Monday, April 11, 2005

I'm on the road to Emmaus, I suppose...

Back on November 23, 2004, I wrote about what I had learned about God's Word during my change to confessional Lutheran practices. I referenced two good posts on the topic:

More Than Words by Rob of Love and Blunder

The Proclaimed and Present Word by John of Confessing Evangelical

At the time I wrote:

The confessional Lutheran church taught me this: When the Word is invoked, Christ is truly present. We have more than a symbol of Christ, we have Him in truth. Until very recently in my faith life, I never fully understood the power of God. His power has literally silenced me. I am finally safe resting in His arms. I no longer try to help or manipulate God by my actions. The day I stopped "trying" to be a good Christian, He started to work through me. I have seen seven family members come to Christ in less than two years, after twenty years of my pathetic attempts to "be a good witness" to them.Truly excellent posts, Rob and John. Thanks for teaching me. I am very thankful.

Well, I certainly don't take my own words to heart. Lately, I've been playing God as I struggle with issues I cannot control in the lives of other people. I have desparately trying to concoct ways to "fix" the situations which cause me fear and heartache. And so the Lord found me yesterday in church. God's Word really convicted me of doubting His ability to grow and sustain faith in people whom He has already placed the seeds and faith and in whom those seeds have already been well-watered.

Luke 24: 13-33: On the Road to Emmaus

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together.

Our pastor used this account from the road to Emmaus for our sermon yesterday. He drew out of this scripture that even the disciples didn't recognize their Lord as He walked along that road with them, although they realized it later hindsight. It's that way with us, too. Pastor also reminded us of the hymn, Abide With Me. Jesus promised he would abide with us; he did with the apostles on the road to Emmaus and He will abide with us. We need to take our sadness and fears to Him and remember that He promised to abide with us. I need to take my sadness and fears to HIm and remember that He promised to abide with me.


Jaylynne said...

A really, really important detail to take away from the Emmaus account is that they recognized Him not in hindsight, but in the "breaking of the bread." (Remember also how He broke the bread before feeding the 4,000 and the 5,000). It's important because that's how we continue to recognize Him today, in the breaking of the bread of Holy Communion...

TKls2myhrt said...

Yes, that is an important point..and a whole other post! :)

The point I was trying to make is that He was walking with them and they didn't realize it, even though He was their expected Lord. A trap I fall into is forgetting that when God's Word goes out, it does not come back empty-handed. God's Holy Spirit doesn't need me to fix situations for Him so that He can do His work.

I do like the communion tie-in, as well.

Styria said...

I haven't read it yet, but stumbled across this tonight:

TKls2myhrt said...

I think you click on the one just below the correct sermon, although any Martin Luther sermon is a good one.


By the way, that church's website is an outstanding discovery. They have a long list of sermons that they have posted on their site. Sermons:
Other Lutheran resources: