Online Worship for Easter Four, Sunday April 25, 2021
Sermon for Easter Three (4/17/05) – Sunday April 25, 2021
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. 17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” 18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” 25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
Who suffered for our sins,
Who arose for our Justification,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
Whether you are interested or not, the 2021 Major League Baseball season has begun and there is currently hope for every team. We may assume that we know who will win and not win – but the matter is decided on the field – and you never know just what might happen. When the season begins, every team and its fans hope to have a successful year…
Now that doesn’t mean that our hopes won’t be dashed.
When October arrives, we may be disappointed because things didn’t turn out like we had hoped. We might even complain that it was a terrible waste of time.
What do we expect…it’s just a game, a distraction! Moreover, the plans and hopes of human beings very often end in disappointment.
The last two weeks we have thought about what the message of the Resurrection meant to those who first heard about the empty tomb. The Soldiers considered it a sensitive problem to be quietly reported. The Religious Leaders considered it a matter to be covered up and denied. The Women saw it as a message to be reported again and again. The Apostles – at first – considered it too good to be true.
In the minds of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus…things just hadn’t turned out as they had hoped at all. They had hoped that Jesus was the Chosen One of God, until he was arrested and executed.
Thus, from their point of view Jesus’ death had been a terrible waste.
In fact, we might say that their hopes died with Jesus. Even after hearing the report of the women, they didn’t stay in Jerusalem to check it out.
After all, who wants to be reminded of broken dreams and crushed hopes? So these two disciples left for Emmaus, and as they walked together they discussed all the things that had happened.
Unexpectedly…the One in whom they had once placed their hopes came up behind them and began walking with them. He became a traveling companion.
They unwittingly told Jesus what they thought of His Death and the first reports of His Resurrection. God the Holy Spirit allows us to listen in on their conversation with Jesus. We will hear from their own mouths what they thought about what had happened.
Was it all a terrible waste…or was it necessary?
Then, having heard their opinion we will listen as the Savior Himself tells us the meaning and necessity of His Resurrection.
May God the Holy Spirit bless us this morning that we may grow in our faith in Christ and the power of His Resurrection through these words. Amen.
Have you heard about the COVID-19 Virus? Have you heard about the different vaccines for the virus? Have you heard about the different police related shootings? Well, of course you have heard. In fact, if someone said, “Have you heard about COVID-19?” We might wonder what rock they had been living under! In our information age, we hear almost instantly of things that are happening a world away – and in our own back yards.
When ‘the stranger’ walking with the Emmaus Disciples asked what they were talking about…they wondered the same thing: “What rock has this guy been living under?” How could he not know about what happened?
The reply of the disciple named Cleopas revealed his surprise:
“Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.
Since this stranger seemed incredibly ignorant…they told Him about the things that had happened to Jesus of Nazareth. They told Him what they had thought about Him and what they now thought after His suffering and death.
While they might have been afraid to admit these things in the presence of the Jewish Leaders in Jerusalem…on the road walking away from the city they freely admitted that they believed Jesus was a prophet…powerful in word and deed. Truly that was beyond dispute for right thinking people…He did amazing things that only God could do in the presence of many witnesses.
While many were impressed by Jesus’ words and actions…the religious (Pharisees) and secular leaders (Sadducees) were not impressed. When their power over the people was threatened and Jesus revealed their sinful thoughts, they handed over a guilty sentence and delivered Him to be crucified.
We can see from their words that the Emmaus Disciples – considered Jesus’ Death to be a terrible waste.
Even today there are those who look at Jesus’ death and say: “Just think how many more good things Jesus could have done if He had just been less controversial. He could have healed many more infirmed people and fed thousands!”
In the view of many Jesus’ death is just a terrible waste.
Moreover, Jesus’ death changed their view of Jesus. It is obvious from their own words that Jesus’ death had crushed their hopes…
But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.
They were hoping…but now they were sure that Jesus just couldn’t be the Christ of God…because He was dead. How ignorant they were and yet how sure! Prophets died…but there was no possible way that God would allow the Christ to suffer and die in such a fashion!
How often don’t we figure that we know God’s Will merely because we think we know it? If those disciples had searched the Scriptures, they would have learned that the Prophets of God had foretold both the crucifixion and the glorious resurrection of Jesus! If only we would search for and seek God’s Will in His Word then we would be much more certain of God’s will in our lives.
For the Emmaus Disciples the report of the women was adding insult to injury…
Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”
What was the message of the Resurrection to the Emmaus disciples?
It was a disappointment and the message of the resurrection was an unnecessary adding insult to injury! The report of the women seemed to them an attempt to offer hope where there was none.
The Emmaus Disciples didn’t want to be comforted. They didn’t want to hope. They wanted to mope.
Do we sometimes act like Jesus is still dead? When we don’t think we can solve a problem at first glance to we despair of hope? Do we think that we have to solve our own problems in life?
It’s time to stop acting like the Savior is dead, like He won’t or can’t bless us from day to day. It’s time to start by coming to Him in prayer every morning and closing the day in His Name.
We have reason to be joyful as we go from day to day – we have a living Lord Jesus working for us even now. He speaks on our behalf with the Father. He is preparing a place for us in heaven. Whatever difficulties we face in the here and now; we have a real and certain future in Christ!
We join the Emmaus Disciples in being foolish when we by our words and actions live like Jesus is dead, unable to help us in the least. Jesus’ rebuke also applies to us when we mope about in life as if God’s Promises have no real meaning to us:
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
They were being foolish. They were slow to believe what the Almighty had promised would happen through the mouths of His own prophets. God had foretold through prophets like Isaiah that the Christ was to suffer and die to purchase the release of all mankind from the just condemnation of the law.
What was the message of the Resurrection to the Lord Jesus Himself?
It was a message announcing the completion of God’s plan to save sinners. It was the culmination and completion of a promise made by God in the Garden of Eden. Jesus wasn’t asking a question as much as making a statement.
YES…it was necessary that the Christ suffer in this way to enter into His glory. It was necessary if you or I were ever to see heaven.
Those disciples were the foolish ones, because they were slow to believe what the Prophets had spoken – they had spoken the very words of God! They ought to have seen in those words and in Jesus’ own words that Jesus’ death was necessary.
If we search the Scriptures diligently then we will also see clearly that Jesus’ death and resurrection was not an unnecessary disappointment but something necessary for our eternal comfort. It was necessary that the Christ suffer these things, complete the work of our redemption – and then enter into His glory.
Jesus’ Resurrection if part of His exaltation – it stands as yet another assurance that He has redeemed us to God.
Christ would not have descended into Hell to announce His Victory …had he not won.
Christ would not have arisen the 3rd Day…if His payment for sin was insufficient.
It was not a waste, not a shame, but fulfillment of God’s own promises made through Moses and the Prophets.
Jesus’ suffering and death were necessary to redeem you to God.
Jesus’ resurrection calls for joy and not doubt – for assures us that we have indeed been redeemed to God. Amen.