Sermon Audio & Transcript
Third Sunday Of Easter
Easter Makes Us Sure…
This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it, Alleluia. It is now the third week of Easter and do you still remember what to say if I say he is risen? Alleluia?You didn’t say it very loud, so let’s try it again. He is risen Alleluia! That sounded much better.
Wouldn’t you agree with me brothers and sisters that one of the dark marks on our time is its doubt, it’s skepticism? Just to name a few examples, if you go to a public university and study anything about the Bible as literature, you will be taught that the Bible is a bunch of myths. That the Bible is a bunch of fables. That Jesus may be, was or was not a historical person, but certainly was not anything like he’s presented in the gospel accounts. If you are active on Facebook and if you attempt to witness your Christian faith on Facebook or any of the social media, you have probably met this head on and firsthand if you make a statement that Christianity is true. Especially when it’s on one of the controversial topics with which our society, and our culture, and even our legal system disagree with the Bible. Then you will certainly hear from many people that you are ignorant, stupid, bigoted, and you will be called certain kinds of names simply because you believe what the Bible says.
Our time seems to be characterized by skepticism, and in fact, we’ve kind of even move beyond skepticism and beyond doubt to what is now called–and it we’re almost moving beyond postmodernism–to I can’t figure out what’s next after the thing that comes after modern times, but if you go to steps in the future they say that we are reaching another kind of philosophy. But postmodernism is that attitude that there is no absolute truth. That everything is relative. That whatever is true for me well that’s good for me, and I’m welcome to believe it, but don’t you dare judge somebody else. Don’t you dare tell anybody else that he or she is wrong? And because of this mentality, there is no certainty. Why am I here? The postmodern would say, who knows and who really cares, but I think that is something that we need to wrestle with isn’t it?
1. That There Is A Person, Who Is Concerned About Us.
Why am I here? What’s my purpose? If there is a purpose, does my life meaning? Have I fulfilled my meaning? Am I my successful? Who gets to define success? If there is a God will I get to meet him someday, or her, or it or them? Those are important questions. What will it be like for me the day after I breathe my last on this earth? Will there just be nothing? Will I have happiness or will I go to a gloomy place of half-existence? Will I suffer? You agree with me that those are important questions? They have meaning for us, and if there is any one of those questions that you are not so sure about, I invite you to walk with me today on a road. It’s about 7 miles long this road between Jerusalem and Emmaus. On your bulletin cover, this road is pictured along with two disciples and Jesus Christ walking with them. When our text opens up, it says that two of them were not told who they were accepted one of them is named Cleopus. The apostle Paul mentions Cleopus, that could be the same person in one of his letters. We don’t know who the other one is. Some have speculated maybe it’s Saint Luke because the writer of the gospel may be included himself unnamed in this account. In the picture, it looks as if they’re both men. They are all of equal height with Jesus, aren’t they? But maybe, it was Mrs. Cleopus. Maybe Cleopus and his wife were the two disciples who were returning from Jerusalem that afternoon of Easter Sunday. How were they walking along? They were sad. They were dejected. If you are walking in their sandals, your face was downcast. As you walk in their sandals, you are filled with dread because everything that you hope for now seems all over and done. The one that you hoped would be the redemption of Israel. The one that you hoped would be your savior. You think lies dead in a grave. And in fact, your confusion is added to by this. That some of the crazy disciples back home have actually said that his body is gone and they had a vision of angels. That said that he was risen. Confusing, confusing times these are. Confusing and sad.
As they sat out on the journey. Again, this 7 mile journey. The way I kind of gauge it myself is from church to my house if I walk along the streets it’s 2 1/4 miles. And it takes me 40 minutes to walk that 2 1/4 miles. So some very simple math would tell us that it’s about a three-hour walk. More or less, maybe stop for some breaks. A three hour walk to go those 7 miles. Maybe, closer to two. You can get a lot of words in two hours. And they were talking as they walked along. I suppose we could imagine some of what they were talking about. Maybe, they were getting a little bit animated. Maybe, they were having a discussion that was borderline an argument. But Jesus was dead. We saw them take him down from the cross. Yes, but the women said he was alive. Yes, but the guards were posted at the tomb to make sure that nobody would steal his body. Yes, but, there was all of these yes, but’s. There was no certainty. And suddenly, we don’t know if he was walking, and suddenly he was with them, or maybe he appeared just behind them and startled them. There was Jesus. We are cued in that this is Jesus, but the two disciples, says they were kept from recognizing him. To them, he was just another traveler. And he walked up to them, and he said what are you talking about? That’s what you ask if you want to join in a conversation, right? You say, what are you?, as if he didn’t know? Jesus knows all things. But he wants them to spill the beans. He wants them; he wants them to engage with him. What is it that you’re talking about as you’re walking along? It sounds very interesting. What are you only a visitor? Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem that hasn’t heard about all these things? What things?, he asked. I kind of picture Jesus getting a little bit of a hint of a grin on his face, as he asks what things. He’s leading them right in. Right there, they are going to take the bait. What things? But almost exasperated they’re going to say, about Jesus of Nazareth. 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. Did you notice the tense of that verb? We had hoped. Past tense. They did not hope anymore. They had staked their lives, their reputations on this man. They had hung their hopes on him. They had hoped. But a dead Savior, a dead prophet is no good to them anymore. But Easter has a way of making us sure, that there is a person who is concerned about us. We capitalize that word P. That word Person. Capital P. Jesus is concerned about us. Now imagine Jesus has just died on the cross. By our way of counting two days before. It’s the third day. So the Jewish accounting says it’s the third day. Two days before Jesus died on the cross and remember what he said as he was on the cross to his mother. He said John is going to take care of you. And John, he said, take care of my mother. Don’t you think that one of the first things that Jesus would do it one of his priorities would be to go see his mother? Make sure that she’s okay. Make sure that hey mom I’m still alive don’t worry about me. Those of you who are sons and daughters and have mothers still alive please please remember to call her and make sure that she knows you’re okay. Jesus sought out these two disciples because they obviously being dejected being at the end of their rope and their hope needed it. Jesus comes to us today too. He’s come to us in the word. And in the sacrament. He has come to us to assure us that he cares about us. He comes to spend time with us. He says wherever two or three are gathered together in my name there am I with them. And if you count around the room we have three times three here this evening. So Jesus is certainly with us now. He’s comforting us with his presence. He’s assuring us that he is not dead but is alive. And just as he appeared to his two disciples on this road to Emmaus, so he is with us all of our lives. And we will dwell in his house forever. As they express their shattered hopes and dreams, the two Emmaus disciples were confused. It did. Did we not find Jesus is gone? I wonder how long Jesus allowed the silence to linger in the air before he gently chastised them. You get that, a gentle rebuke? Usually, rebukes sound very sharp. So you say them softly. And kids will still think that you’re yelling even if it’s soft.
2. That There Is A Pardon That Has Been Earned For Us
How foolish you are and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Messiah 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. So as Jesus is walking along, he is expounding to them the Old Testament Scriptures. Probably beginning with the word that God spoke to the devil in the presence of Adam and Eve in the garden. 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 heel. See the son of God, the Messiah had to suffer the heel strike. But he would be victorious in the end crushing the head of that ancient serpent. Or the words of Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 52 – 53, surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows yet we considered him stricken by God smitten and afflicted. All we like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. By his wounds, we are healed. Jesus was speaking to them about what God had planned from all eternity. In order to carry out their salvation and bring them home to heaven. And the disciples, finally got it. They expressed after Jesus revealed himself to them, that their hearts were burning within them. W ere not our hearts burning within us as we heard him speaking and opening the Scriptures to us. The disciples were dejected about more than just a wasted three year period of time. They were upset about more than just being disappointed. They were they were scared for the same reason that the apostle Paul said that we should be scared. If Jesus Christ has not been raised, then we are still in our sins. Then our faith is futile. If Jesus had not been raised, then what we’re doing here today is a waste of time and energy, and we should be doing something else. Like maybe playing with Legos. If Jesus is not raised from the dead, then this house of God, this place of worship is a waste of time and money and space, and we ought to tear it down. Maybe build a skate park.
If Jesus has not been raised, then we are still in our sins, and the best that we can hope for is that death is the end of our existence. If Jesus has not been raised however and there is an afterlife, then still have to fear an angry God. We still have to consider that our sins have separated us from someone who is holy, and our consciences testify that there is someone to whom we are accountable. In our consciences, unless we work really hard to dull them, testify that that there is something. Jesus tells us what that something is. It is not that we need to expend all of our energy to try to gain God’s favor. It is this that there is a pardon that has been earned for us. See Jesus crushing the head of the devil has earned the victory for us. The devil can no longer pester us, and when the devil rears its ugly head to try to convict you of wrongdoing, you can say yes I have done wrong, but I’ve got a Savior who paid the penalty. I’ve got an advocate who prays for me at the father’s side. I got someone who dwells within my heart and tells me that he is with me always. Tell the devil to go back to where he belongs.He can’t harm you the deed is done. What Jesus accomplished on the cross has paid for your sins. What will life be like on the day after you breathe your last? On the other side of the cemetery? Well, the wonderful thing is that we are going to see Jesus.
3. That There Is A Place Prepared For Us.
As we rejoin our narrative, it says that the two disciples arrived at their home in Emmaus. And Jesus acted as if he were going to walk on farther. That is, is that not a beautiful touch? Jesus does not barge into their home and say, “let me in!” He is not going to a barge into our lives either. He wants to be invited. So the disciples say, “you know it is getting late. The day is nearly over why don’t you stay with us.” Jesus gladly accepted their offer he came into to have dinner. And as they sat down at the dinner table they pulled their chairs up together, Jesus right there between them. And Jesus took the bread off the table, and he broke it and gave thanks. Now, who normally would take the bread and break it and pass it out and give thanks for the bread? In our time in Christian homes, it’s still the same way as it was in ancient times. That’s the job for the head of the household. The head of the family will pray, and serve, and so Jesus took the place at the head of the table and played host at the meal. And immediately the disciples had their aha moment. They recognized him and then he disappeared. He had done what he had come to do. He had convinced them that he was truly alive. When he broke the bread, they remembered Jesus has done this before. They remembered how he fed a multitude on two different occasions with just I handful of bread and fish. They remembered how three nights before Jesus had broken bread and said to them this is my body. They remembered. They were filled with joy because they wanted to dwell in his house forever. Jesus, if he has truly risen from the dead, is able to keep his promises to you and me. I He said, “if I go, I will prepare a place for you so that you also may be where I am. In my father’s house are many rooms.” There’s room for all and I’m going to prepare a place. Jesus is there and we’re going to be there too There’s a place for us.
4. That There Is A Power Released In Our Lives.
And Easter makes us sure of something else as well. Easter makes us sure that there is power there for us. There is power released in our lives. As soon as Jesus disappeared from the disciple’s table, I don’t know if they finished eating, probably not. They had a journey ahead of them. They probably left the food there where it was because they were going to walk 7 miles back to Jerusalem. They were so excited to have this news, and it was dark too. Remember they had encouraged Jesus, please stay with us, it’s nearly dark your travel at dark, it’s dangerous. But these two disciples didn’t care about the danger, they cared only about one thing, that their Lord Jesus was a living Savior, and they had to tell his disciples. I hope that this message of Easter empowers you and me. Empowers us to share our faith. Whether that means on Facebook. Whether that means door-to-door. I think for most of us probably not, but it probably means for most of us is to speak the word of salvation to our family and close friends. Please, not just with church people. Please talk to people that are in your life that don’t know Jesus. Let them know about the wonderful hope that you have. In fact, even though there might be someone in your life that will make fun of you for it, I think that there will be many more people in your life that will appreciate that you care enough to share your Lord and Savior with them and will even thank you for inviting them to church. And some of them will take you up on that invitation. Now that you know that Jesus has risen you’ve got power in your lives and in your hearts. And when you speak that gospel message you know that Jesus is right there behind you, pushing you, and backing you up. If they listen to you Jesus says, they have listened to me. Yes,
Easter makes us sure.
Third Sunday Of Easter
- That there is a Person who is concerned about us,
- That there is a pardon that has been earned for us,
- That there is a place prepared for us,
- That there is a Power released in our lives.
SERMON TEXT: Luke 24: 13-35
See Gospel Lesson Below
FIRST LESSON: Acts Acts 24:10-21
When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
“After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin—unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’”
SECOND LESSON: 1 Peter 1:17-21
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
VERSE OF THE DAY: Luke 24:32
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. Our hearts were burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us.
GOSPEL: Luke 24:13-35
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 the only one visiting Jerusalem who does 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 they did not see Jesus.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah 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 continued on 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 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.