Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Jesus, Met on the Way to Emmaus




The Jesus, Met on the Way to Emmaus
LK 24:13-35 (May 4, 2019)
In the text today, two disciples were on their way to Emmaus. They were the ones who had followed Jesus very hard. After Jesus’ crucifixion, they continued to stay with the apostles. But now they left Jerusalem and were going down to Emmaus.
Emmaus was a town about 6 miles away from Jerusalem. "Emmaus" means "water, bathroom." So we can assume that it was an ancient village formed around a well or spring water.
Luke introduces one disciple whose name was unknown and the other who was called Cleopas or Alphaeus, and both were on their journey to Emmaus in the midst of great sorrows. They heard in their own ears the women's testimonies about the angels who had reported to them the Good News of the Resurrection of the Lord “on that day”(vs 13). But they did not believe the women, “because their words seemed to them like nonsense”(vs 11), and they were walking down to Emmaus. They were going home in despair, leaving behind all their ideals and dreams with Jesus.
Luke says that the Risen Lord had made his appearance to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus. And Jesus asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”(vs 17a). But they didn't know who the traveler was, and his question made them even more agonized. “They stood still, their faces downcast” (vs 17b). When hearing the question about Jesus from a stranger they had never met before, their hearts went into deeper embarrassment and agony.
It's understandable. The shock of the unexpected crucifixion of Jesus, whom they had followed, made them insane. Now their hope of heaven, the covenant of resurrection, the mission as a disciple of Jesus was all gone. All that was left to them was nothing but sadness, vanity, despair and loss. That’s why they could not recognize Jesus, when the Lord appeared before their own very eyes after his Resurrection. What a tragedy it was!
Nowadays, we also often walk along the Road to Emmaus. When our passion goes down in vain, when the faith community that we have given our best efforts into collapses because of a little misunderstanding or someone's betrayal, when our marriage ends and we break up with each other, we can also walk down the road to Emmaus. With deep sorrow, futility, despair, and loss in mind. No strength on our two legs.
In fact, as on our ways to Emmaus in the midst of deep sorrow, the Lord of Resurrection approaches us. Because the road to Emmaus is our Galilees, as the LORD had mentioned. He comes to our Galilees and accompanies us silently. But unfortunately, we do not recognize him, although he is so near us, because our eyes are covered with sadness.
 “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”(MK 16:7) The two disciples should not have traveled to the southeast from Jerusalem but should have walked in the opposite direction, that is, to the north. They should have gone to Galilee, not Emmaus, remembering Jesus' promise that he would go back to Galilee three days after his death and burial. But contrary to what the Lord had said, they were going in the opposite.
Why then did these two disciples walk down in the opposite direction? It was due to their sadness, their disappointment and their despair, caused by the loss of their dreams. So they were going home, giving up every expectations and hopes. They were walking helplessly toward the sunset with sad faces.
Secondly, they went back to Emmaus because they could not come to believe in the testimonies of the women to the Resurrection of Jesus. They couldn't come to trust in the resurrection of the dead. No matter what anyone would say, no matter what anyone would have seen about resurrection. If decided not to believe, nothing can be trustful.
Open: Get Ready for the Adventure of a Lifetime is a book written by David Gregory and it begins with this sentence: “It wasn’t end of the world. It was only the end of my world.”
Her agony started from the very moment she broke up with her boy-friend. At that moment the world just collapsed to her. The weekend was so lonely after Jason, her boy-friend, left. Joyful and exciting days turned to dark and grey.
And one sad day a card delivered to her from someone with this message: “For a real adventure with Jesus, go through the nearest open door.”
There was no signature, no name at all. And ultimately the invitation took her back to the Gospel days two thousand years.
An old lady was taking a long way alone. As walking along a deep path in the forest, she came to a two-way road. Disputing which way to go, grandma prayed, “God, I believe you will guide me in my way. I'll put the cane in the middle of two roads, and I will take the road where it falls down.”
And she let the cane stand and fall, and it pointed to the right. But the direction she wanted to go was to the left. Therefore she placed the cane back up and repeated the same gestures over and over again, until it fell to the left finally. Then the grandma said, “Certainly God is guiding me to the left.” Then she kept walking down the road she wanted.
What did you think after hearing the grandma’s story? We often say, “I believe," but there’s something we can actually believe and something we can believe only in words. In a way, what we believe is something that makes sense to us. We say we believe but actually we don't.
George Muller, whose prayers were answered more than 50,000 times, visited this and that church as getting old. And his preaching goal was “to lead God's people into a belief in God's promise."
Not only in the world but inside the church there are a plenty of souls whom we should evangelize, “Why can’t you believe?” We hardly believe. So someone says, “I have a faith that nothing can make me believe.” What a stubborn mind it is! However, that’s not something to brag about.
Do you believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, brothers and sisters? Do you believe that the Lord of Resurrection will come to your Galilees and meet you there? Do you really believe that? Then have you met Jesus in your Galilees?
A few days ago, while listening to the latest gospel songs on YouTube in my office, I heard this song - “The Time, Penetrated”:
You have penetrated time,
You have transcended space
You did not want the heaven without us,
You are God incarnated,
You threw away Your peace, to bring the peace to us
You emptied Yourself and came as the lowest of the lowest.
후렴 Chorus:

You are God with us
You always were and will be
When we were dreamless, You show us Your Kingdom
When we were helpless, You come as our best friend
When we were powerless, You hug our lives with comfort

Jesus, here and now, Immanuel forever Jesus, here and now, Immanuel forever (3X)

Brothers and sisters, the Lord of Resurrection is coming to our Galilees. The Lord of Resurrection is visiting us as we are going down to Emmaus in sadness. So shouldn't we meet the Lord who has risen and keeps coming to us? Shouldn't we bring him into our sad hearts?
There’s a song “O Jesus, Thou Art Standing” in our hymnal:
1. O Jesus, Thou art standing outside the fast-closed door, in lowly patience waiting
To pass the threshold o'er: shame on us, Christian brothers,
His Name and sign who bear, O shame, thrice shame up-on us,
To keep Him standing there!
2. O Jesus, Thou art knocking; and lo! that hand is scarred,
And thorns Thy brow encircle, and tears Thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge, so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal, So fast to bar the gate!

Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).
Thirdly, the main reason why the two disciples walked down to Emmaus was because of their unbelief in Jesus’ promise. That’s why Jesus scolded them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (vs 25)
 “But they were kept from recognizing him” (vs 16). Even though Jesus was still accompanying them, they didn’t come to recognize him. In deep sorrow, disbelief and despair, they couldn’t see the Risen Lord. Their ears were blocked and couldn’t understand what the Lord was explaining. Because of their foolishness and lack of belief, they failed to recognize the Lord who has risen and appeared before their very eyes.
A several weeks after his great sufferings, Job finally came to realize what God was doing, and he made this confession: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”(Job 42:5, 6)
Brothers and sisters, have you met the Lord of Resurrection in your Galilees? Have you ever met him on your way to Emmaus?
Once a psalmist sang this way: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Ps 119:18).
Like the Psalmist we should pray this way: “O Lord, open my eyes to see the wonders of your law!” “O Lord, let my heart get warmed and let me see you!”
I do not pray to God to heal my wounds. Rather I try to meet my Jesus, who was wounded on my behalf. So whenever my heart is broken and I get distressed, I try to come under the Cross and pray. Because as experiencing him, I can be convinced my wounds have been healed already.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isa 53:5)
After entering their house in Emmaus, the two disciples finally recognized that the traveler who had accompanied them on the road was Jesus. They found great joy, and went straight back to Jerusalem, to testify about the Lord of Resurrection they had encountered on their way to Emmaus. But there were a lot of others who had already met the Lord of Resurrection with their own eyes as well. All the people there were filled with great joy, so the two disciples joined in their joy.
This is what the faith community of resurrection should look like. This is what the Church of the Risen Lord should be doing. Whenever we meet, we must share the joy of our encountering with the Lord of Resurrection, rather than sharing our griefs over the pains and wounds from the past. We should share the joy of our experiences with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why the Early Christians met and worshiped the Lord on Sundays, instead on Sabbaths.?
In this sense, after accepting the Risen Lord into our hearts, we should sing “He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives in my heart today!” rather than “My life gets harder, and my mind is burdened to live.” Don’t you agree with me?

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