Online Worship for Easter Five, Sunday May 15, 2022
Sermon for Easter Five – Sunday May 15, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you. Amen.
Luke 24:30-35 ESV
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. **
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Who we thank for our meals uneaten,
Who we see in the meal of His Supper,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
I sincerely hope that I’m not the only one. So, from time to time I lose something, I misplace it. It’s usually an important item like my wallet or phone or the keys to the car.
Naturally, I’m in a big hurry when I realize I can’t leave without the item. After checking the most logical places, I just can’t find it and my anxiety grows. I twice check the place that I ‘remember’ putting it...but it’s not there. I try to retrace my steps from the previous day. I check jacket pockets and the pockets of dirty clothing. I check my desk and dresser. I ask my wife if she’s seen it and she answers my question with another question: “When was the last time you had it?”
By this time, I have no idea and I’m starting to question my own sanity. Then suddenly my search ends and I find the item sitting out in plain sight. On the one hand I’m relieved, on the other I’m concerned because it was right there and I didn’t see it. Well, maybe it’s time to see the eye-doctor again.
I wonder how the two disciples on the way to Emmaus felt afterward.
They had spent hours walking and talking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It wasn’t as short of a trip as the walk to Bethany; because the village of Emmaus lay approximately 60 stadia or around 7 miles from Jerusalem (according to Luke’s Gospel). Now today the average person can walk a mile in about 15-20 minutes on flat ground. If Emmaus lay at the same altitude as Jerusalem and the road were flat, it would have taken 2 ½ or 3 hours if the walkers didn’t stop.
We can’t be sure exactly where the ancient village of Emmaus was located (there are 3-4 suggestions today) but we can be certain that the trip wasn’t on flat ground. We don’t know when, but at some point, in their journey, Jesus came upon them and walked with them. He was right there before them, but they didn’t recognize him with their eyes or with their ears.
I don’t feel so bad about not seeing my wallet in plain sight...except that the Gospel of Luke reveals there was a good reason that they didn’t recognize Him. Jesus’ identity was hidden from them, because –
‘...their eyes were restrained (held back, hindered, prevented), so that they did not know Him.”
He was right there in front of them and they didn’t recognize Him...but they did come to see Him clearly from the Scriptures. When the did finally recognize that the man they thought was a stranger...was the Living Jesus, they got up that very hour and returned the 7 miles to Jerusalem.
This morning we collect the fourth thing left behind – an uneaten meal. It’s the first item that can be truly called ‘a leftover.’ We seek to learn from this uneaten meal that while we may skip a meal on occasion and not suffer; we should never take a pass on a spiritual meal that feeds our souls and unites us more closely to Jesus.
May God the Holy Spirit bless our meditation upon these words. “Sanctify us by your truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.”
We really don’t know if the two Emmaus disciples prepared the meal or obtained it along the way. Honestly, we don’t even know what all they prepared to eat when the stranger Jesus reclined at table with them upon reaching the village. The only thing that we know was to be part of the meal was bread, perhaps even unleavened bread.
It was likely an evening meal, what we might call supper. It was toward the end of the day, because when the disciples invited the stranger to join them, they said (Luke 24:29, ESV):
“Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.”
When we sit down for a meal, we often begin with a prayer. The prayer may vary from home to home, but many of us use the familiar words found in Psalm 106, 107,118 and 136 –
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.”
It was also common among the Jews to ‘give thanks to the LORD’ before eating a meal. I don’t know how common it was for the host to defer to the guest to open with prayer, but at Emmaus the stranger took up the bread set before them and blessed God for providing it and then broke it and gave it to them.
It was only then that they recognized the one who had been nourishing them all day long –
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
It was when Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it...that their eyes were opened...and they were allowed to recognize Him visibly. They only saw him with their eyes for a moment and then he vanished from their sight. He became invisible to them.
So, to this very day, when we sit down to eat, we make a point of recognizing Jesus. We thank Him for the meal we are about to consume and we ask that He use it to benefit our bodies and enable us to carry out our tasks. We make a point of asking our unseen visitor to be the guest of honor at every meal, saying:
“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest; let these gifts to us be blessed.”
When we come to His Table to receive that spiritual meal that benefits our faith in Him, we also recognize his presence. We receive unleavened bread and grape wine from the hand of the minister, but it is Jesus who serves us in a miraculous fashion with His own body and blood. He doesn’t do this to strengthen our bodies, but our confidence in His Sacrifice. He speaks to us in the words repeated by the minister (1 Corinthians 11:24b, 25b):
“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
We recognize that Jesus is present with us because He tells us in His Word (Matthew 18:20, ESV):
20 For where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I among them.”
While the Emmaus Disciples did not visibly recognize Jesus on the road from Jerusalem...they did for perhaps the first time...come to see the Messiah clearly from the Scriptures. It was the Stranger who pointed out that the Old Testament Scriptures had foretold that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise again. He had rebuked them for not seeing this clearly because God had revealed it to them in His Word!
The very thing that they believed disqualified Jesus from being the Messiah actually proved that He really was! The Stranger didn’t only say it...He proved it from the Scriptures of the Prophets that they themselves knew. The Savior – already on the road – nourished and fed their starving faith (Luke 24:25-27):
25 ...he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
They came to see along the road that Jesus’ suffering and death and resurrection were all foretold beforehand by our gracious God. What Peter declared would never happen (Matthew 16:22-23 and none of them understood (Luke 24:19-24) happened just as the Spirit of God said it would.
The Scriptures had an effect on them. It changed their hearts and their thinking. When they reached the village of Emmaus, they constrained Him (they urged him strongly) to stay with them. They wanted more of this instruction. They wanted to see more clearly the truth. The effect did not depart when Jesus suddenly disappeared. They admitted that their hearts had been set on fire.
For (Luke 24:32):
32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
In understanding the Scriptures, they came to have hope and joy. He had opened their understanding and they came to see him clearly before they ever recognized Him as the Living Jesus.
This kind of thing still happens today. When we carefully study God’s Word, we find that our hope and joy grows and our confidence in Jesus’ promises grows stronger. This is the very reason why during much of the year set aside an hour on Wednesday and on Sunday after worship to study God’s Word. We do not gather for Bible Study to obtain a gold star or brownie points with Jesus. We do it to grow in faith and in the knowledge of our salvation. Bible Study isn’t for those who know all the answers...but for those who seek to know the Savior better and grow closer to Him.
There is hope and joy in the careful study of the Scriptures and I urge you do to so whenever you have opportunity.
Which finally brings us this week to the thing left behind...It is an Uneaten Meal. We don’t know that they left the uneaten meal sitting on the table....but we do know that they left quickly and returned the 7 miles to Jerusalem to tell the rest that it was all true.
33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. **
The disciples had begun the day in hopeless depression. Then by the end of the day they found renewed hope and boundless joy. They believed from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah and that He was most certainly alive.
I’d like to think that they left the food on the table and ran out the door! I admit it – Leftovers aren’t my favorite. On the other hand, I’m not in favor of wasting food God has blessed me with.
But you know what? We can miss a meal now and then and our bodies won’t suffer. I don’t have to go back for a second helping...even if it tastes great. Food for the body...is important; but just not as important as food for the soul. The Emmaus Disciples were well fed on the day Christ arose even if they only had a bite of bread.
As Jesus Himself said (Matthew 4:4):
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
It is in the Scriptures that we see Jesus clearest – until heaven. Television and imagination are only reliable when the agree completely with the Word of God.
So, the next time you sit down for a meal...before you pray take a moment to thank our gracious God for giving us His Word and the means to nourish our souls. When you have eaten your fill and the leftovers are put away...open your Bible and feed your soul with the Bread of Life.
Feed Thy children, God most holy, Comfort sinners poor and lowly’
O Thou Bread of Life from heaven, Bless the food Thou here has given!
As these gifts the body nourish, May our souls in graces flourish
Till with saints in heav’nly splendor At Thy feast due thanks we render.