April 2016 newsletter
In Luke 24, we read about two of Jesus’ disciples who were walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus three days after their teacher had been executed. They were confused and discouraged, as they had hoped that Jesus was the one who would redeem Israel and establish God’s kingdom. However, His arrest and crucifixion had dashed all their hopes. And since then they had heard that some of their fellow disciples who had been to the grave had found it empty.
As they were walking and discussing what had taken place over the past days, Jesus joined them and enquired about their conversation, but their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. (v.16). Surprised at His apparent ignorance regarding these recent events, one of them, Cleopas, asked if He had not heard what had happened in Jerusalem concerning the mighty prophet of God Jesus of Nazareth. To this Jesus replied, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (v.25-26) Then He proceeded to explained to them the prophecies in the Scriptures concerning the fulfilment of God’s purpose through His death and resurrection.
When the two disciples reached their destination, they invited Jesus to stay with them for the night, still unaware that it was Him. Yet when they sat down to eat and He blessed the bread and broke it and gave it to them, their eyes were opened and they recognised Him. He had truly risen from the dead, as He had foretold! And as soon as they recognised Him He vanished from their sight. (v.31) In a moment of encounter with Him, despair turned into joy. Now they knew that He was alive and that He would always be with them. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (v.32)
Jesus is alive today. He is with us by His Spirit. Just as He opened up the Scriptures to these two disciples, He wants to open up His word to us. Just as He opened their spiritual eyes and showed Himself to them when He broke bread, He wants to reveal Himself to us, even in our darkest moments of despair.
In His second letter, the apostle Peter writes, And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (1:19) God’s word is inspired by His Spirit; it is the very breath of God that gives life and hope to all who receive it, and it reveals the risen Saviour to them. (v.20-21) Let us treasure God’s word. Let us read it and allow the Holy Spirit to open it up to us. When everything around us seems bleak and all hope seems gone, let us meet the living Jesus through His precious word. He will turn sorrow into joy and give hope and peace in the midst of discouragement and confusion.