“It Is Finished, but It Is Not Over”
April 18, 2020
IT IS FINISHED, BUT IT IS NOT OVER
It has always interested me that Jesus walked the earth for 40 days after His resurrection. After He hung on the cross, after He had lain cold and dead in the tomb, He walked around the area of Jerusalem and was seen by hundreds of people. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:3-5)
1:5 is one verse we may be seeing again in the near, I hope near, future when we can gather again in our Sanctuary. As we are walking through this season of quarantine, I believe you can see, realize how the Holy Spirit has kept the Church alive, even together, in our separation. It has worked the same way churches spread in the restrictive countries. From time-to-time I have likened it to a grass fire. You find a small grass fire in dry grass and you try to stomp it out. With each stomp sparks and flames get scattered around and more little fires flash up. As we are separated in our Worship, we can continue grow stronger, IF we are intentional in our attempts to stay connected. Enough for this rabbit trail, let’s get back to Jesus walking around after His Crucifixion.
On the evening of His Resurrection Jesus walked into the upper room and was seen by His Disciples and friends, except for Thomas. The next Sunday evening He appeared again to them all, plus Thomas.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:19-31)
Look at that last verse, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus is talking about us. We are the ones who believe yet haven’t actually seen Jesus in the flesh. At least, not yet. Think about it, in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed for you before His Crucifixion. Now here, after His Crucifixion, Jesus is talking about us again. He is well aware of that we will not only be reading these inspired Word, but we will be believing in Him.
Later that afternoon on the first Easter Jesus was walking on the road to Emmaus with two friends, to whom He gave a Sunday school lesson. (Luke 24:13-32)
On another day He was walking along the beach and had breakfast with His friends and restored Peter. (John 21:1-19)
Today let’s look at the story of the two men walking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus joined then in their walk and revealed some wonderful insights to them through a complete Sunday school lesson.
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, 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 only a visitor to Jerusalem and do 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 him they did not see.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ 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 acted 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?” (Luke 24:1-14)
This story begins on Easter afternoon. Two men were walking on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were talking about the events of the weekend. And there was a lot to talk about.
They were well aware of the crucifixion and the resurrection but were still confused about all that was going on. As they walked along and talked, Jesus joined them. Where did He come from? What were His intentions? We will see a little later on that they had been at least friends of the followers of Christ if not followers themselves.
Can you imagine walking down the sidewalk in Bostwick and Jesus joins your stroll? As He joined them, He didn’t let them realize who He was. Remember at the tomb that morning, Mary didn’t recognize Jesus until He spoke her name.
Luke 24:17 – Jesus asked them what they were talking about and they were surprised. It stopped them in their tracks. How could someone be walking from Jerusalem and not know what had happened in the past few days?
So, they filled Him in, and they had the story pretty straight. Even down to the part where the Chief Priest and other religious leaders were responsible for handing Jesus over to be crucified. They also knew that the women had first found the empty tomb and didn’t know what happened to the body.
Now here is something a lot of people miss in the story. 24:23 tells us that when the women returned “They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive.” So, they were among the people there in the room when the women returned from the tomb. As I said before they were at least friends if not followers of Christ as were all the others in the room.
Jesus knew they might have known but, didn’t understand the full story so He started His Sunday school lesson. Beginning with Moses He talked through all the Scripture that concerned His life and everything that was going on. They had obviously been walking for some time because it’s a seven-mile trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus; probably a 3-hour walk.
As they approached Emmaus, they asked Jesus to stay with them for the night. This would have been according to custom at that time. As they went in and prepared the meal, Jesus took the bread and broke it and gave it to them. I think it is not insignificant that they recognized Him at that moment. As He broke the bread their eyes were opened, the same way Mary’s were at the tomb when Jesus called her name. They recognized Him and then He left them. His work in this place was finished.
On those Sundays when we gather around our altar to receive the Bread and the Cup, pray that Jesus opens your eyes. Pray that, like the men on the road to Emmaus, you see and recognize the true Jesus, your Lord and Savior.
Bostwick UMC 4/19/20
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