Turned host from guest at Cleopas’s house, Jesus vanished when the men recognized him. His appearance had served its purpose and offered dynamic proof that he Lived!
But he won’t disappear when we accept him as Savior and Lord. True, he won’t offer additional evidence to convince us he’s ALIVE when he’s offered what he considers sufficient proof. But Jesus will always be with his people so they can always demonstrate his resurrected life. Remaining in Emmaus only long enough to reveal himself served Christ’s purpose, so he left. Remaining continually in us can we now demonstrate his presence is necessary, so he stays.
If we’re here and wonder about Christ’s bodily resurrection, understand: the men of Emmaus also wondered. And only his personal appearance convinced them. Important fact, then, it isn’t true that our hope is an empty tomb. All the empty tomb produced were questions and speculation. Only the Living Christ in bodily form produced evidence, that produced conviction, that produced proof, that produced Faith. As only by having Jesus Christ ALIVE in recognized bodily form would God distinguish Christianity from the mystery religions so popular in the empire. Only that produced EVIDENCE that bolstered faith in many disciples through many difficult times.
A.P. reporter Joseph Gilbert stood before the speaker’s platform at Gettysburg to record President Lincoln’s speech in shorthand. Having previously covered the President, he felt comfortable with his style and strong voice. Fascinated by Lincoln’s earnest intensity, he almost immediately stopped taking notes and began listening, looking at the President, not at his note pad. The reporter had become a spectator.
Whatever our stage of education as a disciple—neophyte, upper classman, graduate or post graduate—incrementally become focused solely on Jesus. Only then will we become so involved with his life and teaching that we forget our surroundings, other people, our questions, our doubts and our own lives also.
Jesus Christ, the personal WORD of God in human form, makes the same impact today. He’s vehemently ALIVE! He crackles with spiritual intensity. He’s Terribly and Awesomely TRUE. Fini
Why did Jesus TEACH the men of Emmaus on the road, but REVEAL himself at the meal? The first reason is in Conquerors – more than blog, Part II.
Second, because he wanted his people to know: only by living in his teaching do we develop a robust confidence in his truth. So many believers satisfy themselves with reading what other Christians think about Jesus. And what they experience with him.
That’s okay so far as it goes. There’s always a place in the kingdom for the combined testimony of his people. However, since no one can tell us about Jesus better than Jesus, we must personalize a Bible-based discipleship.
After Jesus disappeared, the men noted that their hearts burned within them as JESUS SPOKE on the road. They BURNED, but didn’t know WHY. After the meal, they KNEW. In that encounter God’s word and human experience met to create authentic discipleship. The practical impact of that is: Christians, read your Bible. Read the Gospels. The Epistles. Have someone read it to you if you can’t yourself. Listen to it on tape if you can’t do that. Don’t think we can’t understand the Bible because we’re laymen. The Holy Spirit intellectually prepares every serious student to understand God’s word as he spiritually sensitizes us to receive God’s Son in the word.
Then we not only KNOW the Son of God but KNOW WHY we know him! To know that he isn’t TRUE because we believe it, but we believe it because he has convincingly proved it. End Part III
The Master’s disciples’ usual human fixation on death—final and devastating—meant they wouldn’t have STOLEN his body, as Jewish leaders claimed. First, HOW could they steal the body? Guarded by 16 armed-to-the-teeth Roman soldiers ordered to prevent it? Beyond HOW, WHY would the disciples want to steal his body? Could they find comfort in Christ’s corpse when his life had aggrieved them? Would they show people a corpse as proof they could live again?
Omitting much of what the passage suggests...while the men of Emmaus thought and proposed and questioned and debated, Jesus mysteriously joined them—as a stranger, invading their privacy; tutoring their ignorance; rebuking their unbelief; awakening their hope; stirring revival in them.
All in such fascinating conversation that the seven miles felt like a yard, and they too quickly arrived at the village—where only their insistent invitation kept him from walking on.
That leads to our second couplet: Meal/Mystery.
Why did Jesus TEACH them on the road and REVEAL himself as they ate? First, because of the custom mealtime symbolized in that culture. When a host invited a guest to his home the guest automatically reversed rules and became ruler.
Thus, once at table Jesus seamlessly transitioned from guest to ruler of Cleopas’ house. Expressing his Lordship of their life, not merely the forgiveness of their sins. Jesus warns every disciple: if we want his forgiveness, we shall have it, but it comes with an obligation on our part. When he knocks on the door of our mind, we open the door, he’ll come in AND when he does, HE’S the BOSS.
Forget self-improvement, self-discovery, self-fulfillment or anything else about SELF! The personal pronoun “I” has use in discipleship only in saying I DIE to self. Every-after is CHRIST lives and rules and monopolizes us! End Part II
Roman gladiators could kill their opponents in the arena, but die from wounds suffered in the fight. They nevertheless received the title of Invictus—the unconquered—a dubious distinction. That’s like the title of “World’s Oldest Human”. You won’t hold it long. For victory to be worthwhile, the victor must LIVE on to enjoy it.
Believers faced that problem by sunrise—11 hours or so into the First Resurrection Sunday. Rumors flew that Jesus had risen from the dead—but no one had seen HIM Alive. Women had seen angels in the tomb who said he lived. Disciples had raced there to see grave clothes wrapped carefully, but didn’t see Jesus. Every fragment of information in those early hours suggested his resurrection. No scattered fragment contradicted the rumors. Nevertheless, Jesus himself remained UNAVAILABLE. That discrepancy posed an insoluble dilemma for disciples. That’s the way the day passed among disciples all day long, Sunday, Number ONE as hours later two disciples walked to Emmaus. A stranger approached and engaged them in conversation.
Consider two couplets that summarize the encounter.
WALK – TALK
The men had a clear understanding of the facts: they considered Jesus God’s prophet; they knew that hardened religious leaders had caused his death; the testimony of women affirmed his resurrection, exciting without convincing them.
Note: whatever faith the disciples had in Jesus crashed at the Cross. However positive rumors were that he had conquered death, they couldn’t forget: they watched as he died, as loving arms carried him to the tomb; as they placed him in the tomb, as the stone shut him in!
That they all KNEW. Everything since burdened, alarmed, then encouraged and heartened them, but NO Jesus appeared. End Part I