He is Risen Indeed! While we continue to grapple with the news surrounding COVID 19, the absolute truth of the Gospel resonates! Because of the Gospel, Christ’s tomb is empty. Because of the Gospel, death is swallowed up in victory. Because of the Gospel, there is strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Because we serve a living Savior, the cross is not the end of Jesus’ story--it is the glorious beginning. HE LIVES!
As we strive, as a society, to communicate well remotely, to patiently work through another day in the confines of our homes, it’s wise to remember that learning is always a difficult process. It requires stretching, growing, and pushing past discomfort. Learning takes time, effort, industry, commitment, vision, and perseverance. We have to accept new information, make connections, and work to connect the dots. Sometimes we just do not get it. Luke 24: 13-32 records a fascinating story about two students who did not get it either. These men are making their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, hiking and talking through the heartbreaking events of the past few days. Suddenly, a stranger joins them on the road, easing into their conversation. The men are stunned by their companion’s naivete! He does not seem to understand what has just happened in Jerusalem. Jesus of Nazareth, the one they believed was the Messiah, the new King of Israel, was crucified! Then, the sad, strange situation became even more complex. As the Amplified Bible records, “And moreover, some women of our company astounded us and drove us out of our senses. They were at the tomb early in the morning, but they did not find His body; and they returned saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive!” (Luke 24: 22-23). Every teacher knows there are times a lesson must be retaught. Clearly, these two did not understand. Jesus says, “Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that Christ (the Messiah) should suffer all these things before entering into His glory, majesty and splendor?” (Luke 24: 26). Jesus, right there on the road, reiterates the Biblical truth about the Messiah, beginning with Moses and working through the prophets. Psalm 16 and Isaiah 53 were probably part of the lecture, as Jesus underscored the plan of redemption and reconciliation God promised. Death for sin was part of that plan, but the plan is fulfilled by resurrected LIFE. Jesus’ students, unaware of who they are speaking to, insist he join them for dinner. As Jesus prays over the meal, their eyes are opened! He taught them the predictions about Himself! He is the Messiah--and is alive! At this moment of recognition, Jesus vanishes. As they work through their amazement, they arrive at a beautiful truth; “And they said to one another, were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened and explained to us the sense of the Scriptures?” (Luke 24: 32). Their hearts burned because, somewhere in the deep corners of their soul, they grasped the truth of the resurrection. Hard circumstances, stressors, and their own misperceptions made it difficult to understand horizontally. Yet, vertically, something made their hearts burn. Jesus was ALIVE. When does my heart burn? When I operate as if death is victorious. When I fear the future instead of faithfully walking through the present. When I cannot see a way through, so I decide there is no way. When I allow anxious thoughts to cycle, instead of praying about them, finding appropriate truth in God’s Word, and walking through them with the Body of Christ. When I see my problems in terms of my abilities, instead of God’s sovereignty. When I do not remember the peace of Christ passes my understanding. When I know Jesus is alive, but I act like the tomb is still full.. Jesus said these two students on the road to Emmaus were, “slow of heart to believe, adhere to, trust in, and rely on everything that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24: 25b). I do not want that to be my legacy. Let’s honor Christ’s resurrection with hearts that burn for the good news of the Gospel! As we face a world groaning in pain and fear, let’s remember that every day, because of the resurrection power of our Lord Jesus Christ, is an Easter celebration!