The feast continues! We celebrate the feast of Jesus dying and rising to new life, never to die again, for seven Sundays! On this third Sunday of Easter, the Gospel again takes place in the afternoon of the very day that Jesus rises from the dead, full of the new life of God.
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
Two of Jesus' disciples walk away from Jerusalem, the great holy city, the city where Jesus died but now is Risen to new life. Why do they walk away? Do they not want to stay and see Jesus? They are going the wrong way. Perhaps they are they lost.
When the disciples are lost, what does Jesus do?
Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
When the disciples are lost, Jesus finds them.
The Good Shepherd
always finds his sheep.
Jesus walks with them, but they do not know it is him. We wonder why.
Maybe they are still lost.
When the disciples are still lost and do not know him, Jesus asks,
“What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”
Then the disciples do something interesting.
They stood still, looking sad.
They stop walking. They become still.
We thought last week about being still.
"Be still and know that I am God."
The disciples are still, but they do not know.
They look sad because they do not know that Jesus is Risen. They do not know that Jesus is with them.
But they stand still. We can tell that they are ready to listen.
When they stand still, ready to listen, Jesus speaks.
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
He talks to them about what is written in the Holy Bible. He helps them to understand what it means. They like to hear him speak. Later they say,
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
When Jesus speaks, their hearts burn inside them. As they listen to the Word of God, their hearts burn. What is a burning heart?
Could it be excitement building in our chest?
Could it be the feeling that something is about to happen?
Certainly, it is deep, deep joy.
When we listen to the Word of God, do we sometimes feel our heart burning within us?
The disciples do not want this burning to end. When it looks like Jesus might leave, they say,
“Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So Jesus went in to stay with them.
They sit down to share a meal together and still they do not know it is Jesus.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
He takes the bread.
He blesses the bread.
He breaks the bread.
And he gives them the bread.
We have heard Jesus do this before.
Remember the night before Jesus dies, when he shares the Passover meal with his friends, and he says those words that had never been said before?
Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’
Before he dies, he gives himself to his friends in the bread.
Now, after he is Risen, he gives himself to them in the bread again.
And what happens?
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him
Now they know him!
Then Jesus vanishes. He has made it clear that now there is a new way for him to be with his people.
What has he shown us?
When his friends are lost and sad, Jesus finds them.
When his friends are still, Jesus speaks to them. Their hearts burn as they listen to him in the Word of God.
When his friends want him to stay, Jesus gives himself to them in the bread that is holy.
He knows them. And now they know him, too.
I am the good shepherd
I know my own and my own know me (John 10:14).
We have to wonder then, when we are sad, does Jesus find us?
When we are still, does Jesus speak to us?
When we want him to stay, does he give himself to us in the bread that is holy?
I know my own,
We have to wonder.