Family Bible Study lesson for July 22: Learning from the Risen Lord
July 6 2001 by Catherine Painter , Luke 24:13-21a, 25-27, 30-32

Family Bible Study lesson for July 22: Learning from the Risen Lord | Friday, July 6, 2001

Friday, July 6, 2001

Family Bible Study lesson for July 22: Learning from the Risen Lord

By Catherine Painter Luke 24:13-21a, 25-27, 30-32 If I weren't married to you, I wouldn't go to church today," I said, hoping to shock and evoke pity from Jack whose whistling jarred my nerves. Instead, with characteristic patience, he said, "Then please don't go; wait 'til you have a better reason." With a stunned sob, I dressed and trudged to church. I was nurturing a youthful and unrealistic view of ministry. With newness wearing off, coupled with the everyday child rearing and loneliness only ministers' wives understand, the stars in my eyes had dimmed.

My innocent dream of traveling the freeway of life, never making a left turn, was not, as Henry Blackaby describes, "No work - all ease; all honey - no bees." In short, I, too, "... had hoped ..." (v. 21). Turning from my personal "Jerusalem," I walked headstrong toward "Emmaus," dead-ending in the "slough of despond." We all experience dark hours when worthy dreams vanish, or some defeat or bereavement we hoped would pass us by doesn't. The road to Emmaus is heavily traveled.

Hopeless Disciples (Luke 24:13-21a) Emerson said, "Sorrow makes us all children again." Perhaps Cleopas and his companion want to sit in the road and cry like babies. Graphic and gripping details of the crucifixion have their emotions.

Then comes the sabbath when they rest (23:56; Ex. 20:8). Nowhere on earth are two more hopeless, with nothing to do or look forward to. Their would-be Messiah refused to evade the cross and their hope is gone.

Night seems darkest, however, just before dawn, it's said. Unnoticed, a stranger falls into step with them. How often did Jesus walk alongside us before we "constrained him" to enter our hearts and homes (cf. v. 28-29)?

He asks, "What are you discussing ..." (v. 17)? They answer with faith: "We had hoped that He ... was going to redeem Israel," and with doubt: "And what is more, this is the third day since this took place" (v. 21).

We've all asked, "How are things going?" when someone actually told us. There have been youth struggling with faith, ministers who tended others' vineyards to the neglect of their own, lay people disillusioned with once-trusted leaders and Bible teachers who gave until their own wells ran dry, illustrating what Vance Havner called "Public fountains where water gushes from lips that never taste it."

Cleopas and his companion spatter Jesus with horrors of the past days. How like Jesus to draw near them in these circumstances.

Instructive Scriptures (Luke 24:25-32) "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom.10:17, KJV), so Jesus "beginning with Moses ... explains to them ... concerning Himself."

"How foolish you are ..." (v. 25) is, in our jargon, "Get yourself off center stage and back to what I called you to do." God dealt with Elijah this way (I Kgs. 19:9-21).

Knowledge of scripture still doesn't reveal who He is. Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Him. Knowledge of water can't quench thirst; knowledge of bread doesn't satisfy hunger.

Jesus enters their home as a guest (vv. 28-29), but quickly becomes the host. Not by a stirring sermon or dazzling miracle do they discern His identity, but in the ordinariness of life. Luke says that in His giving thanks, breaking bread and serving it, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him" (v. 31a).

In our home hangs a treasured plaque:

Christ is the head of this house. The unseen guest at every meal. The silent listener to every conversation.

Joy presides wherever Jesus is recognized as belonging to the family circle.

During Russian opposition to religion, police arrested a family at worship. They counted 11 people.

"Sir, there are 12," the father corrected.

"Then, where is the 12th?" the officer asked.

"Christ is here also."

Following His recognition, Jesus vanishes and leaves me somewhat disappointed. Is He, however, preparing His followers to experience Him unseen no less than when He is seen? For 40 days He appears and disappears. They must begin to live by faith and not by sight.

Encounters with Christ never happen accidentally. Now, as then, our hearts burn within us (v. 32) when we invite Him in (Rev. 3:20), and one never knows how soon it will be too late to open the heart's door to Him.

I don't travel the Emmaus Road as often as I once did. I've learned the exits. I've also learned Whose I am. Someone said, "The stone that is fit for the wall doesn't long lie in the ditch."

We're not promised never to fall into despondency, but we can know the One who rescues us from it. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Ps. 30:5, KJV).

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7/6/2001 12:00:00 AM by Catherine Painter , Luke 24:13-21a, 25-27, 30-32 | with 0 comments
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