Our April 26 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook.
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The Sunday 8 am service on May 3 is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.
Sermon April 26 Third Sunday after Easter
Acts 2:14a, 36-41 Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
1 Peter 1:17-23 Luke 24:13-35
The Gospel lesson takes place later in the day of the Resurrection, but we’ve switched to Luke’s Gospel from John’s for this story. Jesus has already appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb. The disciples have already checked out the tomb, and found it empty. It doesn’t seem that Jesus has appeared to the disciples in the locked room yet, but either way, poor Thomas will still have to wait another week before he believes.
Our story, two disciples are walking to the village of Emmaus, a seven mile walk. One is named Cleopas, the other may be the Simon mentioned at the end. It is hard to tell who is speaking at that point. Nor can we tell if they are referring to Simon Peter, or the other Simon (the Zealot). Simon is a pretty common name. Maybe they are going home following the Passover, or maybe they had to wait until after the Sabbath was over to start their journey (more likely). The one thing we do know is that they are confused about the events of the week, including this rumor that Jesus is risen, and we can’t blame them. It would be a long, boring and lonely walk, alone by themselves. And, it will probably take them about 2 ½ to 3 hours at a normal pace. No doubt, that is how many people feel now as they must sit and “Shelter at Home.” There isn’t much to do, or talk about. Our lives have changed radically, and we need time to adjust. I have notice in these last several weeks that many people are doing a lot more yardwork. So am I. Others are cleaning their homes more. Some are reading more. Anything to keep our minds occupied in the face of the Pandemic events. These two, whose hopes have been crushed, they are discussing the events of Holy Week as they walk. And what happens, Jesus joins them. But, they don’t recognize Him. One thing which runs through the post-resurrection appearances, Jesus is changed. They don’t recognize Him until He wants to be recognized. Why? We don’t know. But, it appears that He wants to have a bit of fun with these two. It is often hard to pass up the opportunity. Sometimes, it is just too easy.
What we do hold in the Church is that following the Resurrection, Jesus is no longer limited by His mortal human body and its nature. He has been changed. He still has His human nature, but now His divine nature is more apparent. Indeed, it is one of the questions which the Ancient Church was seeking to answer in the Creeds. Is Jesus human, or is He divine? Yes. Okay, how much of each? How do the two natures affect each other? He is 100% human and 100% divine. In Christ, the two natures, human and divine are inseparable, and inform each other. I know, it sounds complicated. And, it is. Before the Resurrection, Christ’s divine nature was more hidden within the human. Post-Resurrection, the human nature is more hidden within the divine. How limited? Most people don’t even think about Jesus’ human nature now! After the Resurrection, His divinity is no longer limited by the finitude of mortality. Translations: Jesus can do things which we can’t, and often does.
He asks the disciples what they are talking about. They give him a description of the events of Holy Week. They are disappointed. The crucifixion has dashed their hopes. Confused now, on the third day, by the stories of Mary Magdalene and the other women – remember, when the women tell the disciples the news of the resurrection, they “regarded it as an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” Now, they are wondering what to think.
Now Jesus jumps in. He “opens the Scriptures for them” running through Moses and the prophets. He explains to them the need for the Messiah to die, and be raised. He probably spent a lot of time on the four Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah. He explained, no doubt, portions of the OT which had long gone misunderstood, like the four Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah, as well as others. These things had to be done, to fulfill the Law, to free us from its power, to work salvation for all of the faithful.
As they approach their destination, Jesus wants to walk on, but they convince Him to stay and sup with them. Then their eyes are opened to whom Jesus really is, as He blesses and breaks the bread. Then they get it. “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was talking to us on the road, while He was opening the scriptures to us?” Now, He has opened their eyes to the truth of His resurrection.
How do we most fully meet Christ? It is still in His Word and in His Holy Supper. His body and His blood, the fullest physical incarnation of Christ which we have at the present, until He returns. Then Jesus disappears from their midst (that change again). But, now, they understand, they know, and they believe. They get up right then to hurry back to Jerusalem to tell the others. They go to reinforce what the women had said. They themselves have seen and spoken with the risen Christ. Their hopes are restored. Christ is alive! He is raised! And to those in faith, we are raised with Him.