3rd Sunday of Easter
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! In the name of Jesus, our risen Lord Jesus, friends in Christ,
Do you know what it’s like to have your hopes dashed? We hope for a beautiful spring with beautiful weather and we get…5 inches of snow. We hope for a good report from the doctor and we get…more bad news. We hope for getting a raise and work and we get…a pay cut instead. What’s it like to have your hopes dashed? It’s discouraging, disappointing, depressing, right?
Here in our text we have two disciples with dashed hopes. You know, it strikes me every time I read this account. It’s Easter Sunday, all the action is taking place in Jerusalem, there’s the empty tomb, there’s the women coming and saying that Jesus is alive, there’s angels appearing, all in Jerusalem, and what are these two doing? They’re leaving! What are you doing? What are you thinking? Why would you leave Jerusalem? But as they’re on their way, they’re in turmoil over everything. There are three different words in the Greek that are used to describe their conversation and they indicate that they’re going back and forth, discussing, debating, they’re bothered, stressed, frustrated, trying to figure all of this out. But it’s all unnecessary because Jesus really had risen from the dead!
But that’s typical of us humans, isn’t it? That’s typical of you and I, isn’t it? How often don’t we become nervous, stressed, worried about all kinds of things, rather than simply putting our trust in God and His incredible promises? We worry and stress about that event, that conversation, that problem that we’re facing and forget about God’s promises to be with us, to carry us through, to give us the strength we need.
So what does Jesus do with them? He confronts them: “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?” And then Jesus spends the entire afternoon with these two. He spend the whole afternoon opening up the Old Testament to them so they could understand from the Bible that all this was all according to God’s plan. Notice two things about our God here: He confronts and He patiently instructs.
Notice what Jesus does, he confronts them because their salvation was at risk. They said, “We HAD hoped that he was the One.” By putting it in the past tense, they’re showing that they aren’t so sure anymore that this Jesus guy was the Savior. So their salvation was at risk! Jesus HAD to confront that! He did that with them, and He does that with us. Any sin puts our salvation at risk. Any sin can lead to damnation. But Jesus doesn’t want our salvation to be at risk, so in love He confronts us with our sin, warning us to turn away.
But then He will instruct. And He’ll do it with incredible patience. He will take as long as it takes. See how Jesus deals with these two. This is the most important day in all history and Jesus spends the afternoon with these two disciples. He shows them and He shows us just how important the Word of God is. You see, realize what Jesus could have done. He could have simply come up to them, tapped them on the shoulder and said, “Hey it’s me!” and then disappeared and that would have been it. But here he chose to hide his identity and why so? So He could take them into the Word. You see, Jesus wouldn’t be visibly with His disciples much longer, but the Bible was never going to leave them. The Bible was never going to go away.
And so what does Jesus want? Jesus wants His people to focus on the Word! Jesus desires that His people be into the Word of God. Jesus wasn’t going to be visibly with his disciples much longer, but they would have the Word to assure them of God’s forgiving love for them, to be assured of God’s patient instruction, to be assured that Jesus was really the Savior, to be assured that Jesus’ death and resurrection really had won their salvation. They had the Word.
And so do you! And in a way even better than they did. We have not just the OT but the NT as well. We have the promises and we have the fulfillment of those promises. And so as we read the Bible we get to see even more clearly that we have a God upon whom we can rely, always! We get to see that we can count on our God wholeheartedly, all the time! As we read the New Testament, we get to see the amazing love of Jesus for us, that He was willing to humble Himself, be born of a virgin, be laid in a manger, walk to the cross, be laid in a tomb. As we read the New Testament we get to hear that Jesus not only died to pay for our sins, but also rose! We get to hear that the Savior is glorious! That salvation is won! That heaven is open! That sins are forgiven! That there is eternal peace between you and your God!!! Oh how valuable is that Word of God! God wanted these two who were on the road to Emmaus to know the treasure that they had! God wants you to know what a treasure that you have. And so God spent the entire afternoon with just these two, opening up the “treasure chest” of the Word of God for them.
And every time you’re into the Word of God, God is doing the same thing for you. He’s opening up His treasures, and putting them into your head, putting them into your heart. He did it for these two followers; He’ll keep on doing it for you.
Yes, finally Jesus allowed them to see that it was Him. He did so as He broke the bread, and then He disappeared. And their reaction is interesting. Instead of saying, “Hey, it was Him!” they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They went back to the Word and the impact it had had on their hearts!
You see, that’s why we have confirmation class. So that you could be into God’s Word over and over again. So the truths of God’s Word would sink into your heads and burn in your hearts. It’s not so much about the memorization, the quizzes, the hours in class and doing homework, it is my hope and prayer that the precious truths you’ve learned about your God will burn in your heart ever more day after day, month after month, year after year!
Go back to the Word! Hear its wonderful message! Be reminded of the salvation which the risen Savior guarantees to you! And as you do, your heart will burn within you, too!!! It will burn with joy!