EASTER SUNDAY 2023
In Plain Sight
Judy and I moved to Florida after graduating college. She started teaching at a Christian school where her friend from grade school was teaching. At first, they were our only friends. As we continued to develop relationships, we started hanging out with a couple who were both teachers. The wife worked at the same school as Judy and the husband worked at another Christian school.
In an effort to expand our friend base, we decided to invite other friends to a get together at the other couples house. Unfortunately, Judy and I were not able to have any other friends come, but the other couple was able to have a husband and wife come (they were both schoolteachers at the husband’s school).
As we began to share information about our backgrounds, I was surprised to find out that I already knew the husband and wife that we just met. All three of us were shocked and excited to realize that we had worked together for several summers at a Bible conference in New Jersey as high school students.
Judy and I immediately connected with them and developed an incredibly deep relationship with them.
It was amazing that we were so close geographically, but had no idea that we were.
In plain sight
I enjoy playing with my grandkids and one game that my oldest granddaughter and I play is hide and seek
Because she is only three, my hiding places are mostly in plain sight (in a corner, behind a chair, in her play tent, etc.)
She does the same thing – hiding in plain sight (under the table, under the piano bench, on the stairs, in her play tent, etc.)
While she finds me pretty quickly, I act like I don’t know where she is hiding (that produces a lot of laughter)
The longer we have played, the more I have started hiding in places that are not in plain sight
In plain sight
How many of us have “lost” something only to realize that it is plain sight?
The reason that we can’t find it is because it is not in the location that we normally put it
We rush around the house looking for it and get frustrated when we can’t find it
How many of us have experienced losing our glasses only to be informed that they are on the top of our head?
We will see today that Jesus was in plain sight, but two of His disciples did not recognize Him at first. They were not alone in this, because earlier that morning Mary Magdalene was in the presence of Jesus and did not recognize Him (she thought he was the gardener). These two disciples went through three stages as it pertained to hope. First, their hope was ravaged, then hope was revealed, and finally their hope was restored. What we can learn from this passage today is that . . .
BIG IDEA – Jesus brings hope!
GOD (Luke 24:13-36)
Hope Ravaged (vv. 13-29)
Same day (v. 13)
We have to look back to v. 1 to understand what day it is
It is the first day of the week, Sunday
It is also the same day that Jesus rose from the dead
We don’t know the hour that He rose but it was sometime before 6 am, because that is probably the time when the women went to the tomb with their spices and perfumes
There were two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus
They left sometime after the women and Peter and John had returned from the tomb
It was probably sometime in the afternoon when they started their journey
Jerusalem to Emmaus (v. 13)
Emmaus was about 7 miles west and a little north of Jerusalem
Since they were walking, it probably took them about 2 ½ hours to make the journey
Conversation with each other (v. 14)
These two disciples are discussing everything that happened over the past week
They were probably discussing what went wrong from the time of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem to His crucifixion and burial
They were probably trying to figure out what happened to Jesus’ body, since the tomb He was in was empty and no one knew where the body was, including His closest disciples, Peter, James, and John
“We get the impression that these men were discouraged and disappointed because God did not do what they wanted Him to do. They saw the glory of the kingdom, but they failed to understand the suffering.” [Wiersbe, 278]
We know their demeanor was one of sadness (v. 17, their faces were downcast)
The outcome of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was not what they had hoped for
Their hope was ravaged
Jesus was supposed to rule over them as king and remove the Roman rulers from among them, but now He’s gone
A stranger starts walking with them (vv. 15-16)
As they are walking along the road to Emmaus this guy starts walking along with them
They don’t recognize Him, but they’re cordial enough to allow Him to continue walking with them
“Jewish travelers would not consider it unusual for a stranger, who is also a fellow Jew, to join their small company walking for some distance, especially if they assume him to be a Passover pilgrim on his way home.” [Keener, IVP, Bible Background Commentary, 256]
We have the benefit of knowing that it’s Jesus who is walking with them, but the two disciples were kept from recognizing Him
You and I can miss Jesus in our lives, because we’re discouraged and angry that God didn’t do for us what we wanted Him to do
This is a part of our selfish, sinful nature that we think we know what’s best for us, our family, our state, our nation, and maybe even the world
But God is sovereign – He has the right to rule and He rules rightly
God is the Creator – He knows everything about this world and the people living in it
God is omniscient – He knows everything
God knows what’s best for you
When you’re feeling discouraged and angry with God, you don’t want to be around other believers, but they are the ones who can help you see that Jesus is right there with you – in plain sight
They can help you see that Jesus brings hope!
Are you feeling discouraged and angry with God today?
Here’s a few steps to take:
First, acknowledge your discouragement and anger with God – tell Him how you’re feeling – you’re not going to make Him upset or cause Him to turn His back on you – Heb. 13:5b-6
Second, as a follower of Jesus Christ, recognize that He’s right here with you – verbalize it, hear yourself say the words
Third, surround yourself with fellow believers and allow them to encourage and comfort you – we are here for you, just reach out, we want to help
My Next Step Today Is To: Take time this afternoon to tell God why I’m discouraged and/or angry and that I know Jesus is with me.
Reach out to a brother or sister in Christ so they can encourage, support, and comfort you
As Jesus and His two disciples are walking along, Jesus asked them a couple of questions
Jesus’ two questions (vv. 17-19a)
What are you discussing?
Jesus already knew what they were discussing, but this was His way of joining in the discussion
He wanted to be included in the conversation so He could teach them some valuable truths [BBC, 612]
Here we are given the name of one of the disciples, Cleopas
Cleopas obviously assumed this Jewish stranger walking with them had been in Jerusalem over Passover and should have known what was going on
“News spread quickly by word of mouth, and public executions at a feast would be widely discussed.” [Keener, IVP, BBC, 2256]
If this stranger was a Jew and had participated in a Passover feast, Jesus’ trial and execution would have been the topic of discussion
Jesus asks His second question to encourage these two disciples to discuss what they knew about Him
“He wanted them to give Him enough information to permit Him to teach His truths from their subject.” [BBC, 612]
When your child comes to you to tell you something that happened to them, but your spouse already told you the story, do you turn them down? No, you enthusiastically listen to them as they share it. You patiently listen to the excitement in their voice and you rejoice with them. If it’s something sad, you comfort them and cry with them.
Jesus already knows everything that’s going in your life, but He desires to hear them from you
Jesus is saying to you today, “Talk to Me – about that trouble at work, about that feeling in your heart. I already know all about it, but I want to hear it from you.” [Courson, 422]
Jesus is so patient with you as He listens
He is our Great High Priest and sits at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for you (Rom. 8:34)
Because of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection you can come boldly before God’s throne and pour out your heart to Him
Hebrews 4:14-16, Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
So, Jesus wants these two guys to open up and share what they know about Him
Their response (vv. 19b-24)
Now we see the content of their conversation – it is Jesus of Nazareth
What did these two know about Jesus of Nazareth?
They knew His name and where He was from
They knew He was a Prophet
They knew He was mighty in deed and word
They knew He was crucified
They knew He promised to redeem Israel
They knew others had said He rose from the dead
The verdict was still out from the perspective of these two disciples
They knew Jesus body was not in the tomb, but they had yet to believe that He rose from the dead
The testimony of the women seeing the empty tomb and hearing the message given to them by two angels wasn’t enough
The testimony of Peter and John seeing the empty tomb with Jesus’ grave clothes lying there undisturbed wasn’t enough proof
“Jesus wanted to know from them what He wants to know from (you) today: can (you) believe without seeing with (y)our own eyes? Can (you) believe based on the reliable eyewitness testimony of other people?” [Guzik, 6]
I heard a story from a young man who when he was a young boy wanted to know if God was real. As he lay in bed one night at his grandmother’s house he asked God to prove that He existed. Almost immediately the blankets that were pulled up to his chest and not hanging over the edge of the bed were pulled down. He believed!
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you have believed the reliable eyewitness testimony of other people – you’ve believed the testimony of the Apostles and the other biblical writers, some of whom were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection
Jesus’ sermon (vv. 25-27)
He calls them foolish
The Greek word translated foolish actually means, “lacking in understanding.”
It’s not the negative way we use the word fool today
It’s not the same word that’s used in Matt. 5:22, that we are forbidden to say to our brother
Heart issue not a head issue
They knew what the prophets had said, that’s probably why they were so excited about Jesus in the first place
They hadn’t understood all of what the prophets had said
They only remembered the good parts
“They did not believe all that the prophets had written about the Messiah. That was the problem with most of the Jews in that day: they saw Messiah as a conquering Redeemer, but they did not see Him as a Suffering Savior. As they read the Old Testament, they saw the glory but not the suffering, the crown but not the cross.” [Wiersbe, 278]
Jesus shared scripture with them
Jesus asks them if they remembered that the prophets foretold that the Christ would have to suffer these things and then enter his glory
Don’t you wish you could have been there to hear Jesus Christ open up the scriptures from Moses to the Prophets
That would have been an incredible sermon
“The ancient Greek word for expounded (explained) has the idea of sticking close to the text.” [Guzik, 8]
He probably talked about these things
The first promise of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15
Abraham placing his son on the altar in Genesis 22
The first Passover in Egypt
The Levitical sacrifices
The Tabernacle ceremonies
The Day of Atonement
The serpent in the wilderness
The Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53
The prophetic messages of Psalms 22 and 69
He shared with them all that scripture said about Him
How did He do this?
Did He have all these scrolls tucked under His arm?
No, He knew the scripture by heart
“Sometimes you might think, I don’t need to study the Word because I’ve already studied it. I already know it. Do you? Can you walk along the road and discuss Genesis 37-50, Ezekiel 44, Luke 21-24, Romans 5-8? Until you’re at that place, you need to be where the Bible is taught consistently.” [Courson, 422]
“The key to understanding the Bible is to see Jesus Christ on every page.” [Wiersbe, 279]
No matter what kind of Bible teaching you do (Sunday school, youth worker, small group leader, etc.) your job is to look for Jesus in every part of God’s Word [Courson, 422]
Stay with us (vv. 28-29)
When they were approaching Emmaus, Jesus acted as if He was going to continue His journey
The two disciples urged Him strongly to stay with them for the night
This was part of the culture of the day to extend hospitality especially as night was getting close
Jesus will not force His way into your life
He is waiting for you to invite Him in
He reveals Himself to you through other people, His creation, and life circumstances and then He waits for you to respond
God provided the Ten Commandments not as a way to be made right with Him, but to show you that you needed someone to help you with your sin
Rom. 3:23 – all have sinned
Rom. 6:23 – wages of sin is death
Rom. 5:8 – demonstrates His love
1 Cor. 15:3b-4 – Christ died, was buried, was raised on third day according to the Scriptures
John 1:12-13 – received Him, believed in His name, become children of God
My Next Step Today Is To: Invite Jesus into my life by receiving Him and believing in His name, so I can become a child of God.
Hope Revealed (vv. 30-32)
As He sat at the table with them He did something He had done at the Last Supper
He took bread
He gave thanks
He broke the bread
He began to give it to them
Their eyes are opened
Whatever had caused them not to recognize Jesus was removed
Their eyes were opened to who this stranger was, that they had been traveling with
They had been sharing with Jesus about Jesus!
They had been taught on the road by Jesus!
As soon as they recognized Jesus, He was gone
This resurrected body of Jesus was different than a human body
He was able to appear and disappear
He was able to move through locked doors
Their hearts were greatly moved as Jesus was teaching them about Himself from Moses through the Prophets
They were probably remembering all they had learned from Jesus during His ministry here on earth
They were missing Him and His presence with them
Little did they know He was right there with them
Hope Restored (vv. 33-36)
They returned to Jerusalem
They left immediately to return to Jerusalem
They couldn’t wait to tell the other disciples what had happened to them
Jesus had appeared to Simon/Peter
When they arrived, they had to wait to share their story
Hope had already been restored in Jerusalem
Jesus had appeared to Simon/Peter
The Eleven and the others with them were joyfully announcing and believing that Jesus had risen from the dead
They share their experience
These two finally got a chance to share how Jesus had walked with them on the road to Emmaus
They shared about how they recognized Him after He had broken the bread and giving thanks for it and gave it to them
While everyone was rejoicing together and reveling in restored hope, something incredible happened
Jesus appeared with them and encouraged them with, “Peace be with you.”
“What a difference it would make in our church services if everybody who gathered came to tell about meeting the living Christ! If our services are ‘dead’ it is probably because we are not really walking with and listening to the living Saviour.” [Wiersbe, 279]
As followers of Jesus Christ we are witnesses to His resurrection power
While we were not there to see Him after His resurrection, we have experienced His healing power in our lives
We have been set free from the bondage to sin and self
We have hope for the future resurrection of our bodies when Jesus returns a second time
We are called to share that freedom and hope with others
“Florida Highway Patrol troopers were surprised and delighted to find that the alleged drug traffickers they pulled over had made their jobs so much easier than they anticipated. Among the materials found in the vehicle was a bag marked in bold text with the words “Bag Full of Drugs.”
Similar bags have been sold for years at novelty shops alongside other gag gifts, but troopers said this bag really did contain a variety of illegal narcotics, including methamphetamine, fentanyl, MDMA, and GHB.
The Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office issued a statement, warning potential lawbreakers that not only can their drug-sniffing canine units smell drugs, but they can also read.
Possible Preaching Angle:
1) Sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight; we must not be so enamored with being clever that we miss the obvious. 2) Secrets do not remain hidden for long. The truth will ultimately be revealed.
Cox Media Group, “Florida Highway Patrol finds bags full of drugs in ‘Bag Full of Drugs,’” Dayton Daily News.com (2-4-20).