Thursday, April 15, 2010
In The Midst
“Then one of them named Cleopas answered Him, do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days?” - Luke 24:18
Perhaps in today’s lingo the verse might be interpreted, “HELLO? Did you JUST get off the boat? Do you have ANY IDEA what is going on here? Is ANYBODY home?”
Sometimes God just doesn’t seem to get it. He just seems out of touch with my particular situation. Have you ever felt that way? “Knock, knock, knock; hello God? Are you there? Are you listening? HELLO?”
Circumstances surrounding the resurrection often go unnoticed but therein is a wonderful microcosm of life.
The tomb was empty. The word spread like wildfire. Already the religious leaders were spinning the event to say that somehow the eleven remaining followers of Jesus (a few fishermen, a doctor and a tax collector) armed with fish hooks, stethoscope and calculator, overtook the fully armed guards at the tomb, rolled back the stone and removed the body of Jesus.
This was not just another execution. This man was known. He was front-page news! Whether or not the public saw him as a kook, a cook or the coming Messiah, the masses were aware of his death and burial. Now, He was missing!
We see that in the midst of sadness, Jesus was there. He didn’t come just in time; He was there!
“ And behold that very day two [of the disciples] were to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things that had occurred. And while they were conversing and discussing together Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them. But their eyes were held, so they did not recognize Him. And He said to them, ‘What is the discussion that you are exchanging between you as you walk along?’ And they stood still , looking sad and downcast. Then one of them named Cleopas answered Him, ‘do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days?’ And He said to them, ‘What kind of things?’” - Luke 24:13-19
The disciples went into detail how this One they had hoped to be the Messiah was crucified at the behest of the chief priests and rulers, how He was buried and how a couple of crazed, hysterical women were driving them crazy with the notion that Jesus had arisen from the dead! This might be one of the reasons they were heading out of town! There’s a limit to what a person can take!
And then Jesus does something interesting. After He listens intently and lovingly to their hearts, He begins to speak to them from the Scripture revealing the many Old Testament prophesies pertaining to His death and resurrection.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘O sluggish in the mind, dull of perception and slow of heart to believe - to adhere to and trust in and rely on - everything that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that the Christ, the Messiah, should suffer all these things before entering into His glory, His majesty and splendor?” - Luke 24:25,26
After easing their hearts, breaking bread with them and reclining with them their eyes were instantly opened! This causes me to reflect upon my own slowness of mind and heart to trust Him; to know without doubt that He is here with me, already accompanying me as I walk through life’s trials.
The story goes on. Evidently, that very same hour, these men ran back to Jerusalem, CHANGED! Somehow the women did not seem quite so hysterical! When these two found the eleven followers of Christ they could hardly contain themselves!
“THE LORD REALLY IS RISEN, AND HAS APPEARED TO SIMON PETER!” - Luke 24:34
Masters of the obvious were they not? But I find that I sometimes do the same thing. I know that Jesus has promised to be with me and never leave me and yet, when He makes Himself unmistakably evident in my life, I say, “WOW!”
Even with all that had happened, as these men shared their story, Jesus stood right there in the midst of them and they were startled as if they had seen a ghost. But Jesus, patiently and lovingly revealed Himself, His hands, His feet - and they marveled.
This little passage in the book of Luke means a great deal to me. It tells me that when I focus upon life’s circumstances, indeed, I can feel disheartened. But Jesus is always in the midst! Jesus is always accompanying His children along the way. If I stop, and truly be honest about my challenge and weakness to understand and overcome through my own strength, He is there to reveal His presence, to calm my heart and to break bread (fellowship) with me.
Where are you along the road? In which direction are you headed? Out of your Jerusalem heaped with sadness and remorse? Or are you headed back, rejoicing, victorious, accompanied by the risen Messiah?
Ya know something? THE LORD REALLY IS RISEN - WOW!