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“It’s all about Jesus,” Luke 24:13-35

 

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13That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, EmmausRoad“What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

      28So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Though the disciples of our Lord had had the Lord’s Word spoken in their ears, even that very Word by which He revealed to them what was to come, that Word of His death, and that Word of His glorious resurrection, His followers didn’t believe.

Time after time Jesus told them of what was to come, but they didn’t understand, they hadn’t believed, what He said.

After the third day, the words of the women declaring to the 11 that Jesus was alive seemed like an idle tale (Luke 24:11).

When the Lord first appeared to the 10 behind closed doors that Easter Sunday night, Thomas was not there.

When they had told him that they had seen Jesus, in unbelief, Thomas declared, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger, into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

It wasn’t until Jesus Himself appeared to Thomas, spoke, and showed Him His hands and His side, that Thomas then believed, confessing, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28).

Like Thomas before he saw Jesus and believed, the two men on the road to Emmaus in the Gospel reading also did not believe.

They had heard the reports of others, but they didn’t make the connection between what Jesus had said before and believing that it would be just as Jesus had said.

They hadn’t put two and two together, Who Jesus truly was, that the words of Jesus spoken were as good as done.

Though Jesus truly did die, as He had said, so would He truly rise from the dead on the third day, also just as He had said.

If it was, and is, any other way, then Jesus is not God and you are still in your sins.

But Jesus is God.  He is risen!

His resurrection shows that all that Jesus did and said was true, that you are not your own Savior—Jesus is.

Death is undone.

In Christ, life reigns.

In the post-resurrection accounts, we have examples of those, like Thomas and the two traveling to Emmaus, who did not believe the testimony of others.

Yet, Jesus revealed Himself to them that they not be uncertain, but certain of His resurrection, His triumph over death and the grave, His victory over sin.

The post-resurrection account drawing our attention today offers another example of some whose eyes remained closed to the glorious resurrection until the Lord made Himself known by Word and Sign.

Though Jesus was right before the two, and talking with them, the text says that their eyes were restrained from recognizing who Jesus was, that is, until their eyes were opened when Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them” (Luke 24:30).

Then they recognized the man before them for Who He was.

We might be able to understand why those disciples were down and out concerning the events of the Lord’s suffering and death.

They had hoped that Jesus of Nazareth would be the ONE to redeem Israel.

Reason tells us that the dead remain dead, that the dead do not rise, that death is final.

Reason also tells us that miracles do not happen, that we determine our own destiny, that we are the center of the universe.

God says differently.

God reveals that we are created beings (Genesis 1), created by the Creator who is above us, God who transcends our thoughts and our ways (Isaiah 55:9), yet God who also becomes flesh, taking the form of a servant and coming in the likeness of men, humbling Himself, obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross, not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (John 1:14; Philippians 2:7; Matthew 20:28).

The two disciples on the way to Emmaus had heard the news of the women who were at the tomb and came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive.

But they didn’t believe it.

Even with Jesus before them, they didn’t recognize the risen Lord.

As we go by only what we see or only by what reason tells us, and not by the Word of the Lord, Jesus remains obscured, and His promises remain hidden.

Like Peter who began to sink when He took His eyes off Jesus as he walked on water, so also our attention to Christ becomes distracted when we give attention to that which is not according to the Lord’s Word.

Not everyone has strong faith during great trial and intense tribulation.

Though God’s Word be right in front of us as it is today, it might appear to us to be in the distance and not at all applicable or relevant.

This is not because what God says is ineffective.

Not everyone who hears the Word believes.

Nor is everyone who hears the Word concerned with it.

The dullness of the human heart, our own hearts, is great.

The concerns of our hearts don’t always remain on the Word of our Lord and His Son.

Everything that those two disciples in the Gospel knew to be true to their experience testified against the Lord’s resurrection, everything except the Lord’s Word and work.

The Lord Jesus walks with such as these.

Though the two didn’t recognize Him, Jesus didn’t turn from them in anger or bitterness.

Instead, He walked with them, even asking the reason for their sorrow.

Even though He already knew, He asks for their sake, that He point them to Himself.

“We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 14:16).

The Lord made known to them that Christ’s suffering and death was foretold in the Old Testament and that Christ was indeed the Messiah, the ONE who would redeem Israel.

Indeed, Jesus is the redeemer.

He redeemed us “not with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with” His “precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

All that the Old Testament had prophesied of Jesus was fulfilled in Him – Even His death and resurrection, all according to Scripture.

What the two had not yet understood was that it was through Jesus’ own death that He Himself would put sin to death and usher in new life by means of His resurrection.

Where sin has ceased, so has death.

There, the hope of life remains.

As Jesus spoke concerning Himself, beginning with Moses and the prophets, the hearts of those two burned within them.

Here, Jesus points the right way to interpret the Old Testament and all of Scripture, through Himself.

Earlier, Jesus had declared to the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).

Here, Jesus is talking about the Old Testament Scriptures.

In another place, concerning “the Holy Scriptures,” it is written that they “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

The reason this is so is because the Old Testament is about Christ, as is the New Testament.

Jesus is the center.

He gives you His Word, that you believe against what you only see, contrary to what your eyes alone tell you, that you take Him at His Word, before and in the present, and into the future.

It is significant that on the road and talking with Jesus, the two disciples hadn’t recognized the risen Lord.

Only as Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke and gave it to them, then their eyes were opened.

We have seen similar words spoken before, as had the disciples.

In the upper room with the Lord’s disciples, on the night when He was betrayed, “Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it” (Matthew 26:26).

In the feeding of the 5000 (Luke 9:16), then in the feeding of the 4000 (Matthew 15:36), Jesus did the same thing.  He took bread, blessed it, and broke it.

When Jesus did these things before the two, they recognized Jesus for who He was.

It was Jesus, alive from the dead, just as the others had said.

In the breaking of the bread, their eyes were opened.

With them all along was the risen Lord, preaching His Word, giving comfort, testifying to the truth of His salvation.  Then He vanished from their sight.

Right then and there, Jesus left them, not in doubt, but believing.

His Word and the blessed bread were sufficient to bring about the recognition of Christ the Lord, to quicken faith, and to cast away any doubt.

The Lord continues to give you His Word and to bestow upon you His grace, that you believe and remain believing in Him who died and rose again, and that you, with the two on the road to Emmaus, recognize Christ for who He is, your Savior from death and the giver of eternal life, indeed, the Messiah.

By means of His Word, and in the sacred meal, the Lord Jesus strengthens the weak and gladdens the heart.

The Lord continues to make Himself known that you hold fast to him, in life and in death.

In the Lord’s Supper, Christ gives His own body and blood for you to eat and to drink, and there, makes Himself known to you as your Savior and strengthens your faith.

Don’t ignore the Lord’s Word or His promises, nor stay away from them, as growing numbers continue to do.

God calls you not to despair of Him, but to place your confidence in Christ alone.

Cast all your burdens upon Him, for He cares for you (Psalm 55:22).

Wait on Him and believe His Word.

Times of refreshing and joy are sure to come. Amen.

PrayingHands&Cross1O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (Collect of the Day for the 3rd Sunday of Easter)

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Readings for Easter Evening (C)

EmmausRoad

Collect of the Day

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation.  Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Old Testament: Exodus 15:1–18

1Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.  2The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  3The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.

        4“Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.  5The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone.  6Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.  7In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.  8At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.  9The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.  I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’  10You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

        11“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?  Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?  12You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them.

        13“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.  14The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.  15Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.

        16Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased.  17You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.  18The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

Second Reading: Acts 10:34–43

34Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Gospel: Luke 24:13–35

13That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them,  “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19And he said to them,  “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25And he said to them,  “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

      28So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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