There is a print of this famous painting of the Road to Emmaus in the Narthex at MLLC in Carmine.
Bible Readings and Devotion for April 13 and 14, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for April 13 and 14, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel is packed with powerful and amazing events and experiences in the new life of the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Let’s look briefly at the various things which happen in this section.
The Resurrection of Jesus
The rising of Jesus from the dead occurred in the early morning on the first day of the week. The Jewish calendar week begins on Sunday. So, the weekend of our culture is the end of one week and the beginning of the next week.
What we have in Luke shows just the discovery of the empty tomb and the visit by the angels. The women have not yet seen Jesus. They go back to where the disciples are hiding and tell them, but they disciples don’t believe it at first. They see it as an “idle tale.” Even so, St. Peter runs to the tomb and verifies the announcement of the women.
There is a wonderful question by the angels in this scene. “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” they ask. They go on to remind the women that Jesus had promised this rising from the dead long before his arrest and crucifixion. They are not in trouble for misunderstanding. Rather, this visit is a gift of love and faith for them to get back on track with the message of Jesus. It is as if the angels are saying, “So, in this time of confusion and sadness at the death of Jesus, things are hard. But there is wonderful news. Remember the promises of your leader? These are all coming true for you and the world. He is alive, just as he promised. Praise the Lord!”
The Walk to Emmaus
This is one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible. We have this scene in which two people witness the living and resurrected Jesus while traveling. This happened on the evening following Jesus’ rising from the dead. At first they do not recognize this man walking with them as the Lord Jesus. At least in part, they couldn’t believe that Jesus was truly alive again. We know it is Jesus, but they are still not fully aware of who this is.
While on the road they discuss with the mysterious traveler, Jesus, about all that has happened along the way. He begins to explain how the ministry of Jesus is a grand fulfillment of the promises of God in the Hebrew scriptures. That would be an amazing Bible study on which to sit in.
In the end Jesus shows that he is the traveler when he breaks bread, that is offers the Holy Communion to the two traveling disciples. We still get to know Jesus is with us in the bread and wine when we break the bread in this beautiful sacrament.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
Two things I want to point out regarding this encounter. The first is his announcement of “peace be with you.” This is a powerful word of God which brings just what he says, Peace. We continue to bring the loving peace of God to each other. That word to each other is a strong announcement to one another in our life together. We share this peace in worship, but that is not the only context for announcing this message. Whenever and wherever another person needs the loving peace of Jesus in his or her life is a good time to announce this truth. It may be presented in these exact words of Jesus, or in some other way which brings assurance and peace to the other person.
The second is that he gives proof that his is truly raised from the dead. He gives them proof of his bodily resurrection from the dead. This matters immensely. His action of showing that he is a real, living body shows that he is not what his opponents of all times often say. Some assert that he was a ghost, but a ghost can’t eat. Some assert that the resurrection is simply the idea of warm feelings and inspiration based on the loving actions of Jesus. It is asserted that it was an exciting time, and people wanted to see him alive, so they made up a story that he was raised from the dead. Inspiration, excitement, and love don’t eat food. It has been asserted that it was another person who did these things, but he connects with them as his fully real self, just as his death was a true death of Jesus himself.
The Ascension of Jesus
At some point after the other events Jesus blesses his disciples and then Ascends out of their sight. As written in in this exact context it is unclear of when this happens. Some wonder if Luke suggests that this happens on the day of the Resurrection. He gives no note of time passing between the visit with the disciples and this event.
To clarify the timing, we look to St. Luke’s second book in this two-volume set, the Acts of the Apostles. We see in Acts 1:3, where Luke writes, “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” To see the whole context for this passage, see Acts 1:1-11.
The Ascension was necessary for the Good News, the Gospel message, to be brought to the ends of the earth. It was necessary so that the work, teachings, and ministry of Jesus could be shared and built up in locations anywhere people can gather. This is brought by the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the ministry of teachers, leaders, pastors, and all Christians. We are beneficiaries of this wonderful gift of Jesus to us. Jesus leaves us in one sense, yet he is with us in another sense. He is not walking among us as he did in his time of ministry, but he is with us in Word (in all its senses and ways), Sacraments (Baptism and Communion), the Holy Spirit, our fellowship, and in those who we serve.
There is a great deal going on in this chapter. It brings Luke’s first volume to a close, and invites us into his second volume, the Acts of the Apostles. On Sundays in this Season of the Resurrection our first readings are always from this dramatic account of the early church.
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread, open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.