Third Sunday of Easter
Passage: Luke 24:13–24:35
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 24:13-35
Date: April 30th, 2017; 3rd after Easter; Series A
Grace and peace to you, from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Two of Jesus’ followers were walking to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
They knew exactly where they were going - but they were completely lost.
They were lost because of a major event that had just happened.
They were still trying to unpack and wrap their minds around what they had just experienced, “They were talking with each other about all these things that had happened” we heard in our Gospel reading.
What was this major event? It was Jesus.
These men recognized that Jesus was something special. They recognized him as “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all people.”
As they followed Jesus, they, like many others, came to believe that he was the one who was going to free Israel from Roman rule.
They thought he was going to be a strong and dynamic political leader who would overthrow Roman rule and restore Israel to the way it was back in the days of King David.
It’s easy to understand why these men believed this.
Jesus knew the Scriptures so well.
He loved and cared for people and they flocked to him.
He seemed to have special powers and performed many miracles.
I’m sure it seemed to many people that he was the promised king who would bring back the good life for the Israelites.
Well, as we know, this didn’t happen as they expected.
In fact, it seemed that the complete opposite happened.
Jesus was arrested, tortured, and killed.
So much for the strong leader who was going to destroy their enemies.
So here they were, walking on the road to Emmaus, lost and confused.
It likely felt like the world was crashing in on them.
Their hope and direction in life was gone.
We too can end up feeling like this.
There are many things that we can experience in life that leave us feeling like the world is crashing in around us – leaving us feeling lost, confused, and without hope.
We end up in conflict with our friends and family and the anger and pain consumes us.
We get the terrible news that a loved one is seriously sick.
A loved one is suddenly taken from us.
It’s time to go through the difficult transition of moving out of our home, of selling the car and giving up that independence, of not being able to do the things we used to love and enjoy.
These experiences, and so many others, can leave us feeling lost - like there is no hope.
Our experience of living in a sinful and broken world helps us to relate to the way the two men felt as they made their way to Emmaus.
But, then, as we heard, a man joined them in their walk and asked them what they were talking about.
They could hardly believe that this man didn’t know the news about Jesus of Nazareth and everything that had happened to him!
It would be like someone not knowing about President Trump – he’s all over the news and everyone is talking about him!
So, they filled him in on what had happened.
They told him about Jesus of Nazareth, in whom they had hoped and trusted would redeem Israel – but instead had been crucified and laid dead in a tomb.
After hearing the news, the man responded, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
After saying this, beginning with Moses and all of the prophets, the man taught them what Scripture had to say about himself.
They were taught that it was not God’s plan to send a great political leader to free them from Roman rule - it was God’s plan to send a Messiah to free them, and the world, from sin and death.
They were taught that the Messiah’s Kingdom was not to be a political rule on earth - but a spiritual rule of the universe from the right hand of God.
Things started to become clearer for the two men - the hope that had been destroyed was being restored.
After they arrived in Emmaus, the man accepted their invitation to stay with them.
They sat down to eat and the man took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them.
Immediately, we are told, the eyes of the men were opened and they recognized who this man truly was - of course, it was Jesus!
It was the man they had put all of their hope and trust in. It was the man that was crucified and laid dead in a tomb.
He had risen! He had defeated death!
They now understood who Jesus is and why he had to face death on the cross.
They once again were filled with hope and joy!
This is the same hope and joy that Jesus gives to you!
Jesus heals us. He restores us. He gives us peace.
In him we are forgiven and loved. In him we know that the trouble we face in this life (even death itself!) is only temporary! In him we know we will persevere!
How do we know this is true? Why should we put our trust in these promises?
Because we have God’s Word on it.
The Holy Spirit opens to us the Holy Scriptures the same way they were opened for these two men who were on their way to Emmaus.
It is through his Word that God makes himself known to us and reveals that we are his forgiven, redeemed, and restored people.
He made these promises personally yours in the waters of your baptism. Through water and his Word of promise he washed us clean of all of our sin and claimed us as his children.
He forgives us our sins and strengthens our faith by giving us his true body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.
God works through his means of grace, his Word and Sacraments, to open our eyes to his love and mercy.
Through the means of grace we receive the strength we need for today and the faith that receives the gift of everlasting life in heaven promised for tomorrow!
Upon having their eyes opened to the truth of salvation in Jesus, we are told that the two men were so filled with joy and hope that they had to go and tell someone about it.
They found the eleven and those who were gathered with them and boldly proclaimed, “The Lord has risen indeed!” and shared what had happened on the road to Emmaus and later in their house.
We too are filled with joy and hope and have the privilege of telling the world that Christ has risen!
Filled with joy and hope we proclaim to them that the love, forgiveness, and eternal life that God won through Christ Jesus is also for them.
What an honour this is! What a privilege this is! How blessed we are! Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.