Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Opened Hearts and Opened Eyes
Dear friend,

Late in the afternoon of Easter, as they walked away from Jerusalem and headed for a village called Emmaus some seven and a half miles away, two followers of Jesus were in disappointment and despondency while they thought only of a dead Jesus. As they walked away discussing the past day's events in confusion and hopelessness, Jesus drew near to them, listened to them, drew them into a conversation with Him, and consequently they responded to Him in faith while He spoke of Himself as revealed in the Old Testament scriptures.

As they continued with Him, they began to be "warmed in heart" and did not want Him to go away from them. Jesus did as they requested and so that evening they communed together in a house and during the course of eating together, the eyes of the two travelers were opened by the Stranger. He was no longer a stranger to them, but suddenly they knew Him as Jesus the Christ. They knew Him in the breaking of bread, for they connected His death on the cross and His resurrected life, Who now sat across the table from them.

"And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"

After rejoicing with one another in this knowledge, they could not contain it to themselves so they rose up and went to tell their friends, of how "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread."

In this portion of Scripture we will see how the hearts were opened to the testimony of the Scriptures concerning Christ, and when faith began to give them understanding of the purpose of Christ's death on the cross for their sins, then the resurrected Christ was opend to them.

Let us hear from our brother Cleophas of from his point of view of the events of that afternoon of the Resurrection Day from Luke 24:13-35

"As my brother and I walked away from Jerusalem towards Emmaus, about 7.5 miles away, we were talking of the things that had happened recently in the city, and while we were talking together trying to make sense of everything, a stranger drew alongside of us and walked along with us for a ways.

After a little while, he asked us a question: "What kind of a conversation is this you are having with one another as you walk and are sad?"

I, Cleopas, replied, "Are you the only stranger in Jersulem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"

The stranger then replied to us with another question, "What things?" And we told him:

19 "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21: But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.


After we poured out our hearts to him, saying our hope was lost, for the One we had trusted in was no where to be seen. Then he spoke to us very directly:

25..... O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

After he rebuked us for our unbelief in what God has written, pointed us the Scriptures which prophesied of the suffering of Christ and of His entering into His glory, the stranger began to speak of the Christ.

Moses spoke of the Promise of Christ
KJV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


The Promise of Christ through Abraham's seed

KJV Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Moses spoke of the First Passover, a type of Christ's Passover

Exodus 12:25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

Moses spoke of Christ the Prophet

KJV Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

Job spoke of Christ as his Resurrected Redeemer

Job 19: 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

David spoke of the Suffering Christ

Psalm 22:My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

Isaiah spoke of the Virgin birth of Christ

KJV Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah spoke of the Sin Bearing Christ

Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. {we hid...: or, he hid as it were his face from us: Heb. as an hiding of faces from him, or, from us}
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. {laid...: Heb. made the iniquity of us all to meet on him}
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Jeremiah spoke of the New Testament time of the Holy Spirit of Christ

Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Daniel spoke of the everlasting dominion of Christ which will never be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Micah spoke of the birthplace of Christ, who has always been in existence

KJV Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Zechariah spoke of Christ the King who comes in humility to save humanity.

ESV Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

And many more scriptures did this stranger connect to the events that had happened recentlly in Jerusalem with Christ.(It is unclear as to how much the stranger shared with them of the events that had happened, but it appears that He did tell them that He appeared to Peter from what is written in verse 34.)

As we went on time seemed to fly by as we listened to this stranger connect the dots so to speak, as he applied the Scriptures that we heard read in the synagogue with the events that had left us so sad. As we got close to our village where we planned to spend the night, he acted as if he would have kept on going, but we pleaded with him to stay with as it was late in the evening. Were we glad when he agreed to stay with us. We liked what we were hearing from this stranger...

As we ate supper with him, he took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to us. And then our EYES WERE OPENED and WE KNEW HIM! Our hope was restored as we now saw the One whom we thought was dead now alive before us. He was the living Christ, who was crucified our our sins, for my sins.........for now we understood what had happened on the cross, why He had to die...He came for us, He came for me, He was broken on the cross for me, for you. And now He is alive, and He is with us again. He is alive, I am forgiven, you are forgiven through Him!!!

But then.......... he disappeared from our sight..............

We looked at each other and than said together: "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Then we got up the same hour, returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
And we told them,"The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon." And we they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

I pray that the Holy Spirit is ministering to us where we are as we have sat and contemplated the events that happened in the lives of these two disciples of Jesus. There are questions that arise in our minds as a result of hearing Cleopas recount their experience, a couple of which are:

Why did not the stranger reveal himself right away to them?

Why did Jesus leave them after revealing Himself to them?

To answer the first question, it is most likely that the two men did not understand as of yet the reason for the suffering and death of Christ making it necessary for the "stranger" to take them through "all" of the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Himself so that they would be ready to for the knowledge of the resurrection. As he took them through them, and as He opened up their understanding, their hearts began to burn within them. In other words, the knowledge of the Prophecies and Promises of God concerning Christ began to come alive in their hearts as the stranger spoke them to them and opened up their understanding of them. It is as if a door was being opened into a new realization of their existence. The one whom they knew as a teacher, a prophetical voice for them, a companion, a friend was their Saviour.

John Newton wrote of this same thing in his famous song: Amazing Grace. He recognized that one must become lost in order to be found, one must recognize that they are blind before sight can be received. For Newton it was the fear of going down in the storm that caused him to seek the mercy of God. He feared for his life and that fear drove him to cry out for mercy. He recognized that he was a wretch and that it was grace the saved a wretch like him.

The Gracious and Seeking Father spoke to his elder son of how his brother was lost and is now found. This is why the two disciples had to come to the understanding of their lostness before Christ could reveal Himself as the Risen Saviour.

We must come to the end of ourselves, to the place where we know that we are condemned before God because of our sin and have no way to get back to Him by ourselves. We are lost, we are blind, and we need to be found, we need to be given sight, we need to be forgiven by Him.

Why did Jesus leave them after revealing Himself to them?

Faith took hold in their hearts as they now linked His death and resurrection, making it no longer necessary for them to have Christ's physical presence. He went away from them, which gives us a foreshadowing of His return in His Holy Spirit which was promised to come after His ascension on the day of Pentecost. Faith now burned brightly in their hearts and consequently they could not keep the news to themselves, which is reflected in their returning to Jerusalem to encourage their fellows believers there. When they got there they shared that "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared unto Simon."

Why would Jesus tell them that He appeared unto Simon? He loved Simon, who was undoubtedly living in regret and remorse, wondering what was going to be the outcome of all this after his denial of Christ. The Lord in His compassion and tenderness could have told the two disciples about how He appeared to Peter in order to give them the encouragement and comfort of His love.

It is interesting to think about the message that they brought back, saying first that the Lord is risen, indeed, and then recounting of how the Lord had appeared to Simon. Simon, who was with the eleven must have rejoiced greatly at hearing his name mentioned by the Lord, for it must have given him greater assurance of the truth of the resurrection, of the truth the he was forgiven and restored.....and must have drawn him closer to Christ in love.

Then the two disciples recounted of their journey away from Jerusalem, and of how the stranger drew near, probed for the sadness out of their hearts, then rebuked them for unbelief, before beginning to speak of Christ and in so doing faith was made alive. As faith began to burn, faith moved them to share that which they had received. They spoke of how they sat down to supper and how the stranger became their Savior as He broke the bread before them, as He broke His Body before them for the forgiveness of their sins. Now the meaning of the 'aliveness" of Christ had real meaning to them, for He "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."

They went out with joy...

May the Lord add His blessing to our meditations today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Posted on 04 May 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Living in the Power of Christ's Resurrection 4/27/2014
Dear friend,

Whether we are young, middle aged or elderly, we have experienced struggles, we experience them today and we will experience them in the future. Being a Christian does not mean that we are free from struggles, but that through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit we by the grace of God through faith, live in victory in the times of trouble and struggle..We live as victors/conquerors through Him who loved us and has given Himself for us. We do not live as victims, and in so doing blame our past, blame our circumstances or blame others for our situation in life today. In our early years of life, it is difficult to understand this reality, and even when we are older, it is difficult to understand how everything works.

Today, one week after celebration the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (as well as ours too) we will take a look at the post resurrection life of Apostle Peter, whom was seen by Jesus after His resurrection. We will use Peter's first epistle to do so, before we do so, it would be beneficial for us to understand a little bit of the writer's life and experience. We understand that the Scripture is written by God Himself, but nevertheless human personality and experience have entered into the letters that have been written by various writers of Bible books. But we must be clear in our understanding that only the 66 books of the Bible are considered as the Word of God. Many other writings have been written that contain the personalities and experiences of Christian people throughout the ages, but only the Bible is to be honored as the Word of God. The Word of God must always take precedence over any other writings.

After Peter met Jesus, he was given a name change. He was known as Simon the son of Jona, but Jesus told him that he would be called Cephas, or Peter in the future. (John 1:42) Jesus was looking into the future of Peter's life and was prophesying of the life that he would come to know as a result of having an encounter with Jesus that one day. He was forever changed as a result of that meeting, but it was not without testings, trials and troubles. Even though Peter was a headstrong, impulsive and quick to speak individual, through the love, patience, and guidance of Jesus, he came to understand, to experience and to live in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is what transformed Peter. He had a living hope in Jesus. But let us look at how he got there before we read our text.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus had spoke to his hearers of the nature of the Kingdom that He had brought to the world, in that personal suffering will result as part of being His follower. (Matthew 5:1-12) After Jesus appointed the twelve disciples/apostles, He again told them that suffering and rejection would be a part of their life should they continue with Him. (Matthew 10:1-2; 16-18) Even by being with Jesus, hearing Him speak of His mission for the world and watching His healing ministry, Peter did not understand the nature of the kingdom that Jesus had brought, and therefore he/Peter, did not relate the suffering of Christ with the glory of Christ.

His thinking and actions remained earthly, fleshly and man centered. He thought with and acted upon his human thinking which ultimately resulted in Peter disowning Jesus during the trial of Jesus. He had vowed that he would even if it meant dying for Jesus, he would, but when it came to the time to do that, Peter denied Christ three times. But Jesus never gave up on Peter, for He saw more in Peter's life than Peter himself did.

It was after the resurrection of Jesus that he was restored to by Jesus and was given a ministry of teaching and preaching, being asked by Jesus to feed his lambs and sheep. It was during that time of ministry that Peter then wrote two letters to the scattered Christian of those days. Tradition teaches us that when it came time for Peter to lay down his life by crucifixion, he asked that he be crucified upside down as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner that his Lord had died. What a change came into the life of Apostle Peter.

As we approach out text from the first few verses of his first letter. let us note of how Peter went from one who was self confident in his own abilities to one who depended upon the faithfulness of God toward Him. As we listen to the words that Peter wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, let us hear of the change that came upon Him due to the influence of Jesus in his heart, his mind and in his life.

He went from one who thought that suffering was not a part of being a follower of Jesus to one who laid down his life for the Gospel's sake and ultimately for His Lord's sake. As we consider the transformation that came upon Peter as a result of being touched by Jesus Christ, may we continue to live in the hope that the resurrection has brought us, and as we hear the Lord's teaching concerning life's issues, may we come to understand in a greater way that suffering for the right causes brings rejoicing. May our journey along with Christ through the pen of Peter bring us fresh insight and knowledge concerning this truth.

I. Introduction
KJV 1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

II. Born to a Living Hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

III. Our attitude in life because of this hope and our expectant victory through faith.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

IV.. Salvation Prophesied
10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Peter introduces himself, tells us who he is writing to, and then gives the basis of his letter. We are chosen in Christ, on the basis of His atonement and as a result we are set apart through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This is all according to the mercy of God, and we have this lively hope because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This lively hope will not perish, will not be defiled and will never fade away, for it is reserved in heaven. When our treasure is laid up in heaven, moth and rust are not able to corrupt it. It is like it is kept under guard, and it is not dependent on our keeping it safe. God does that. For in verse 5 we read that God is the one who is guarding our treasure through faith. We are trusting Him and not ourselves. Can we read between the lines here and see that Peter could have been thinking how that it took him awhile to see that it is God's faithfulness that keeps us and not our own?

Peter than tells us that because we have this lively hope due to the resurrection of Christ from the dead, that we are to rejoice even when we are grieved by our trials. He goes onto compare the proving/testing process of our faith with the natural process that is used to purify gold, saying how much more precious the soul refining process is.

He encourages them to hold tight to faith and trust, for even if they have not seen Him, they yet love him. He goes on to say that even though they do not see him, they yet are rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory. They are praising him in their troubles and trials, for they see the purpose of them. And then Peter says: You live in faith today, for by faith you are able to see the victory that now is promised, but then will be sight!

The last part of our text speaks to the truth that prophesy had pointed to this day, for in the prophets had seen the shadows and types of the coming Christ, the Messiah. They had written of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, the glory that Peter was now pointing out to his hearers as he spoke to them of Christ. He went on to say that the prophets were actually serving them in the present day, and the Gospel that Peter was preaching to them now was with the Holy Spirit, a manisfestation which the angels longed to look into. We might conjecture here as to what this means by saying that since the "good" angels have remained in their pure state, how much did they grasp of the redemptive work of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. They have never fallen.......we have, but we have been raised by Him.......

As I have thought of Peter's experience through the years, one thing has continually caught my attention in his writings. He never (as least I have not seen it) looks at his failures of the past, but dwells on that which raised him out of his sin: The death and the resurrection of Christ. He lifts up the grace of God through the suffering of Christ, placing the glory/honor of God on the same level as His sufferings.

There is a lot to think about here, since Peter went from thinking that suffering was repulsive to the understanding that it was part of the honor and glory of Christ and therefore it is a joyful part of being a Christian. Oh, Lord, please clear away the blindness that prevents us from seeing this reality, so that we may even in the midst of trials rejoice, even in tears, in the hope of glory, Jesus the Christ....

May the Lord bless our meditations in His Word this day by His grace.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 27 Apr 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Opened Hearts and Opened Eyes
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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