Posted: 4/23/19 at 3:40pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. (Luke 24:28-35, NIV)
If you read the entire passage (beginning in verse 15), you see two distraught men heading home from Jerusalem. Having been there for the Passover and heard the news of Jesus’ death, they had hoped he would be the Messiah that brought Israel back to its glory days and would overthrow the Roman government.
Suddenly Jesus appeared and walked and conversed with them. Jesus began to interpret the scriptures for them about his death and the resurrection, but they didn’t get past their own way of seeing the Messiah and what he was supposed to do in order to see that indeed—here was Jesus.
Now before we judge these men harshly, I want to ask you a few questions to see how your Sunday School class is seeing the resurrected Lord.
How are you encouraging class members to share what God is doing in their lives? Mike Breen, in Building a Discipling Culture, calls these “Kairos moments.” Some prefer calling them Kingdom moments. These are moments when we stop and observe something good or bad and begin reflecting upon what God wants us to do. To carry it to spiritual growth, we need to:
- Observe what God is saying
- Reflect on what God wants us to do
- Discuss with another brother or sister in Christ to flesh out a plan
- Make a plan
- Have a prayer partner to encourage us and hold us accountable
- Act upon the plan
You will see the resurrected Lord a lot clearer when you follow this model.
Are you providing a learning environment to see, with fresh eyes, the Bible and what God wants to share? (See Isaiah 43:19.) Part of the problem with these men on their return home to Emmaus was they saw the Messiah with tunnel vision. They did not expect his death. As we share familiar passages, do we have a tendency to remark, “Well, I know you have heard this before, but…?) Is there a way to use drama, music, or video to enhance the experience? Curt Cloninger has some great vignettes of people in the life of Jesus in a DVD called “Witnesses.” Look for fresh ways to share the story.
How are we inviting Christ into our everyday lives? Notice the men got right what was most important. Jesus was walking away when they strongly urged him to come into their house. Had they not done so, they would have never known it was Jesus! Encourage your class members to find ways to invite Jesus into their lives throughout the week to look for Kairos moments and to abide in Christ (John 15.)
What events do you have outside of the class to encourage Kairos/Kingdom moments? Notice they recognized Jesus as he broke the bread and blessed it. What ways do your class members have opportunities together to do the same? Have a meal together once a month and allow conversations about everyday life to lead to Kingdom moments. Plan service projects on a regular basis to see Jesus in the “least of these.” (See Matthew 25.)
Years ago I shared a sermon during revival about this passage in a church in Roanoke. An elderly gentleman approached me afterwards and shared a recent Kairos/Kingdom moment. He volunteered at a local food pantry each week, and a woman came in with four children needing help. Her husband had left her, and she had no food in the house for her children.
The workers were given an allotted amount to share with each family, but he felt God’s nudging to do more. She was given twice the allotted amount. As she prepared to go, she—in tears—thanked him and reached over and kissed him on the cheek. That night at revival he realized Jesus was kissing him on the cheek. “That which you do for the least of these you also do unto me,” he thought.
Where are you discovering the resurrected Lord in your life?