April 30, 2017

Pastor Mark F. Bartels

Historical Lesson; Acts 2:14a

                              Acts 2:36-47

Epistle Lesson; 1 Peter 1:17-21

Sermon Text; Luke 24:13-35

Today's scripture reading is taken from Luke, chapter 24, verses 13 through 35.

Now on that same day, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about all of these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing this, Jesus Himself approached and began to walk along with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?”

Saddened, they stopped. One of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” He asked them.

They replied, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a Man who was a Prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be condemned to death. And they crucified Him. But we were hoping that He was going to redeem Israel. Not only that, but besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Also some women of our group amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning. When they did not find His body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb. They found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Him.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter His glory?” Then 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 where they were going, He acted as if He were going to travel farther. But they urged Him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, since it is almost evening, and the day is almost over.”

So He went in to stay with them. When He reclined at the table with them, He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and began giving it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. Then He vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us?” They got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those who were with them assembled together. They were saying, “The Lord really has been raised! He has appeared to Simon.” They themselves described what had happened along the road, and how they recognized Him when He broke the bread.

These are your words, Heavenly Father. Lead us in the way of truth. Your Word is truth.


There are a number of Bible commentators who say this text basically, “Preaches itself”. So, I am going to take you along the way, with these two disciples, on the way to Emmaus. I am going to let this Bible text unfold, and “preach” to us. What we discover is these two men, on the road to Emmaus, are leaving the city of Jerusalem. They are going about seven miles. This would be walking about a mile every fifteen minutes, and so it would take a couple hours to walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. These two men are walking along the way, and as they are walking, they were talking. If you could follow along behind them, and kind of listen to them, as they were talking, the Bible says they were talking back, and forth, kind of like throwing a ball back, and forth to each other.

Did you ever write a term paper that you put a lot of thought, work, and heart into? The paper was done, but instead of hitting the 'save button', you hit the 'delete button', and it was all gone. It was lost. If this has happened to you, you had this sense of total hopelessness, “Now what?”

That is what these men were like. These men had been, for maybe up to three years, put their hope, their trust, their anchor in Jesus. They thought, “He is the One. He is the Messiah. He is the One who is somehow going to redeem Israel. Somehow He is going to save Israel.”

But now, Jesus was dead. He was dead. We don't know exactly what these two men were saying to each other, but the Bible tells us they were sad. They had lost hope. They said, “But we were hoping He was going to redeem Israel.”

They were in a sense of hopelessness. Maybe they were saying things like, “What fools we were.” “How could we have been so gullible?” “How could we have been so deceived?” “Here we trusted in Him, and He is dead.” “What do people think of us?” “How could Jesus do that to us? Here we had thought He was so trustworthy, so kind, so loving. Was He deceiving us all along? What in the world is going on?” These two men probably felt like they had wasted the last three years of their lives, and spiritually wasted the last three years of their lives. And, they probably felt pretty hopeless, when it came to, “What is going to happen to us now? Everybody we know is going to tell us, 'You guys were idiots. You were dumb to believe in Jesus. We told you all along you shouldn't be believing in Jesus.' And now, are people going to reject us, and treat us like we are totally, totally useless? What is going to happen to us?”

All of us deal with the sense of hopelessness, sometimes, like those two men did.

       -Hopelessness may be that sense, “I am just out of control of the things happening in my life. I have lost the power to control things.”

       -Maybe because of some outside forces,

       -or something I have done, has brought it into my life.

       -Or, because of some illness, or disease, or someone has died, or I have committed some sin, and now I am in a situation that feels hopeless.

It feels hopeless, and I feel like I have no control over what is happening. Things don't look good for me.

       -Maybe we feel like we have been alienated from people who we care about, and love. There is this sense that people do not deem me as worthy of care, or love, and there is a sense of hopelessness.

That can come on Christians, too.

We can begin to wonder if God is with us. “Does He care about us?” “Is He watching over us?”

That is what was going on with these two men.

As they were walking along the way, we see the amazing, amazing heart of our Savior, Jesus. Now, if you had just risen from the dead, what do you think would be the first thing you would do? Look at what Jesus did. Jesus had just accomplished the redemption of the entire world, paid for the sins of the whole world, conquered death, risen from the dead, and salvation was completed. And, the first thing He does, is He sees two of His followers whose hearts are hurting. They are in pain, and maybe they are straying away. Jesus shows His Shepherd's heart. He goes right up to these two men. We don't even know anything about them, other than one's name was Cleopas. We don't even know the name of the other one. But, Jesus did. And, Jesus' heart, having redeemed the whole world, visited these two guys, who felt this sense of hopelessness.

So, salvation had been won, but now comes the work of the church. We see Jesus show us that, as He reaches out to people who are straying, who feel helpless, hopeless, and lost. And so, He reaches out to these two men. That shows Jesus does not love you for something you are going to become. He loves you, now. He loved these two men, dearly.

So, as they are walking along the way, Jesus appears to them. They don't know who He is, (whether it is because He changed His appearance so they could not tell, or He just kept them from recognizing Him. We don't know.), but He appears, and asks them what they are talking about, as they are walking along the way. They are surprised this Man who is walking with them, doesn't know about what had happened. They ask Him, “Are you the only alien, the only foreigner, who doesn't know what has happened these past days?”

Jesus asks, “What things?”

They show they have a pretty good understanding of Christ. They said, “He was a great teacher. He did great deeds. He did great miracles. What's more, the Chief Priests and the leaders crucified Him. They put Him to death. Now, some of our women are saying He has risen from the dead.”

But, they still had this sense of hopelessness, like all was lost.

Now, I want you to see what Jesus does, next. Jesus is going to re-anchor these guys. He is going to set their anchor really deep, in a place where they understand how secure they really are. He does it in a very, very particular way. He doesn't all of a sudden say, “Guys! It is me!” He doesn't do that.

Jesus leads them to The Word.

This is what we start to see about the risen Jesus. We are going to see this later on in the evening, on Easter Evening. He is going to lead His disciples, and followers, always to the firm, sure, rock-solid Word of God, as the place where their anchor is held.

And so, what He says to them is (just listen to this),

“How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and enter His glory.” Then, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”

So, Jesus now takes these two men into The Old Testament. The Old Testament is a book that is made up of 39 books. He takes them into the 39 books of The Old Testament. He becomes, as it were, almost a professor of 'Old Testament, Class 101'. While Jesus doesn't have a Bible with Him,

He is the Word of God.

The Bible says,

“In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.”

Jesus knows the Word of God in and out. It is His Word. And so, now Jesus begins to lead them into The Old Testament scriptures, to prove to them from scripture that what happened to Jesus had to happen. It had to happen that way. The scriptures prophesied it would. The scriptures are the sure, solid Rock, Word of God.

And so, Jesus now begins to lead them into The Old Testament. He had two hours to do this, as they were walking along the way. We don't have two hours. You could spend a year, looking through all of the passages of The Old Testament. You will notice Jesus kept using the word, “all”. All of scripture. All of the Law. All of the prophets. All of The Old Testament. Jesus is teaching what we call, 'a Basic Hermetical Principle'. That means 'a basic principle of interpreting scripture'. The basic principle He was teaching, regarding interpreting scripture, is that all of The Old Testament, all of it, is about Jesus.

Jesus is the main character of The Old Testament.

Jesus begins to lead them into The Old Testament, so they begin to see that.

I am only going to just scratch the surface for you, here today. Jesus is revealed in The Old Testament in so many powerful ways.

Number one, Jesus may have said something like this to these two men on the way to Emmaus. He may have said, “You guys, think about what we just celebrated. We just celebrated something that comes from The Old Testament, called The Passover. In The Passover there is this lamb, an innocent lamb, that is slaughtered. This innocent lamb is roasted over a fire. None of its bones are broken. Not a single bone is broken. Its blood is taken, and spread over the doorposts of the house so that whoever has that blood over the doorpost of their house is saved from the Death Angel.”

Then, He may have said, “Don't you think that maybe that is a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was innocent and holy? He was roasted, not over a fire, but on the cross. Not a bone of His was broken. Whoever believes in His blood, the blood of Jesus, the Death Angel will passover.”

Maybe He then took them to another Old Testament festival called, The Day of Atonement. “Guys, think about what happens on The Day of Atonement. On The Day of Atonement, in the city of Jerusalem, the High Priest puts his hand on the head of a goat, called 'The Scape Goat', and he places all of the sins of all of the people on that Scape Goat. Then, they send that Scape Goat out of the city of Jerusalem, bearing the sins of the whole people of Israel.”

Maybe Jesus said to them, “Didn't Caphesis say, 'It is better that one Man die for the people, than all of the people die?' Weren't the sins of all of the people laid on Jesus? Wasn't He led outside of the city of Jerusalem, there bearing the sins of all?”
Maybe then, Jesus took them to what we call, 'Straight Prophesies'. This is the foretelling of the future. Maybe He said, “Guys, think about all of the things in The Old Testament. Think about this passage, which is the first Gospel Promise from Genesis 3:15. God said, while speaking to Satan, after Adam and Eve fell into sin, 'I will put enmity between you, and the woman, and between your offspring, and hers. He will crush your head, and you will strike His heal.'”

Maybe Jesus said, “Guys, you notice scripture talks about the offspring of a woman. It doesn't mention the offspring of a man. Didn't Jesus tell you He was born of a virgin? He has no human father. He is the offspring of a woman. Didn't He crush the serpent's head, when He died on the cross. His heal was struck. He was wounded. He recovered from that, when He rose from the dead.”

Maybe He said, “Didn't the Bible say the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem? Where was Jesus born? He was born in Bethlehem. Didn't The Old Testament say the suffering servant would be betrayed for, not 31, or 32 pieces of silver, but 30 pieces of silver. Guys, didn't Judas betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver? Didn't The Old Testament say the one who shares my bread with me will betray me? Didn't Judas share his bread with Jesus, and then betray Jesus? Didn't The Old Testament say that 30 pieces of silver would then be used to buy The Potter's Field? Guys, what happened? When Judas threw the money back in to the temple, the High Priest used it to buy the Potter's Field.”

Jesus probably said, “Who was talking in Psalm 22, (written one thousand years before Jesus), who was talking, when in Psalm 22 He said, 'My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me? They have pierced my hands and feet. They look at me and gloat. They say to me, “Let God save Him, now.” Isn't that what happened to Jesus on the cross?” Jesus must have led them through those scripture passages.

Then, Jesus may have taken them to what we call, “Typology”. Typology are pictures in the Old Testament that somehow are a picture of what was going to happen, when Jesus came. Maybe He said to them, “Think about the first sin. Adam and Eve fell into sin, and right away, what happened? God covered them, their shame, with the skin of an animal. Right away. There was something, somebody who had to die in Adam and Eve's place, to cover up their shame. Didn't Jesus die to cover up shame?”

“In The Old Testament, when Moses led the people out of bondage in Egypt, didn't they go through The Red Sea? When they got through The Red Sea, they were delivered from the death the Egyptians were going to bring upon them. Didn't Jesus take you through 'The Red Sea of death', and deliver you into victory?”

“What about Jonah? Jonah was swallowed by a great fish. He was in that great fish for three days, and three nights, and then he came out alive. Didn't Jesus say He would be like Jonah, and come out of the earth after three days, and three nights, alive? Didn't that happen?”

“What about that bronze serpent that was lifted up on the pole? When the Children of Israel were bitten by little snakes that were poisonous and deadly, if they looked at that bronze serpent on the pole, they would live. Wasn't Jesus lifted up on the pole of the cross? Isn't it true that anybody who looks to Him will live?” Maybe Jesus took them through the names in The Old Testament. Maybe He said, “When Moses asked, 'Who should I say sent you?' God said, 'Tell them I Am sent you.'”

Then maybe, Jesus said to them, “Remember when Jesus said to the Pharisees, 'Before Abraham was, I Am'? Remember when Jesus said, 'I Am the resurrection.' 'I Am the Good Shepherd.' 'I Am the bread of life.' 'I Am the water of life.' 'I Am the gate.' 'I Am the door.'

As Jesus led them through scripture, their hearts were being anchored by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Faith comes from hearing the message,

and the message is heard through The Word of God.”

They later said, “Weren't our hearts burning within us, as He opened the scripture to us?”

Jesus began to show them that all scripture is God breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. He was showing them the Word of God is this solid, unshakable, sure foundation. It is true. It is powerful. It is effective. It was working in their hearts, and they were anchored through The Word.

That is the work of the church. The work of the church is to anchor hearts in the Word of God.

As it grew dark, and these men were about to go home, to Emmaus, Jesus acted as if He were going to go further. They said, “Abide with us, for the night is almost here.”

So, Jesus goes with them, sits down with them, and then the Bible says,

“...He took the bread,

blessed it,

broke it,

and began giving it to them.”

You cannot read that passage, without thinking about “What?”

The Lord's Supper, which says,

“Jesus took bread, blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them.”

It was then those two Emmaus disciples realized, “Jesus is here, with us! This is Jesus!” As He began to give them The Lord's Supper, The Sacrament, they recognized, “He is with us!”

Those are the same, two tools Jesus gives His Church.

       -The Word, in which our faith is anchored.

       -The Lord's Supper where we recognize Jesus is with us. Jesus, who died on the cross and rose from the dead, is with us.

Then, Jesus vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren't our hearts burning within us, when He opened the scriptures to us?”

When I was in about seventh, or eighth grade, my dad, one day, gave me a bookmark. I don't know where he got it, and I wish I still had it, today. It was three, black ribbons that would fit into a book. At the end of each of the ribbons there was a little, metal symbol. At the bottom of one of the ribbons was a cross, a little, metal cross. The next ribbon had little, metal anchor. The last ribbon had a little, metal heart. As he gave it to me, he said to me, “Here is a bookmark for you. I am going to explain those symbols. The cross stands for faith. The anchor stands for hope, and the heart stands for love. Mark, that cross that stands for faith. You believe in Jesus. You believe Jesus died for your sins. You believe Jesus forgives all of your sin. You believe Jesus rose from the dead. You believe He has the victory over sin, death, the devil, and Hell for you. That stands for faith. You believe that.”

Then he said, “That anchor stands for hope. Mark, knowing Jesus died for you sins, knowing He paid for your sins, knowing He rose from the dead, you can anchor in all of God's other promises to you. All of them! If He kept His greatest promise that your sins are paid for at the greatest price, Mark, He is going to keep all of His other promises. Anchor in them. Believe it, when He says, 'All things work together for good to those who love God.' Anchor in that. Anchor in it, when He says, 'He will never leave you. He will never forsake you.' Anchor in His promise, when He says, 'You are going to rise from the dead, someday.' Anchor in His promise, when He says, 'When you die, I will take you to Heaven.' That anchor stands for the hope we have, no matter what is happening in this life, no matter what may try to make us feel hopeless. We have all of the hope in the world, because we have a risen Savior, who we trust in.”

Then he said, “Thirdly, that heart stands for love. Mark, you know Jesus loves you dearly, and because of that, you can't help but love Him back. The way you show that, is by loving others.”

Look at what these two men did, once they recognized Jesus had risen from the dead. They stopped thinking about themselves, and they ran all of the way back to Jerusalem. That was a long ways. They ran all of the way back to Jerusalem, because they wanted to tell their brothers and sisters in Christ the great news! They had love in their hearts, and they wanted to lift up others with the Word of God.

You have that same love that Christ has created in your heart by faith. And so, as we go forward, as God's people, we have faith, trusting in Jesus. We have hope, the greatest hope in the world, anchored in the firm Word of God. And, we have love in our hearts. We show that by sharing Jesus with those who know Him, and with those who don't know Him.