E. C. Andercheck
April 30, 2017
The Hope of Emmaus
Let us Pray
Dear Lord – Let these humble human crafted words
be saturated by the Holy Spirit
so that we may have hope
so that our faith may be built up
so that we might better know the risen Lord.
Let these words of my mouth
and the meditations of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord.
As Christians it is our great hope to grow our faith in Jesus Christ,
to fully know the presence of our Risen Lord.
Yet, The disciples in our Gospel story this morning,
had personally known Jesus,
but did not recognize Him
as they walked the Road to Emmaus together.
This is a great Mystery, it makes no natural sense,
But Within the mystery that is the road to Emmaus,
the Gospel story reveals a map for us,
it charts a hope filled path to greater faith,
For us the map begins just as it did for these disciples,
With an uncertain faith.
The Risen Lord teaches about himself to the disciples ,
he has shown himself to the disciples in this teaching
but they still do not recognize him.
Jesus has shown himself to us in our lives,
Yet we might have not seen it.
The Road to Emmaus is the road to recognizing Jesus,
It is the road to recognizing the goodness He has done in our lives
It is the road to our destination of greater faith,
and the home of a new hope in Jesus.
In our first lesson today (Acts 2:14) Peter sets the stage,
He raises his voice to reach the crowd:
“Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty
that God has made him both Lord and Messiah,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”
This was a time of confusion, of great uncertainty,
We know that one of the disciples named Cleopas
was uncertain and losing his hope,
In verse 21 Cleopas spoke about Jesus,
“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.
Yes, and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this happened.”
Still not recognizing the Risen Lord, Cleopas said to Him,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know the things
that have happened there in these days?”
So uncertainty about Jesus was truly abundant in the land
as the Disciples lived the walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus,
Mourning the death of Jesus,
and not yet recognizing the presence of the Risen Lord.
Uncertainty about Jesus’s presence is also very abundant today,
In our Christian life we have come to recognize Jesus,
But do we fully recognize His work in our life?
How certain is our faith?
Cleopas was walking for the greater part of seven miles alongside the Risen Christ,
who was teaching them with amazing authority.
The Gospel says,
“And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted
to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Despite this Cleopas was still unaware of who this teacher was.
But the Risen Lord continued preparing these disciples.
Then something happened!
As they arrived at the village,
the disciples invited the Risen Lord into their home,
“stay with us, because it is almost evening and
the day is now nearly over.”
Here it is that this Gospel story is charting a path for us,
It is up to us to invite Jesus to stay with us.
To stop our own busy walking,
and to find Jesus in our life.
To stop and look hard
to see Jesus’s work in our own life.
We need to rediscover how Jesus has prepared us,
How He was been with us in our past
When we recognize the good things our Lord has done in our life,
then we can have a More certain faith,
and hope for the future.
Knowing that Jesus is with us always.
I respectfully ask that we all take a moment,
to recall the good things we have received in life:
The best successes in our lives,
The love of special people,
The most joyful events,
The Recovery from an illness
or surviving a harrowing moment or medical procedure.
And then with all humility,
Consider that these successes and good outcomes
may not have been gained by our own talent or intelligence,
or Our own gifts,
or through the hands of a surgeon alone
or by secular science at work,
but that these blessings were granted to us by
the hand of God at work,
Then, we can be proud in celebrating His blessing hand.
Twenty Six years ago I sat alone praying in a Chapel,
Across the street from a Jacksonville Florida Hospital,
Where my wife was undergoing cancer surgery.
The prognosis was uncertain,
in truth it was terrifying.
Uncertainty and fear were the only things that I saw.
I was asking for God’s help,
I might have even made a few promises,
I was hoping that His blessing might be present.
When the surgeon said the procedure was successful,
That he got all of the cancer out, I was joyous.
Certainty and hope -replaced fear,
I recognized the hand of God was at work,
That day I received a new blessing of life changing hope.
To this day I am thankful for that surgeons great skill,
But I am quite certain that he did not work alone.
That day twenty six years ago, I truly received Isaiah 41:10
“fear not, for I am with you,
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand”
As we see the Risen Lord’s work in our life,
He is showing himself to us,
He is preparing us.
much in the same way,
the Risen Lord prepared the disciples
along the road to Emmaus
by showing himself in scripture.
New Testament Scholar Raymond Brown captures this moment,
“Yet even though the disciple’s hearts glowed
when Jesus opened to them the meaning of the Scriptures,
they recognized him only when he broke bread.”
Our hope can be renewed,
in that the disciples whom Jesus taught directly,
Still had uncertain faith,
But, Finally the Gospel story says,
“When he was at the table with them,
he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him”
In that same hour, these two disciples returned to Jerusalem and
“Then they told what had happened on the road,
and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
So as we approach the breaking of the bread,
Let us humbly recall and hold dear
all that we have received from the Risen Christ,
With these blessings recalled we can have hope and
pray, that we might truly recognize Him.
Herein lies our true hope, in the belief, that Christ has risen for us,
and that more of his good works and blessings are in our future
this is the hope of the road to Emmaus!
Edward C. Andercheck