Sunday 26 April 2020

Another week of lockdown has passed and once again we come to the Lord's Day without the ability of meeting together with our church family at Emmanuel. But this does not mean we cannot meet with the Lord. He is always available, He is always present. So even in our own homes we can meet with Him. But we do miss the fellowship of fellow Christians, that is so important. The scripture exhorts us "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-26. Let us pray that soon the restrictions will be lifted and we will indeed be able "assemble ourselves together."

This Sunday we were due to have Douglas Fishlock preaching in the morning and Clive Charlton preaching in the evening. Douglas has not been well, although is somewhat better now. Please remember all our preachers in prayer, that the Lord will keep them safe and refresh their spirits, and give them messages from God's Word that they may pass on to us.

I am indebted to Andy Michell who has prepared a message for us all this week and you will find it attached to this email. He has continued to consider those who met the Lord after the resurrection,  Last week we considered Mary Magdalene and this week Andy is looking at the two on the road to Emmaus.
Chris Wilson

Emmanuel Baptist Church, Sidmouth (in lockdown)  Sunday am – 26 April 2020                 

         The resurrected Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus


In Luke 24 v 13-35, after Jesus’ resurrection, we read of His meeting with two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus, about 7 miles away, when they were talking about what had happened earlier that day in Jerusalem  - perhaps a sermon on the road rather than on the mount!  Let’s look at it together.

1.  Jesus’ identity suppressed

·       We read - On that same day, two of the disciples (Cleopas & another) were walking to Emmaus talking about all that had happened in Jerusalem. Jesus drew near & joined them (v 15). As Jesus was both man & God, He knew their needs, as He did when He had approached others:

o   How He had compassion on the widow of Nain at the death of her son, whom He then brought back to life - & the people glorified God (Luke 7);  or when He saw the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, up a sycamore tree & told him to come down as He needed to visit him - & how ‘Today, salvation has come to this house.’ (Luke 19);  or how the Samaritan woman came to the well where Jesus was resting. He asked her for a drink, talked of living water & told her He was the Messiah - & later, many Samaritans believed in Him.  (John 4)

·       We’re also told - Jesus joined them, but they were kept from recognising Him  (v 16 – ESV & NIV) - they didn’t recognise Jesus, but He knew them. Surely the fact that Jesus was kept anonymous was for God’s good purposes – it enabled the disciples to ‘open up’ to this stranger – which they may not have done so readily if they’d known it was Jesus they were talking to. It also provided the perfect opportunity for Jesus to ‘open up’ the scriptures to them, while they walked.

2.    Wrong hopes confessed

·       The stranger (Jesus) asked them ‘What are you discussing’? (v 17) They could have told Him to mind his own business, but they didn’t – as they stood still & were sad & then said ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who doesn’t know what’s happened there these last few days?’ (v 17,18)  Clearly, when Jesus replied ‘What things?’, His question got right to the cause of their sadness, as, although these were risky times for His disciples, Cleopas identified himself as a follower of Jesus to this stranger, as he told of how Jesus of Nazareth, a great prophet & future redeemer of Israel had been crucified. (v 19-21)

·       So, as  Jesus’ suppressed identity facilitated honest talking, the 2 disciples said they were sad - but partially for wrong reasons; whereas Jesus may have been sad too, but for the right reasons.

o   Not only had these 2 disciples lost their dear Master, but also their expectations of Him hadn’t materialised - they thought He would set the Jewish nation free from bondage under Roman occupation & redeem  Israel - but their hopes were shown to be wrong by Jesus’ death.

o   Also, they said that some of their women amazed them, as they went to the tomb that morning but didn’t find the body. Some angels said He was alive & so others went to the tomb later & found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Jesus’ body (v 23). So, being amazed when told that Jesus’ body had gone, one can imagine that if they’d been told that Jesus had risen from the dead, as He had said he would, they’d have struggled to believe that, too.

3.    Disciples’ needs addressed

·       Then Jesus said ‘O foolish ones & slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things & enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses & the Prophets, He explained all the OT scriptures said concerning Himself (v 25-27).

o   Was Jesus fair in calling them ‘foolish ones & slow of heart to believe?’ After all, we all arrive at our ’spiritual understanding’ at different times & in different ways. But these were folk who had heard the greatest preacher ever, Jesus, & had been brought up to learn & know the OT well.  So, although He was still not recognised by them, Jesus started his interpretation of scripture & reproved them for their slowness to believe what the OT prophets have spoken. 

o   Jesus  also shows them (still anonymously) that the suffering of Christ was the appointed way to His glory (v 26). Jesus knew it was the cross which they found hard to accept, so He explained the necessity of the cross, that the Messiah had to suffer on it & this was proof that he was the Messiah - He couldn’t be the Messiah & a Saviour without being a ‘cross sufferer’.

4.    Burning hearts expressed

·       We read - ‘As they drew near to Emmaus, Jesus acted as if He was going further. But they urged him to stay, as it was getting late, so He went in to stay with them. When they were at table together, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it & gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened & they recognised him (v 28-31a). Just as they were kept from recognising him earlier (v 16), so now their eyes were opened. What an amazing example of God at work in peoples lives!

o   But then - He disappeared from their sight (v 31b). We can speculate why He disappeared at that moment – after all He appeared to the disciples later in the evening in the upper room. Yet another example of God’s amazing timing linked with knowing what’s best for His people.

o   They asked each other ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road & opened up the scriptures?’ (v 32). They didn’t so much compare notes but compared the state of their hearts as they considered the exposition of the scriptures that Jesus gave them.

o   They returned to Jerusalem & told the others, ‘The Lord is risen’ & they only recognised Jesus when He broke the bread & gave it to them (v 33-35). Let’s think on this, as in our Communion services we often reflect on Jesus saying at the last supper, ‘Do this in remembrance of Me’.

·      What of us?  With this amazing ‘sermon on the road’ in mind, may we take every opportunity to be          ever more conversant with God’s word & know the Holy Spirit’s leading on this in our lives.

o   Also, as we read God’s Word, do we know something of our hearts burning within us that was mentioned by the 2 disciples, as they reflected on their walk with Jesus on the Emmaus road?  How thankful we Christians should always be, that our loving & merciful God opened our eyes to see & know our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, as He did for those 2 disciples.

o   As we walk & talk with our Lord, may this encourage us all the more, hopefully with burning hearts of joy, to want to share our faith with others, so that they also may have that joy of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ & His saving grace.

Let’s pray for the Lord to speak to us afresh, as we consider Jesus’ meeting with the 2 disciples & how we can apply this to our lives & share with others.

Andy Michell.