The Walk to Emmaus
26 Mar 2005, Dr Barry Wright
(Barry is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
Title The Walk to Emmaus
Note These are the Pastor's notes for his Easter Service presentation
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was one of the most powerful and awesome events to take place in recorded history. This mighty act of God was to display a power not seen since the creation of this world or even since the mighty acts and miracles that took place during the Exodus of Israel from Egypt.
The Apostle Paul, overwhelmed with his own insufficiencies, writes in Philippians 3: 10-11 that …'All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of His resurrection, to share in His sufferings and become like Him in His death, (v 11) in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.'
DEAR FRIENDS, THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS IS VERY, VERY REAL.
Life after death for human beings was dependent upon Christ's resurrection from the dead and while His death made possible our reconciliation with God, His resurrection ensures our eternal salvation. Paul says in Romans 5:10 that '…we will be saved by His life'. Without His living intercession and vital saving ministry the benefits of His sacrifice on Calvary would have been lost.
In talking to the Corinthian believers, Paul also makes clear in 1 Cor 15:12-14 that '…since our message is that Christ has been raised from death, how can you say that the dead will not be raised to life? If that is true, it means that Christ was not raised, (v14) and if Christ has not been raised from death, then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe.'
We also need to recognise that those believers who died before Calvary could not be raised to eternal life unless Christ had risen from the dead. Paul made it very clear that, in the absence of the resurrection, 'they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished' (1 Cor. 15: 18). This would mean that Job, Miriam, Abraham, Sara, Joseph, Daniel and a host of other Old Testament believers would remain for eternity in their graves if Christ had not risen.
We also need to understand that there would be no Christian Church if Jesus had remained in the tomb. The resurrection of Jesus was to turn apparent defeat into a major victory.
The power of Jesus' resurrection, which is found at the heart of the Christian faith would now become the basis for the mighty acts of God to be evidenced in the lives of Christians since that time.
However, to understand a little of what took place in Jerusalem during this period, I would like to share with you one of the world's immortal short stories from the Scriptures in Luke 24: 13-35. These verses tells the story of Jesus' contact with two of His followers on the road to Emmaus and shares their reflections on the events of those past few days in Jerusalem and the events that took place that very morning.
Let us turn to Luke 24: 13-35 and we will be reading their words from the Good News Bible.
V13 'On the same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem and they were talking about all the things that had happened. As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; they saw Him, but somehow did not recognise Him
These two followers seemed to have been well informed about the events that had taken place in Jerusalem after listening to the reports of other believers about the resurrection. They had not gone very far in their journey when Jesus caught up with them and remained with them for the latter part of their two-hour journey.
Preoccupied with their own gloomy thoughts they did not take much notice of who was with them, possibly thinking of Him as another pilgrim returning home. Apart from this preoccupation, Luke's words also tend to indicate that like Mary, earlier in the day, supernatural circumstances may have prevented them from recognising Him so as to give the opportunity to talk freely to them.
V17 'Jesus said to them,'What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along. They stood still with sad faces. One of them named Cleopas, asked Him, 'Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn't know the things that have been happening here these past few days? What things? He asked.'The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth', they answered. This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything He said and did. Our chief priests and rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death and He was crucified. And we hoped He would be the one to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, but could not find His body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that He is alive. Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see Him.
The whole situation to these men seemed to have no explanation. Their hopes and dreams were shattered. The bewildered regret in their words 'We were hoping that He was the one who was going to rescue Israel' showed that their hopes seemed to be dead and buried. Jesus now takes the opportunity to remind them of the Old Testament prophecies regarding Himself, and to reprove them for the weakness of their faith.
V25 'Then Jesus said to them, 'How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then enter His glory?' And Jesus explained to them what was said about Himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.
V28 As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if He were going farther; but they held Him back, saying, 'Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.' So He went in to stay with them. He sat down to eat with them, took the bread; and then said the blessing; then He broke the bread and gave it to them.
V31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognised Him, but He disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, 'wasn't it like a fire burning in us when He talked to us on the road and explained the Scripture to us?'
The disciples pressed Him to accept their hospitality because they were obviously wanting more of the wonderful instruction he had been giving them over the previous two hours. We need to learn this same lesson today that only those who hunger and thirst for a deeper understanding of the things of God can expect to be provided with it in an ample supply. It was because of their hospitality that they received a greater blessing than they would have had, dispelling the shadows of doubt and uncertainty that had previously clouded their minds.
It is only when Jesus sits with them to eat the evening meal that they recognise Him as He blessed and broke the bread and then He disappeared.
V33 They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others and saying, 'The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!'
V35 The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognised the Lord when He broke the bread.
It was to be a seven mile-tramp back to Jerusalem, but they could not keep the good news to themselves. We need to always remember that the Christian message is never fully ours until we have shared it with someone else.
It is wonderful to recognise that Jesus should make one of His first appearances to the man who had denied him, ultimately giving him back his self respect. That wonderful gesture must remain one of the great untold stories of the world.
This eyewitness account confirming Jesus' appearance is further enhanced in verses 36-53 when He speaks to His terrified disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem. It was here that He showed them His nail-pierced hands and feet; it was here that he ate with them and shared the Scriptures that prophesied the events surrounding His death and resurrection.
IT IS SIGNIFICANT TO NOTE THAT CHRIST'S FIRST WORK ON EARTH AFTER HIS RESURRECTION WAS TO CONVINCE HIS DISCIPLES OF HIS UNDIMINISHED LOVE AND TENDER REGARD FOR THEM.
HE WAS TO REVEAL TO THEM THAT HE HAD BROKEN THE FETTERS OF THE TOMB, AND COULD NO LONGER BE HELD BY THE ENEMY CALLED DEATH.
HE WAS TO REVEAL TO THEM THAT HE HAD THE SAME HEART OF LOVE AS WHEN HE WAS WITH THEM AS THEIR BELOVED TEACHER.
Dear friends, the resurrection of Jesus is a miracle different from all other miracles.
- His resurrection gave the disciples the convincing proof, which they needed, that He was the Son of God and that all His claims were true.
- His resurrection was seen to be the seal of God the father on His work and teachings.
- His resurrection was also to prove that redemption purchased on the cross of Calvary was of actual value and was to bring salvation to all who trust in His name as their Saviour. It proved that Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ actually saves.' (Richards, 1983: 25)
It is important that we remember this significant event because, like the Israelites of old when they remembered what God had done for them in the past, the power of that original action was reactivated in their lives.
THERE IS POWER IN THE CONSTANT RETELLING OF THE RESURRECTION STORY BECAUSE IT BRINGS REVIVAL AND REFORMATION.
AS WE LEARN TO SHARE OUR FAITH, WHICH IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, IT HAS THE ABILITY TO TURN A FORMAL RELIGION FOR MANY INTO A LIVING AND POWERFUL ONE.
It is my prayer for you this morning that the retelling of this event will make a difference in your life today.
GOOD NEWS BIBLE (1976) The Bible Society in Australia, Printed in Korea
RICHARDS, H.M.S. (1983) 'What the Resurrection means to me', These Times, Vol. 92, No. 12, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, USA
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