The world may call the day, Easter, but for followers of Jesus it is a celebration of the very foundation of our faith – the resurrection of Jesus Christ! I recently spoke on two of Jesus’ disciples who were very discouraged on that first resurrection Sunday. That morning, some of the women came into the room where many of the disciples had gathered and spoke of angels, telling how the large stone had been rolled from the tomb entrance and how Jesus’ body was not there. Luke, a first century physician, records that the disciples were in such disbelief that they didn’t believe what the women announced (Luke 24:11).
Two of the disciples couldn’t take any more. Perhaps they needed some air to clear their thoughts. Luke tells us that they walked a 7 mile journey from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus. In Luke 24:15 we read that the men were discussing and arguing as they traveled concerning all the things that had happened over the past few days. I would suppose they argued about Jesus. Was He really the Messiah they had hoped He would be? Why did Judas sell Him off? Why did Jesus have to die? What would they do next? Is all hope dead with Jesus in the tomb?
While debating, a stranger walks up and joins them on their journey. The disciples were probably too distressed to notice that He wasn’t there just minutes before. As he walks up to them, he asks, “What are you disputing?” This one simple question stopped the two men in their tracks. How could anyone ask such a question after the events the past three days. Unknown to them, this stranger was the resurrected Christ.
Luke tells us that somewhere along the journey, Jesus began to remind them of the Scriptures from the books of Moses and the prophets, what we call the Old Testament today. He reminded them of all the Scriptures that spoke of and prophesied concerning the Messiah and pointed out how they tell that the Messiah must die and be raised from the dead and how repentance would be preached in his name to all nations.
By the time they arrived at their destination in Emmaus, something began to happen on the inside of the men. Where there was only despair a few hours earlier, now hope began to spark! Verse 28 states that Jesus, still unrecognized by these two disciples, would have kept on walking, but the men urged him to come in and have dinner with them. That’s when it happened.
Vs. 30, It was as he (Jesus) reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem.
These disciples who went on a 7 mile walk due to discouragement, now ran back to Jerusalem to announce that they had just seen Jesus! You can imagine the scene in the room when these two disciples, huffing and puffing for air, drenched in sweat, come bursting through the door yelling that they had just seen Jesus.
What happened? They had just had an encounter with Jesus and…
When you encounter Jesus, a STIRRING takes place.
For these disciples, the world around them didn’t change that day because they had an experience with the resurrected Jesus. Rome was still in control over the middle east. Herod was still ruling over Judea. The world hadn’t changed, but one thing for sure, these disciples had changed! You simply cannot have an encounter with Jesus Christ and not be stirred.
This stirring would spark a revival that would take the Good News of Jesus throughout the known world of their time. Many of the followers of Jesus would give their lives proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God and that He was alive!
In today’s society, it appears that we mainly look to politics, or oddly enough, social media influencers and entertainers to fix the ills of our broken and hurting world. However, what the world needs is not new policies or voices, we need an encounter with the living Christ. Only Jesus can change the heart of a person. Only Jesus can spark hope in the midst of despair. Only Jesus can cause forgiveness to override the hurt and the hate. Only Jesus can bring true and lasting change. When Jesus changes us, then change can happen in our world!