On the road to Easter - part 5
Not many things amaze us these days. We've landed on the moon, and developed robots that can build cars and vacuum our homes. We have electric cars that plug into a power point, and phones that can video connect us to the other side of the world in seconds. There's not much that amazes us anymore!
I think it's easy to walk into Easter year after year and not be amazed at what has to be the most amazing event in all of history. Resurrection from the dead is not a small thing. If you asked me if I'd rather land on Mars or rise from the dead, I'd say "rise from the dead please!"
Even though Jesus' followers were TOLD he would rise from the dead, they still don't believe it will happen - that's how unbelievable it is!
1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8Then they remembered his words.9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
The disciples don't believe the women. Peter goes to see the empty tomb for himself. But he still walks away wondering what happened. It's THAT unbelievable! And then Jesus tells 2 of the women directly, but "in disguise", as they walk along the road...
13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They explain to Jesus that they really don't know what has happened. That their Lord and master has been killed and the body is missing.
25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!26Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Eventually, Jesus sits down with them and shares supper. And at that moment, his identity is revealed to them. And they finally get it:
30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
"Of course it was him!" they say. "Our hearts were burning as we listened to him! Of course!"
I find this a challenging idea. Their hearts were burning as they listened to him. I wonder how often my heart burns within me when I listen to the Word of God, or when I celebrate Easter. Shouldn't my heart be burning as I read those words of his death and resurrection? Shouldn't I be amazed again every time I hear this story?
If we ever land a person on Mars, I wonder if every Christian might say "That's great. Amazing! Incredible! What an important milestone in human history! But... it's not like someone rose from the dead."
I hope you will seek to be amazed again this Easter at what God has done in the death and resurrection of Jesus. I pray that our hearts will burn with excitement as we hear the words of the Easter story read to us again this coming weekend.
Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you have done for us in Jesus. May you fill our hearts with joy and amazement as we again hear the story of Jesus' death and resurrection again. Help us to hear with fresh hearts the incredible story of our salvation and may we never stop being amazed by it, and may we never stop giving thanks for it. Amen.