|Sermon Preparation -
April 18, 1999
That same day [of resurrection] two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. But they did not know who he was.
Jesus asked them, "What were you talking about as you walked along?"
The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. Then the one named Clopas asked Jesus, "Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn't know what was happening there these last few days?"
"What do you mean?" Jesus asked.
"Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened.
"Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn't see Jesus either."
Then Jesus asked the two disciples, "Why can't you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? Didn't you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?" Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.
When the two of them came near the village where they were going. Jesus seemed to be going farther. They begged him, "Stay with us! It's already late, and the sun is going down." So Jesus went into the house to stay with them.
After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared. They said to each other, "When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn't it warm our hearts?" So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem.
The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together. And they learned from the group that the Lord was really alive and had appeared to Peter. Then the disciples from Emmaus told what happened on the road and how they knew he was the Lord when he broke the bread. [CEV]
1. Different folks catch the surprise of resurrection on different time schedules and through different experiences. We need to be gentle with each other and not presume that our way of finally catching on is the way everyone should do it. For some Jesus' resurrection might have been caught from others telling of it. Not so with these two. For some hearing the Scriptures interpreted might have been enough. Not so with these two. For some catching a remembrance of Jesus' usual response to his followers, "Oops, you missed it again," might have been the trigger for recognition. Not so with these two. For them it was the tangible symbol of sharing bread. What will it take; what did it take for you to recognize resurrection living?
2. Once resurrection recognition happens it calls for sharing. With whom might you share your experience of new life?
3. Can you set up an opportunity to break bread with some folks and help the conversation turn to hopes buried deep within them that those hopes might live again? Of course you can, perhaps the better question is -- will you?
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