Posted by on Apr 26, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Opening our Minds

Grace and peace to you all! It is always such a pleasure to prepare thoughts for us all to
consider as we live in the world God gave to us.

Welcome to the 3rd Sunday of Easter…not “after Easter”, but “of” Easter. Why this, you ask?
Easter begins with Jesus’ resurrection and continues all year long…and especially in this
strange year, we need this promise and celebration in thankfulness for what our Lord did for us.
Easter gives us hope and reason to bring the good news to all of God’s people.

The gospel lesson for this 3rd Sunday of Easter is from Luke 24:13-35. I always look forward to
when it comes around in the “circle” of readings for our worship and consideration as I can just
visualize what is happening when these men are talking and Jesus comes to them.

In this section, we have the story of the Road to Emmaus. It is one of the many stories that Luke
chooses to include in his gospel because he was looking toward bringing the word of Jesus Christ
to the Gentiles. He included many of Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection as he realized that
there were many experiences followers of Christ could/would have.

The two men in our reading had just left Jerusalem on the day that Jesus had risen from the dead
and had heard Mary’s message from the angels to tell the disciples He had risen and they were to
go to Galilee. These two men were not in the locked room with the 11 disciples…they had been
in the streets through the Passover celebration. At the point where this passage begins, these two
were on their way to Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem.

It’s entirely possible they felt a need to just walk a little to consider what they had heard and
seen. This is not totally different from what we would also probably want to do. Clear our heads
and reason out what had happened.

While they were discussing the events of the past couple of days, a person joined them in their
walk and asked what they were talking about. They stopped walking. Cleopas was surprised
that someone would ask that question and thought this person was probably the only one who
didn’t know what had happened. So, he went on to explain the activities of the past several days.

Jesus was asking these men to expand the details of their conversation…tell more. Were they
being a little like we often act? We are willing to talk about the “bare minimum” details and then make a judgment from that….be it true or false? Jesus began to tell these men that the
resurrection was more than a vision that some people were saying it was. Jesus was telling them
that the events of the past days were a reality.

Another interesting fact of Jesus’ relating the events was that He tied the events to the Old
Testament…the words of Moses and the prophets. These two men had heard the Old Testament prophets and Moses many times from their worship in the Jewish temple. The Old Testament foretold the events that took place there in Jerusalem.

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Let’s look briefly at two verses that tells what the men may have heard and seen on Good Friday.
The first verse is from Psalm 22:1 that says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Where would these people have heard those words? Yes…from Jesus on the cross, namely in
Matthew 27:46…when Jesus spoke those exact words in agony on the cross. There is another
interesting verse from Psalm 22:18. “they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my
clothing they cast lots.” This occurred in Matthew 27:35 after Jesus had died…and his clothes
were divided up and lots were cast for them. In fact, you may want to read Psalm 22 to see that this chapter in the Psalms to see what the whole chapter says.

These two men had heard some of these things many times and had possibly either dismissed
them as referring to the writers of the Old Testament or just not associated them with what they
had witnessed…because of the people around them, the agony they had seen, etc. They also
state to Jesus (who they still have not recognized) that they were under the impression that the
Messiah was foretold to be the one who would redeem Israel.

Jesus asks them, ”How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared.” You didn’t
believe the prophets? And at the point, Jesus began to teach them about Moses and all the
prophets and interpreted how these writings told about what Jesus would be going through and
why He would be coming to His people.

I’m sure that these men were amazed…as they asked him to join them rather than continuing to walk away. The explanations were taking awhile and they were tired, hungry and interested in hearing more. If they had not believed what Jesus was saying to them, they would not have asked him to join them, as in Jewish history, table fellowship was a test of social solidarity and indicates a bond that runs deep.

With the explanation that Jesus gives to them, as well as the “breaking of bread” that was
conducted, the minds of these men were opened to who this person was who joined them on their
journey. They no longer had superficial expectations of what they had witnessed…they knew
who this person was. Look what they did….they went back to Jerusalem to tell the disciple what
they had seen…and how Jesus had opened their eyes. They witnessed to their fellow disciples
that they HAD seen Jesus.

We do not have the same type of revelation that these men had. Or do we? I had a wonderful
revelation when studying the Psalms in my Spring COS class…to have affirmation that what
Jesus’ mission would be and that what he would experience had been foretold in the Old Testament. I also looked seriously at the first chapter of Genesis…in verse 26, when it is recorded that God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” The use of the words “us” and “our” indicate to me that all three parts of the Trinity were working from the beginning of the world.

What confidence that can bring to us! So…what can we take from our gospel today? Jesus was
awakening his disciples to continue to prepare them for when he would ascend to His Father.
Jesus is still teaching us today…to open our eyes in various ways to His works to be able to be
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his disciples to His world. He is asking us to look deep into what we hear and read that we may
know what the truth is and not just look superficially at what is broadcast in the world.

He is also giving us the assurance He is always with us…guarding, teaching and protecting us.
Jesus as with these two men on the way to Emmaus, Jesus is walking with us every day.
Blessings to you all as you continue to walk with Jesus by your side.

Dear Lord…thank you for your love for us…for your assurance that you are always with us and protecting us. Guide us. Open our minds to your people and how we can be of help to them. We are your disciples. Amen.

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