SERMON OF THE WEEK
April 28, 2013
Next Sunday is the fourth Sunday after Easter. Gospel reading for Sundaay is from St. Luke 24:13-35.
Topic: Encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmavos.
Gospel Reading: (St. Luke 24:13-35)
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmavos,about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.
18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one
visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened
there in these days?”
19 “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.
20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to
death, and they crucified him;
21 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.
22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb
early this morning
23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had
seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.
24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just
as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe
all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then
enter his glory?”
27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained
to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus
continued on as if he were going farther.
29 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.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks,
broke it and began to give it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and
he disappeared from their sight.
32 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?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found
the Eleven and those with them, assembled together
34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus
was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Apostle Cleopas and his companion were walking from Jerusalem back to
their Emmavus home, a seven mile journey, on the day of resurrection
of Jesus. The two had heard Jesus' tomb was found empty earlier
that day. The master they had revered, loved and followed had been
horribly put to death by Crucifixion. Only a week earlier, on Palm
Sunday, the disciple's hopes had risen when the excited crowds had hailed Jesus as the deliverer from the tyranny of the Roman atrocities, but now he lay dead in a sealed tomb. Their hopes were slashed and their dream was over.
The followers of Jesus became leaderless and the mission was falling apart. Cleopas and his companion were already on their way home walking to Emmavos, some seven miles distance from Jerusalem. The report they heard that the tomb was empty did nothing to change their thinking. It only confused them. The entire world had come apart for them. These men had erected a wall of hopelessness around them. What was once hope is now gone for ever.
As the 'Emmavus two' made the way to their destinations, a stranger walked alongside them. It was the risen Christ, but somehow the deisciples didn't recognize the stranger. The stranger asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They poured out their story to the stranger who was willing to listen.
The disciples expressed surprise at even being asked that question. "Aren't you the only ones living in Jerusalem who didn't know the things that happened in Jerusalem?"
The stranger continued patiently and innocently asked, "What things?". "About Jesus of Nazareth", they eagerly replied. Then the Emmavus bound two told the stranger that this Jesus was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people." Their experience with Jesus was in the past, and they thought they were alone.
Jesus then gave them a lesson on the Old Testament revelation that the son of man will have to suffer and would resurrect. He told them that all of the Old Testament spoke of him. Ought not the Christ have suffered these things and enter into his glory? Here was proof that Jesus had fulfilled that which had been prophesied and proved that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
The two hour journey must have seemed like five minutes for the travelers because of this absorbing conversation. In an instant they knew it was Jesus. Their hearts burned within them while Jesus talked and opened the scripture verses to them. As they approached the village of Emmavos, Jesus had acted as if he were going further. And in an instant he was gone.
The Emmavus two stood in amazement and great joy. without wasting any time they returned immediately to Jerusalem and found the eleven assembled there. They told the eleven what had happened on
the way to Emmavos.
This sort of heart burning experience is what we all need to meet
our risen Lord. God deeply wants to walk with us closely so that he can fulfill his plans for our lives. As it was a life changing experience for the Emmavus two, we must allow Jesus to enlighten our understanding of him and take us into a new level in our spiritual experience. Life for us will then never be the same again.
Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil