Blessed Father, we desire to break bread with You, to walk with You & enjoy Your company. Make our hearts burn within us as we meet with You, unfolding Your Word in our hearts. Help us to see, hear & gain wisdom. Prepare us for the difficulties & joys of the day, so we may rely on You & give You glory no matter what may come. We seek You out for these blessings of faith & for the sake of Your glory being shown through us.
We pray this in Jesus’ Name, amen.
Luke 24: 13-35
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
I long for these moments & experiences. As Christians, we long for the Lord’s presence, we desire to walk with Him, listen to Him & experience what these two experienced along the road to Emmaus. There is no greater joy than to be able to give our whole selves over to the will & mystery of the Lord, to be bundled up in His arms & to close out every sound but the sweetness of His voice. Swift & powerful, His tongue comforts & convicts, He cuts to the root of our sin & draws us up into the highest heaven. It is almost indescribable. But we long for these moments. We want every weekend worship gathering to be a place where we meet with Him like this, every moment spent in the Word like this, every encounter with a stranger, friend or family member like this when we share our faith with them.
But we must also be reminded of these two on the road. They were consumed, troubled & sad. They had expectations, desires for redemption & they wanted to see God’s hand move in a mighty & powerful way. And it took Jesus’ presence to bring them comfort. His Words, His presence, His laughter, teaching & prayer to open their eyes to what God had done & was continuing to do.
If we would feel His presence, then we must draw near & listen. We must hear what He says, and leave behind what fills our mind, giving it all over to Him in these moments where we need to draw near. While Jesus spoke, they were silent. They listened. They didn’t interrupt every third word, they weren’t engrossed in another activity. Their focus was undivided & therefore laser focused on everything He had to say. It was time spent just with Jesus. Unrushed, untouched, unadulterated. Just them & just Him.
If we want to feel the comforting presence of Jesus, then we need to give Him our attention. We need to listen & remove distractions. If we are broken & hurting inside, if life’s events are too much to handle & understand, then we need to trust Him with those moments & draw near to Him & Him alone.
Praise God for His Holy Spirit who can & does walk with us, even within us, through these moments of our day-to-day life. What a precious gift to know He is with us, moving, present & speaking to us. We simply need to seek Him out for peace & be still, trusting in His footsteps along the way.
Father, we bless Your holy Name! We praise the movement of Your Word in our hearts!
Teach us to listen & be still. remind us of Your presence & may we feel that sweet stillness in our spirits as we draw near to You along life’s road. Again, we pray in Jesus’ Name, amen.
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 ESV
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to remember Christ.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to commune with Him.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to celebrate grace.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to repent and confess.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to worship our King.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to examine our hearts.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to evaluate our witness.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to be encouraged in faith.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to revel in justification.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to bask in true love.
We come each week, the unworthy made worthy, to commemorate our salvation.
Understanding all that, why be distracted, why be glib or flippant or disrespectful? Understanding what Jesus did and why He suffered for us, why forget the reason for His suffering?
The unworthy made worthy, all of us who have been baptized into Him, should always seriously consider our hearts and lives in light of the cross. We should be ready and willing to evaluate ourselves in every way. Remembering grace at work in us, we do not neglect the reason why grace was needed, or that we still daily fall short without Christ. If we are going to GoLove others for Christ, we should remember, with all honesty, why we need Him so badly.
Personal evaluation keeps us humble. Personal evaluation points us toward our need for grace. Never do it from rote, but always from the heart.
As we begin our journey from Holy Week to Pentecost, we see the disciples beginning their journey together as the Church. These are the days when they begin to discover what this daily living is going to look like as the ambassadors of the Kingdom to the rest of the world; a daunting thought, no doubt.
But one of the first things they are going to want to do is seek out the Father, and to ask for guidance from Jesus who has ascended. They are waiting in the Lord’s timing for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, or as Jesus kept calling Him, the ‘Counselor’ and the ‘Comforter.’ But until that day, until the day the Church is officially open for business, they are seeking out strength, learning patience and developing a game plan…and that all comes from remembering what Jesus taught them.
Looking to prayer, which will become the backbone of their ministry and every other ministry that follows in the millennia to come, we see that Jesus gave plenty of examples of what our life in prayer should be like. It’s not flowery speech, He condemned that in the Pharisees and Scribes. It’s not publicly done as a solo act trying to get attention for yourself and develop your spiritual reputation. He said to go to a closet, somewhere solitary, and spend your time in prayer that way. “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,” (Matthew 14:23 NIV)
And in those alone times, we seek God’s daily provision. Again, nothing excessive, no golden thrones for ourselves or the praise of men, otherwise we may begin to think that this life is about this life instead of the next. And so we pray that God would simply supply our needs. “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11 NIV)
And then, we are thankful for God’s provision, because that helps keep us humble and appreciative. We remember that God is our supplier, and that it is not our own efforts that put bread on the table. “Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.” (Matthew 15:36 NIV)
And as the disciples talked, they remembered that Jesus’ priorities were oftentimes different than what they had been raised to believe and understand. They remember how He valued others, especially children, and that their prayer needed to be others focused, not self focused. “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.” (Matthew 19:13 NIV)
And they came to understand that prayer wasn’t some side venture in the walk of a Jesus follower, but rather the driving force behind their daily walk. It wasn’t something to be taken up on Sundays and at mealtimes, or in hours of desperation, but rather instead like breathing. It was essential, an uncompromised point of living in Him.
Because, every week, in the first day, they were going to gather, remember just what it was they had been given in Him and share in the common meal, the communion with their Master and Rabbi. He had been very specific about this, and while the idea of eating His ‘flesh’ and drinking His ‘blood’ was rather odd at the time, they now knew and understood what He had meant by all that, and the deepest parts of their hearts were filled by this time in prayer and remembrance with Him.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.” (Matthew 26:26-27 NIV)
If they were going to take on their Rabbi’s mantle, carry His yoke, then they were going to need to pray like He prayed, love like He loved, serve like He served. And what they were waiting for, we now know and experience. So, prayer guiding you, breathing it in and out every day, GoLove others as Jesus would, focusing first on God, then on them, remembering the words of the Baptist, John, ‘He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30)