Sunday Message for April 18, 2021 – The Walk to Emmaus

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George, Charlie, and I walk every morning that the weather allows.  It is a morning routine that we enjoy very much, especially Charlie.  He sniffs, and being male, marks his territory on the bushes and dirt along the path.  George and I talk about what plans we have for the day or we walk in silence.  This time of year we look forward to hearing the birds sing, the trees budding, and the grass turning green.  We are lucky if we see an animal of any sort and we have seen deer, beavers, muskrats, and many more.  Being outside, breathing fresh air is wonderful besides getting some exercise.  Walking is just good therapy and in times past was a way of transportation getting people from point A to point B.  When one is walking, one can lose themselves in the moment, concentrating more on the walk and the surroundings than anything else.

So, you can imagine how it was for the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus after all that had happened in the last week or so.  First of all they were sad for Jesus was crucified and laid in the tomb.  Then they heard that the tomb was empty, Jesus was gone, and so they were confused.  They were caught up in their thoughts, not really paying attention just walking towards their destination.

 Along comes another person and starts to walk along with them.  He asks them what they are talking about and why are they so sad?  They stop and one of the disciples asks the person, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”  The person asks them, “What things?”  They reply, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.”  They continue to tell this person what had happened and that they had hoped Jesus was the one to redeem Israel.  They continued to tell the person how the women went to the tomb and that Jesus was no longer there and that He was alive because the angels had told them so.  Then the person says to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”  The person goes on to interpret to the disciples the things about Jesus in all the scriptures.  Still the disciples did not know who they were talking and walking with.  When they approached the village, they invited the person to stay with them at the village as the day was almost over.  He agreed and stayed with them.  When they were at the table to eat their meal, the person took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized that all this time while they were walking and talking with this person, it was actually Jesus that they had been walking and talking with.  How amazing was that?  Can you picture them slapping their foreheads and saying, “How could we have not known that it was Jesus that we were with all this time?” So they returned to Jerusalem that evening so they could tell the other disciples what had just happened. 

Now the disciples were together again in Jerusalem and Cleopas and his companion were telling the others what they had experienced.  Then they saw Jesus standing with them and he greeted them by saying “Peace be with you.”  The disciples were startled and terrified for they thought they were seeing a ghost.  Jesus asked them why they were so terrified and doubtful.  Once again He showed them the wounds on his hands and feet.  He asked them if they had anything to eat.  Now one knows that a ghost is never hungry.  So yes, it was Jesus, He had come back to see them once more.  This time He told them that all that was written about Him in the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.  That is why He as the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.  It was so the repentance and forgiveness of sins could be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  The disciples were the witnesses of all these things.

I really think that at times one can be so caught up in the moment and whatever their mind is trying to comprehend that they aren’t seeing the whole picture. The disciples were so caught up that they didn’t really see who it was that was with them that day.  I also think that at times, something needs to be repeated time and time again for us to be able to comprehend it fully.  How many times have we talked about Jesus appearing before the disciples?  It took more than one encounter before the light bulb comes on and they know immediately who is standing there with them.  We have the advantage of knowing how things were to be done to fulfill the promise of God but we can still have trouble seeing what is before us, believing what is told us.  We are like the disciples after the resurrection and we need to have more than one encounter for us to be able to say a haw!  I get it.  Fortunately, God is patient and He is willing to give us more than one encounter for us to get it.

I found this next passage in a children’s sermon about the walk to Emmaus.  I think it fits our lives right now and so I will close with that passage.

Sometimes things in our lives are disguised, in a way. We don’t always recognize or understand things that God is doing. We might encounter difficult situations or circumstances and feel confused about why God would allow something like that to happen. We can trust that God is at work, but we might still face challenges. We won’t always find out right away why we have such trouble in our lives. We might not even understand until Heaven. But God promises that He is working things for our good. We cling to the hope that even hard things can bring blessings. We can also cling to the best news of all: unlike the disciples on the road, we do know that Jesus came back to life. We have the whole picture of the Bible, and we know that He was sent by God to die and come back to life, so that we can have eternal life with Him! We rest assured that our sins are covered, and that one day all things will be made new.

May you see more than just what is right in front of you at any given time and may it not take too many encounters to be able to see and comprehend the whole picture.  May you have the faith to realize that God is there for you always, even in those times when you are caught up in the moment and not seeing the whole picture or being able to comprehend the whole picture.

Blessings to all of you. 

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