April 21, 2019 | Taylor Rutland
Passage: Luke 24:13-35
Again, I’d like to thank everyone for your attendance today as we celebrate the most important day of the year for our faith. We will be in the Gospel of Luke today looking at a story surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. Our story this morning is unique to Luke’s Gospel. It is not the traditional story of the resurrection of Jesus, but I think it is an interesting perspective to examine this morning. So let me paint the picture for us before we read the passage. Jesus has already been resurrected from the dead, some women head to the tomb to look for his body but he is not there. And the angels tell them that he has risen. And this story picks up with two disciples traveling to a village going away from Jerusalem. Confused and disappointed at the news they have heard. And this is where our story picks up. So let’s begin reading at Luke 24:13.
Conversations About Jesus:
"And he said to them, 'What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?' And they stood still, looking sad."
The village Emmaus is only mentioned here in the entire New Testament. Luke doesn’t give us any description of this village or explain to us why these two men were going there. It’s close proximity to Jerusalem, however, is what makes it so important.
A huge theme in Luke’s Gospel is the travel narrative. Throughout the middle portion of Luke’s Gospel Jesus is on a journey to Jerusalem, along with his disciples so that he can face crucifixion but in this particular story we see two men on a journey away from Jerusalem. Overall, the travel narrative is not successful because Jesus’s disciples never truly grasp who Jesus is.
What kind of conversations are you having about Jesus? Whether that be with other people or simply in your head. Throughout history, there have been a lot of conversations about Jesus. Some believe that he is simply a good teacher or prophet. Others believe that he was some sort of wise sage. Others believe that the entire narrative surrounding Jesus is fabricated stories created by the early church. And others believe that Jesus was the Son of God who died on the cross for the sin of the world and was raised from the dead 3 days later.
Jesus appears to the men and they are completely unaware that Jesus is walking alongside them. When we impose our agenda or idea of who Jesus is, he actually becomes invisible to us because we have created our own Jesus instead of letting him stand on his own. Our most reliable source about Jesus is what the Gospel writers tell us about him. Not Discovery channel, CNN, or national geographic specials even though they might be interesting and have some historical accuracy to them.
- A lot of conversations about Jesus have been happening this week in light of the recent burning of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The burning of this historical landmark is indeed a tragedy, but it’s also a reminder for us. The church of Jesus Christ does not reside in any physical structure. Right now, there are people around the world gathered in huts and villages in Africa praising the name of Jesus and they will never have a building to worship in. In fact, by 2060 40% of followers of Jesus will live in Sub Saharan Africa. Hear me this morning friends, this church could burn down this afternoon and Jesus would still be on his throne. And just in case we think Jesus is confined to a building we have this glorious image of the cross in the Notre Dame cathedral with smoke and fumes all around the inside, and then the cross lit up untouched by the flames. And when Jesus said I will destroy this temple and build another not made with hands he is reminding us that he resides in our hearts, not in a building!
Know the Good News:
"And 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.'" — Luke 24:19
We see in verse 19-24 the Gospel message. The travelers explain to Jesus himself what has just transpired. These different elements of the story are important to unpack.
- Jesus was a prophet before the Jews of his day, and his prophetic message was about the kingdom of God.
- The chief priest and rulers did hand Jesus over to the Roman authorities. The statements and teachings of Jesus were too much for many of the religious people of the day. Hear me this morning, Jesus was not a fan of religion. Let me give an example of this for you, in Jesus’s most famous sermon known as the Sermon on the Mount Jesus takes two of the most well-known commandments and he reteaches them to the audience. He says you have heard that it was said do not murder, but I tell you that whoever is angry with his brother is liable to judgment. Then he later says, you have heard that it was said do not commit adultery, but I tell you that if you have ever looked at a woman with lustful intent you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. One of the reasons religious people hated Jesus is because he took the laws that they thought they were keeping and intensified them and this was upsetting to them. And at other times, Jesus broke the laws himself in order to do good. The Gospels show us that religion teaches us to worship the rules but Jesus teaches us to worship Him.
- He was crucified and died. There can be no resurrection without death. So Jesus dying is a crucial component of the story. But his death was for us. He was our substitute. Our sin separates us from God and God despises sin so much that it is deserving of death. But Jesus stepped in and took that death on himself for us because he loves us.
- The women arrive at the tomb and Jesus is not there. The resurrection is the lynchpin of the Christian faith. I have said many times that if the resurrection of Jesus did not happen then we should all abandon him as quickly as possible. Without the resurrection, Jesus’s death is not enough to overcome the power of sin, and if Jesus cannot overcome the power of sin than us putting our faith in him to do that for us is not enough either. So in these 6 verses, we get these components of the Gospel story.
Verse 21 gives us a telling glimpse at the current belief these travelers had about Jesus. They say, “We had hoped” that he was the one to redeem Israel. What this verb shows us is that they no longer believed. They hoped he was the Messiah to redeem Israel, but they quit believing it. At this point, the women’s story of Jesus’s body not being at the tomb wasn’t enough for these travelers to change their minds. Even the story of the angels saying that Jesus was alive was not enough. Even walking right next to Jesus and telling him this story about himself was not enough for them to register that it was Jesus.
Why did the Jewish people not accept Jesus as the Messiah? Well once again because they had their own idea of what the Messiah was supposed to look like. They weren’t looking for someone who was going to wash people’s feet and care for the poor. They were expecting a fierce warrior who was going to lead the Jews to once and for all overcome the oppression of the Roman empire.
The Gospel message is not something we get to create for ourselves. It is something that God created for us. As a result, we cannot create a Jesus in our own image. We must allow him to stand on his own. Because Jesus we create is simply our own created God. Everyone in this room is worshipping something. Some are worshipping Jesus, some are worshipping career, some are worshipping family, productivity, achievement, the success of your sports team, but
- I recently watched the documentary Free Solo. This is the story of Alex Honnold, a rock climber who set out to conquer the first free solo climb of El Capitan, a 3200-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park. I don’t want to spoil the documentary for you by revealing what happens, but he says “I’ll never be content unless I at least try to climb this mountain, and another time he says people get fulfillment from all sorts of things but I get my fulfillment in life from mountain climbing. I use this documentary as a way to illustrate that all of us in life seek fulfillment and purpose in different sources, but they will all fall short of giving us the true fulfillment that we need. Your family, your career, your sports teams, achievement, whatever it is will all fade away. They all have a shelf life. A relationship with Jesus is the only thing that will last for eternity.
Look to the Scriptures:
"And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." — Luke 24:27
Notice what Jesus does here. He doesn’t begin with the crucifixion or the resurrection as his starting point. Instead, he starts with parts of the Old Testament and showed these disciples how all of these different parts of the scriptures were pointing towards Jesus.
It would have been really easy for Jesus to reveal himself to the disciples at this point in the story, but he didn’t. Instead, he took them back to the scriptures to point out all of the ways that the scriptures were testifying to Jesus as the Messiah.
When you read the Bible a couple of things happen. Let’s just take the Ten Commandments as an example since everyone is familiar with that passage from Exodus. You read through the ten commandments and you realize that you fail to live up to that standard so one of the most important things 1) The word of God does is convict us. It shows us that we are incapable of providing salvation for ourselves, but it does this for a very specific reason. As we read the Bible and feel conviction we realize how much grace we actually need. And what we come to realize is that the reason the Bible brings conviction through its commandments and laws is to point us to something greater than the law. And that something greater is Jesus. The apostle Paul tells us in the New Testament that the whole reason the law existed was to show us our need for Jesus because he is the only one who ever kept the commandments perfectly.
So as you struggle with sin and you think I’ll never be able to live up to the standard that is needed that’s exactly right. You won’t be able to live up to that standard so put your faith in Jesus and let him live up to that standard for you. The Christian identity can never be achieved it can only be received.
- Now that I have finally finished school, I have a lot more free time to read. I have always been forced to read while in school, but now I can read books that I have always wanted to read but never had the time to do it. So I realize I am late to the party, but I began the Harry Potter series a little over a month ago, and I am currently on book 3 in the series. I came in knowing absolutely nothing about the books and I have seen none of the movies so I have a completely blank slate, and please don’t ruin it for me after the service either. But just like I would never start a series of books with the third book, Jesus knew that these disciples needed to be pointed back to the prophets of old to fully understand why Jesus is so important.
Jesus Changes Hearts:
"They 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?'” — Luke 24:32
As the travelers were getting closer to the village, they asked Jesus if he would be willing to stop and stay the night with them. Jesus agreed to stay with them, and they are still not aware of who he truly is.
They sit down to a meal together, and interestingly Jesus becomes the host of this meal. Typically, when someone is invited to stay at someone’s house it is the owner of the house who takes charge of the meal, but in this instance we see Jesus taking the bread, blessing it, and handing it out to the disciples. He is no longer the honored guest but the host of the meal.
Once Jesus breaks the bread their eyes are opened, and they realize who it is that they have been walking with all of this time, and then he vanishes from their sight.
But notice, they were already thinking in their hearts that it was Jesus as he pointed out the scriptures to them. Luke tells us that their hearts were burning as the scriptures were explained to them. When the word of God is convicting our hearts, it sometimes feels like it’s burning. Perhaps this morning your heart is burning. You know that you cannot live up to the standard that God requires of us. So I beg of you this morning to quit trying to do it on your own and let Jesus live up to that standard for you. Receive Jesus as Lord and Savior today.
The world lives for stories of redemption. We love a good story about someone rising up from terrible circumstances or a team that goes from the last place to first place. These stories capture the hearts of people. One week ago today we had one of the most historical stories of redemption in the sports that have ever happened. Like Tiger Woods, 11 years after winning his last major championship won the Masters at the age of 43. He won his first major championship at the age of 21 in 1997, and now in 2019 he just won his 15th. In 1997, as he walked off the golf course he gave his father a huge bear hug, and last Sunday as he walked off the golf course he gave his own son and daughter a huge bear hug. Reporters and journalists said they have never heard Augusta National louder than it was a week ago Sunday. Tiger Woods has been at the pinnacle of his sport, and also at the lowest of his sport. Not to mention the horrific troubles he has had off the golf course. But last Sunday as he walked off the golf course, fans were cheering as loud as they have ever cheered. Some are calling it one of the greatest stories of redemption. But the redemption that you and I can find in Christ blows this out of the water. We as sinners in need of redemption by a holy God is made possible through what Jesus did on the cross for us. Do you think the cheers for Tiger Woods were loud? The Bible tells us that heaven rejoices every time one person comes to faith in Jesus Christ, and this is the redemption story that all of us are in need of.