serving ourselves. OR, we have the option of listening for the voice of our Savior, watching the path which He is traveling and then coming alongside to follow in His footsteps, following His direction and guidance – of “Walking with Jesus, Every Day!”
He comes to His followers, His disciples – to us – in His Word, through the sacraments, as we gather for worship and as we join in Christ-centered fellowship. He bids us to follow Him, rather than “living lives the way we choose” – and asking God, afterward, to “bless our mess!”
We are His modern-day disciples. We live “on the other side of Easter” and believe that He died and rose for us. We see Him in His Word and the sacraments and He calls us to “Walk with Jesus, Every Day!” Therefore, we, too, are motivated, joy-filled, active in His service and willing witnesses that “He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!”
See you in church this week!
Blessings in Christ,