He is Risen! therefore We Recognize the Lord!
Alleluia! He is Risen! And Therefore
We Recognize the Lord!
May you become more aware of the grace of God that is yours, the love and mercy revealed in Christ Jesus!
Why didn’t He Reveal Himself Sooner?
Two men, walking down the road together, trying to get home for dinner.
Distraught, emotions all over the place as they try to make sense of Jesus’s death. Emotionally drained, they desperately need rest.
Even as Jesus begins to walk with them, He will comment about the deep discussion they are having, which leads me to one question.
Why does He wait so long to reveal Himself to them? Why?
Or is there a lesson for us, in how Jesus ministers to these men, who are crushed and broken
including perhaps, realizing how God ministers to us?
Our Struggle to Hear God!
It seems sometimes, like everyone has gone, or is going through a walk like these men.
You don’t even have to hear their voices, to hear the stress, the anxiety, the despair as they speak.
The Man they thought was the answer not to just their dreams, but the dreams of a nation. The Messiah, the long awaited anointed one of God, who was to deliver them to change their lives, to fix everything, from their economy to their families.
They had the kind of dreams that we see in one of those California Lottery commercials, as the winner dreams of the new yacht, the chaffered limousine, the mansion up on the hill with the heliport.
Except, the odds of Jesus being the Messiah were about a trillion to one better than the lottery. You see, as they informed “undercover Jesus”, they had based their hopes on the fact that Jesus had done miracles, and had talked with great authority. That He was a leader, confirmed not only by people, but by God himself. Blind could see, people who never walked, completely healed, those who had been dead, raised to life. Even the Samaritans and Gentiles knew hope because of Jesus. It had to be him.
They knew that Jesus spoke for God.
Then, they killed him.
If that isn’t a reason to put your trust in Him, to look for Him to fulfil the promises that were so well known, the promises they heard about in their synagogues ever Sabbath all their lives…
Those hopes, those expectations, everything they know about the Messiah, were crushed. Everything they had hoped for, taken away in a few hours on Friday…
So why didn’t Jesus relieve their suffering, calm their storm by simply revealing His presence?
Yet God hid himself, even though they saw Jesus, they didn’t know Him….
Who Are These Two That Hear the Whole Story?
Beyond that question, I have another question about these two men, walking so defeated, so overwhelmed on the road to Emmaus. Why them? Why do they get to hear Jesus explain they entire Old Testament?
Shouldn’t it be Matthew or John? They will be writing the Gospels…
Shouldn’t it be Peter and James? Why aren’t the leaders of the apostles
Why Cleopas and some guy we don’t even know the name of?
Why did Jesus choose to minister to these two? Having chosen them, why didn’t He reveal Himself sooner? Why did Jesus deliver to them a lecture about the Old Testament, instead of simply revealing Himself so that their pain would cease?
The Story Reveals
When we hear, that over several hours as they walk, Jesus explained that everything from the first five books of the Bible that Moses wrote, through all of the prophets, we have to hear the conclusion that is drawn. Look there in verse 27, the things concerning Him. Jesus explains that the Bible is all about Him. That is what it reveals, or rather, who it reveals.
In this way the Lord shows us the proper method of interpreting Moses and all the prophets. He teaches us that Moses points and refers to Christ in all his stories and illustrations. His purpose is to show that Christ is the point at the center of a circle, with all eyes inside the circle focused on Him. Whoever turns his eyes on Him finds his proper place in the circle of which Christ is the center. All the stories of Holy Writ, if viewed aright, point to Christ.
What these men needed to know, was that Christ’s death was from the beginning, the plan. Jesus had to suffer, Jesus explains, it needed to be done. Over and over that was the plan revealed in the Old Testament. The word of God, the Old Testament Covenant promises, the Old Testament pictures of Christ like Isaac on the altar, the sacrificial system, the picture of the tabernacle and the temple and the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea….
They needed Jesus to be revealed to them, and He was. Not the way we would expect at first. Rather, they learned that God had planned, from before the foundation of the world, to have Christ suffer and die. It was necessary, it wasn’t a detour, but the very way in which we are saved. They needed to understand this, so that they understand the depth of the love of God for His people.
Jesus taught them, He revealed Himself to them, without revealing Himself to them.
They couldn’t let Jesus leave. Not that they realized there was one revelation left that had to happen to them.
He Reveals Himself
That is where the most miraculous moment for these two men, and for all of us like them occurs.
Thanks is given, bread is broken, and even as they lose sight of Jesus, yet they finally know Him.
They realize He is with them, and all of the hopes and all of the blessings come flooding back. These men, moments before, weary, tired and broken, know Him in the breaking of the bread. The presence of Jesus overwhelms them, even as it gives them the strength to climb back up the mountain to return to the apostles. We aren’t talking about a hike from here to the Towne Center – we are talking about walking from here to Disneyland – if Disneyland was uphill.
Why didn’t Jesus reveal himself earlier?
I don’t know. What I do know is that when He did reveal himself, it was the perfect time, they had heard, they knew of His love. They got it, and their life was forever changed. Even as they confirm what the others had seen, had known, what matters in that moment, was Jesus appearing, and how they recognized him in the breaking of the bread.
Why don’t we see God all the time? Why do we have to walk these roads, knowing the despair? Knowing the pain, and wondering, “where is God in all of this?”
I don’t know. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt He is here, with His people. But I don’t know why sometimes we walk that same road, not hearing the testimony of those we would normally trust.
I do know that we have all the same promises that God will redeem His people. We can know Christ through the pictures of Him that are drawn all over the Old Testament, We can hear all the prophecies and know that God has never, and will never abandon His people. We know He walks with us, even if we aren’t always aware of His presence.
We can recognize His presence, here and now, even in the breaking of the bread.
Knowing those promises, that God will use even what was planned for evil for good, that nothing can separate us from Him, that all will work for good, and that He will complete the work He began in us, we taste and see He is good. Our eyes are opened to His presence. We are 21 days out from Easter, yet the season continues. We know He is Risen – just as we have learned this has been His plan…. But because He is risen, we can recognize Him, we can know Him, and rest assured of His love and work that we shall know His peace, even now throughout all eternity.
A peace that goes beyond our understanding – but guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. AMEN?
Posted on May 4, 2014, in Sermons and tagged apocalypse, Breaking the Bread, Communion, Easter, Emmaus, Eucharist, He is Risen, Hidden, Jesus, Revelation, Undercover Boss. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.