He is Risen!
We're so glad you decided to join us today!
When we meet together, we share our joys and concerns together. If you have any prayer requests you would like to share, you can add them to the comments on this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below (source) to get started.
Lord God, You loved this world so much, that you gave your one and only Son, that we might be called your children too. Lord, help us to live in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday, every day. Let us have hearts of thankfulness for your sacrifice.
Let us have eyes that look upon your grace and rejoice in our salvation. Help us to walk in that mighty grace and tell your good news to the world. All for your glory do we pray, Lord, Amen.
Today's lesson is on Luke 24:13-27, 30-31.
Today's lesson follows directly after the women found the empty tomb.
Our book says that many Jews at the time believed in the bodily resurrection of the dead. This idea is rooted in certain Old Testament prophetic texts (example Daniel 12:1-3, 13). In the time between the Old and New Testaments, this doctrine was developed further. However, not all Jews believed in the resurrection (Acts 23:8). Jesus' followers, though skeptical of the empty tomb, would not have entirely dismissed the possibility.
The Journey Begins
Two of Jesus followers who had heard the women's report were walking to a village called Emmaus. Emmaus was close enough to Jerusalem that they would have made the walk in a day. Our book says we do not know the exact location of the village. This is the only mention of the place in the New Testament.
The men were discussing what had happened. Our book says the word used suggests a strong debate. Jesus came up and walked with the men. However, they were kept from recognizing him. This could mean that either God obscured their vision in some way, or that Jesus' physical appearance was changed from before his burial.
The Travelers Lament
Jesus starts a conversation by asking what they are talking about. The men are surprised! How could this man not know about all the things that had just happened in Jerusalem? Ironically, that man was the only person who fully understood the events of that week.
The two men explain that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. They said he was a prophet, and that there was hope he would redeem Israel. As we have discussed before, the Jews were hoping for a political redemption, which would free them from oppressive foreign occupation.
By speaking of the only who was going to redeem Israel, the travelers likely believed that Jesus was going to save their people from foreign oppression. To see Jesus put to death in a horrifying manner brought them disappointment. Further, this was the third day after Jesus died, when Jesus promised his disciples that he would be resurrected. If these two men had heard of that promise, they had left Jerusalem without experiencing the fulfillment of the promise.
The men recounted that the women found the empty tomb that morning, and that at least Peter (and maybe also John) confirmed the empty tomb. But the men had not seen their resurrected Lord.
The Stranger Responds
Jesus calls the two men on the road foolish. This follows the tradition of Hebrew wisdom literature, like the book of Proverbs, which calls out the folly of fools.
Jesus referred to all the things our Old Testament said regarding the Messiah. In Jesus' day, the scripture would have been traditionally seen in three categories:
As the travelers reached Emmaus, they invited the unknown stranger to stay with them as an act of hospitality. When they sat down to eat, Jesus acted as the host by giving thanks and breaking the bread. At this point, the men recognize Jesus.
Then, Jesus vanishes. Our book says that his being recognized and yet vanishing from the men's sight indicates both a continuity and a discontinuity with his physical body after the resurrection. The men then returned to Jerusalem and told the other disciples of their experience with the resurrected Christ.
The travelers in today's scripture had an experience that brought about a personal revolution. Their saddened outlook was transformed when they shared a meal with the resurrected Lord.
This revolution brought the two travelers joy, enthusiasm and peace. It also meant reordered priorities; they received a correction and were reminded of how scripture pointed to Christ's resurrection and the resulting revolution. Are you attentive to the ways the resurrection can change your expectations -- and your life?
Heavenly Father, Jesus' resurrection has changed the world. Show us how we might better teach your Word for other people to believe in you. In the name of the resurrected Jesus. Amen.
Questions for Discussion
Today's benediction is from the New Revised Standard Version.
Next week's lesson will be on John 21:1-14.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.