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May 1 2022 God Opens Our Eyes

Luke 24: 13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

17 And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?"

19 He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.

22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him."

25 Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So, he went in to stay with them.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"

1 Announcement – next Sunday is Mother’s Day – so we are having a pancake breakfast after church for the moms.

We now have a stairlift – it has passed inspection – but we don’t have the sheet that tells it passed yet – It should come this week.

The Road to Emmaus – we will be doing communion after the message – as the message brings the Breaking of Bread into play.

Lord, thank You for the opportunity to worship You – to break bread together – open our eyes and hearts to the scripture this morning.

15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

Eyes were closed – Eyes were prevented. There were two things that kept them from recognizing Jesus – the first – only God can open our eyes to faith in Jesus. In all the accounts, no one recognized Jesus until He revealed Himself to them.

The second reason – they failed to understand that the Scriptures taught that the Messiah must suffer and die – because of that failure – they could not recognize Him.

DO you not remember the words He told you – that He must suffer – and when they remembered, they believed. We will talk about that next week.

Jesus explains to them – going through the scriptures – that what happened to Him is what was foretold. The disciples were going in to eat – and the disciples convinced Him to spend the night with them. Then when they were at the table…

This is not quite the first post-resurrection communion service – He didn’t get that far! It is an obvious allusion to what has already taken place. He uses the exact same words He used only a few nights earlier.

If we use our imagination – we understand that it continues. Jesus catches them right there and their eyes are opened and then He disappears. HE knows exactly what He is doing! This shows us the POWER that is in this practice that we are going to do today. There is tremendous power in breaking bread! It is more than a simple memorial. It is a memorial – but it is much more than that. There is transformational power in the breaking of the bread. We know that the transformation does not happen to the bread and wine – it happens (or should happen) to us who are celebrating it. We are told to do this routinely, but it should never be a routine. We should come to this time expecting God to show up – to open our eyes to something new – to open our eyes to Him!

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"

In the breaking of bread, their eyes were opened. In the opening of the Scriptures, their hearts were transformed. Spiritual transformation requires both Bible, and right practice.

Throughout the years – I have – maybe 4-5 times per year – I talk about certain ancient spiritual practices – and you may wonder why I do that. Some go back to the gospels. Some go back to the psalms – some even further back. Why? Simply having the Bible isn’t enough – we must have practices that live out the Bible. It is easy in our world – and our world needs to hear this – it is not enough, as a Christian, to just believe the right stuff – you must also practice what is right!

In fact – it is your practicing what is right that demonstrates that you know what is right. Practice is so important – to do it!

If we proclaim what we believe to be true – but don’t practice what we believe to be true – that is a huge issue – but it is a real issue today, with people. We have a lot to say – maybe we don’t live it as much. God is calling us to live it.

Jesus said – when He took the bread – do this in memory of me –

5 things we do when we celebrate communion – What SHOULD happen?

33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread – Acts 2:42 – they were continually devoting themselves to the breaking of bread.

First – we remember what He has done for us. But it is not like a memorial service. I have been to memorial services where people share inspiring things about the person to help us remember – and it is like that – but it is not that.

It is more like a re-enactment. Bob and Jackie were here about a month ago – they sometimes participate in civil war reenactments.

In Corinthians, Paul tells us that communion is like the Passover seder. I think we have lost the practice of telling dramatic stories in ways that establish and build identity – every family, nation, business – have stories that build and establish identities of the entity.

Your family probably has a story of coming to America. And in telling the story – we have a story of ‘this is who we are’ as a people.

Apple – what was the story – Jobs and Wosniak in the garage building a computer. That is part of the culture of Apple.

What communion does – it is an identity marker – it tells us who we are and who we are not. What communion tells us – our Christian identity – we are people of the cross. What is a Christian? Body broken/blood shed. We are people of the cross. And yes, we believe in the resurrection.

First – we are identifying ourselves with the one who died and rose again.

Second – communion is a spiritual practice where Christ is seen and experienced. Prayer/Quiet times/fasting – all of us have done spiritual practices where God shows up. This is the ultimate spiritual practice because God gave it to us to do.

When we do this, we proclaim the gospel – Proclaiming His death until He comes.

Fourth – communion causes us to focus our eyes squarely on Jesus.

Cindy and I were listening to a podcast – I’m paraphrasing – when we take our eyes off Jesus, we focus on things Jesus never focused on, and we neglect the things Jesus focused on. Communion is to focus our eyes on Jesus.

Sue talked about reading the red-letters last week – where Jesus’ words are in red – if the things we focus on as disciples of Christ are not in the red letters, maybe we have the wrong priorities. And, if there are things in those red letters that we think are not important – that is a problem!

IF Jesus said it, in the Bible, that is probably most important stuff to look at!

And the fifth and final – in the context of the breaking of bread passages in the Bible where Jesus performs that drama – Jesus is talking about His death and suffering. He is doing that for us. He is doing that for people – for our salvation – for our forgiveness. And He is doing it out of love.

When Jesus said do this in remembrance of Me – yes, it is I died for Your sins – but also, live the way I lived. Live the way of the cross. We are people of the cross – we are to live the way of the cross.

He told the disciples over and over again – take up your cross and follow Me.

The way of the cross is the way of victory – it looked like the way of defeat. All the powers of darkness thought, We did it! When Jesus hung on the cross. And it wasn’t long before they realized, boy, did we do it to ourselves. Jesus defeated sin, death, and the powers of darkness fully and completely.

This should give us a completely different definition of victory than the world gives.

We were watching our grandkids Friday night. We play this game – Carcassonne– 9- and 7-year-olds – I was saying – I always win – and they said – No you didn’t – I said – You scored more points than me – so in that sense you won, but my favorite game is to play this one – so I won! And my favorite people to play it with are my grandkids.

Victory for Jesus is not defeating the other person – in the world, you defeat the other guy to win – through strength, power, and conquest. How did Jesus win? Through weakness, suffering, and death. Paul said it is weakness to the world, but it is the power of God.

Sometimes we think that to win, we must defeat some people. You feel like, there are just certain people you need to beat. There are certain people in the gospels that you would think need to have been defeated. The religious leaders, Pilate, Judas, the Roman soldiers.

When Judas betrayed him – he said, friend…

How hard it is for us to see a betrayer as a friend – and yet, Jesus did.

So instead of beating them, He said – Forgive them – they do not know what they have done.

In closing – true power and ultimate victory are found in the ability to forgive.

We’re going to do communion.


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