Sunday, June 1, 2008

First Sunday

Today, we celebrate the Lord's Table.  Communion.  The last meal our Lord shared with His Followers before He went to the Cross.  In that upper room, Jesus gave a new meaning to the Passover.  He was to be the Passover Lamb.  He was to give Himself as the final sacrifice for sin.  And He said that as often as you drink of the cup and eat the bread, do this in memory of Me.

Three days later, this event happened.  You can find it in Luke 24:13-27. 

Luke 24:13-27 (The Message)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
[The Message at Navpress] [NavPress]
The Road to Emmaus
13-16 That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

17-18 He asked, "What's this you're discussing so intently as you walk along?"

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn't heard what's happened during the last few days?"

19-24 He said, "What has happened?"

They said, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn't find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn't see Jesus."

25-27 Then he said to them, "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can't you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don't you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?" Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him. 

They did not even see Him!  They had been with Jesus for over three years and this man who came along side them, they did not recognize Him.  They shared their pain with Him.  They shared their questions.  They shared their heart with this stranger.  And when they were finished, Jesus told them, FROM the SCRIPTURES ALL that was told of the Messiah.  It ALL pointed to this Jesus they had loved so!  From Moses on, Jesus gave them an on-the-road Bible School.  ALL the verses in the Bible!  It all pointed to Jesus.

Then, it looked like He was going to walk on so the two men asked Him to join them at the inn.  He said yes and sat with them at the table.  He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them.

THEN, their eyes were opened!  Then they saw it was Jesus!

                     And then He disappeared!

They responded: 
"Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

You see, if He just showed Himself to them on the road, we all would need to see Jesus that way.  "Here I am!  It is Me!  Now, look at the Scriptures!"  But Jesus did not do that.  Instead, He pointed to the Word of God.  "In the Bible, you will know of Me.  I am there!  Look for Me!  Find Me!  Believe in Me!"

You can understand now why the Bible is so important.  The Bible is the Love Letter FROM GOD to us.  It not only points the way, the Bible points The Only Way.  It is Jesus.  He is to known and understood by believing in the Word He provided for us to have.

And that is why people not so far from our little Fellowship carry Bibles undercover to bring God's Word to the many who do not have Bibles.  That is why they would risk going to prison and even torture so other's in their land could hold and read this Book.  

Because of the secret nature of what goes on with this ministry in bringing the Bible into closed lands, I cannot say any more.  But, you your privilage is to hold these men and women from the closed countries and those from other lands who help bring the Living Word of God to them up in prayer.

Would you pray for the Underground Church in these closed countries?  They risk their very life to share this Message of Hope and forgiveness.  Would you pray for them?  Not that it becomes easier for them, but, at their request, that the West does not fold or underestimate the Power of Prayer.  They are going thru some hard times for the sake of the Gospel.  Hold them up in prayer.

As our speaker pointed out this morning, from Colossians 1:3-6 

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.  (NIV)

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you, now and forever more!  Amen!

Next week: Daniel 9.