Good morning Family, I am looking forward to the day we can all gather together arm-in-arm to praise and worship God our Father, Jesus our Lord, King, and High Priest, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you all for creatively finding ways to stay connected. This Sunday, April 19, lets all, at our homes, gather at 10:00 on our front porch, on our deck, at our windows, someplace looking out and pray as the Holy Spirit leads for as long as the Holy Spirit Leads. Let us all gather to pray and worship in Spirit and Truth. I pray you are encouraged by todays message, may you experience hope, peace, and joy as we share together.
Love you all and miss you lots
Today's message comes from Luke 24:13-49
I appreciate how patient Jesus was. How He listened to the men as they were walking away. What I find really noteworthy is that Jesus knew all that had transpired and yet He asked them to give their version of the story. He wanted to hear how the recent events had affected these two men, His disciples. This reminds me of a Psalm
Psalm 62:8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
God wants to hear what is on our minds and in our hearts…Yes, He knows, non-the-less He wants to hear. Through Jesus we have access to the Holy of Holies, just three days earlier the Curtain was torn, access, to pouring out our hearts to God, was granted to all who trust Jesus!
Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
These two men, discouraged and mourning, were leaving the place they could receive comfort, two sheep wondering off. We are likely to miss Jesus and withdraw from the strength found in other believers when we are preoccupied with our dashed hopes and frustrated plans. Only when we are looking for Jesus in our midst will we experience the power and help only He can bring. Jesus, as Lord, brings to our lives the transformation to live His ways especially when things are not going according to plan.
In verse 25 Jesus, after listening to their plight, responds to the disciple’s discussion on their way to Emmaus.
Luke 24:25 Then Jesus said to them, "You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.
Foolish or “slow of heart” in this context is one who is struggles with the ways of truth. It refers to one who easily gives way to doubtfulness and even distrust. These men saw Jesus’ own hand heal and feed the multitudes. They knew He taught with impeccable authority and still they could not conceive what had been accomplished. I do not believe Jesus was condemning these men, just simply pointing out, the foolishness of their hearts, all our hearts really. The problem these men had was not what was in their head, it was what was in their heart.
Knowing full well that these two men needed more, Jesus began to teach. He began to open their hearts to the Scriptures.
Luke 24:27 Then Jesus quoted passages from the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining what all the Scriptures said about himself.
Jesus helped these two men understand their faith. The imperfection found in these two men is strong evidence of the transforming work found in the Truth of the Gospel. Oh, how it benefits us to take time to grasp the fullest assurance of the Scriptures in context to our situation. Jesus brings to our lives the fullness of the Word of God. He brings clarity and understanding; He never brings confusion or despair to our lives.
What a wonderful testimony to the New Covenant Scriptures, people like these are. They were chosen: First and foremost, to believe the scriptures; secondly, to proclaim them in the world; and, thirdly, to die on the evidence of those truths. The blessed influence of the Gospel, (Christ Jesus Reigns) felt in their own hearts, and fully lived out in their lives. This brings hope to all of us, who like these guys struggle too.
As they continued on the road:
Luke 24:28-30 28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus would have gone on, 29 but they begged him to stay the night with them, since it was getting late. So, he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took a small loaf of bread, asked God's blessing on it, broke it, then gave it to them.
It came time for supper and the three sat down to eat. The three were sharing a meal together; Two old friends and their new found friend, who they have not really met yet. I am reminded of Revelation 3:20
"Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.
They began to eat and
Luke 24:31-32 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! 32 They said to each other, "Didn't our hearts feel strangely warm as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?"
In these Scriptures we find two men who were in quite a mess. They were down hearted, experiencing intense mourning, they were trying to put the pieces together. Jesus’ acting as head of the family, in taking, blessing, and distributing the bread among them, caused them to see Him. His words and inflections, His mannerisms they had often heard Him speak, and those hands by which they had often been fed, brought assurance and clarity to their minds and hearts.
This is the position of the master or head of a family; and this was our Lord's usual custom among his disciples. Those whom Christ walks with he feeds. He feed the bread He, Himself has blessed, and this sharing together not only strengthens, but also enlightens the soul. For Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:48).
We see here the very beginning of the formation of what so many long for today; connectedness. The very existence of the church happened because of Christ Jesus’ revelation to mankind. Hearts are stirred, minds are opened, Truth is known and transformation begins. How I am looking forward to gathering as the Family of God, worshiping and praising together arm-in-arm.
Many questions came to mind as I pondered this encounter with Jesus. Here is one: When Jesus vanished, did He really leave, was He really gone?
When we get to those times and feel like Jesus has left, after He was revealed to us, take heart He has never left. The Scriptures tell us
John 14:20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
Colossians 1:27 For it has pleased God to tell his people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory.
That is where our Lord is living, in us! Making us His very own. There are times of doubt and when we are in those times, we know that we are never really alone, Jesus has never left us nor will He.
Hebrews 13:5-6 5 Don't love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." 6 So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?"
Jesus said, … And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
Our lives are made in such a way that we need to be connected. These scriptures have a great deal to do with faith and connectedness. God grants us the faith to stand strong in times of adversity and Jesus as the Vine, keeps us connected to Him; the one who brings encouragement, perseverance, hope, and faith to our lives. The hearts of these two men "burned within," as Jesus was revealed.
John Rawlinson puts it this way “Spiritual feelings must be sustained by the means which first produces them. Do you wish to keep your heart warm in this sense? Often walk and talk with Jesus. Let Him be much in your thoughts.”
Connections are vital to our lives and life in the church. Our connectedness comes when Jesus is Lord of our lives. I am so looking forward to connecting with you the ones God has given each us as brothers and sisters here in Garfield, very soon.