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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Hearts warmed by Christ4.19.2015
May the grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and His Son, our Lord and Saviour be with us now and forever. Amen

In last Sunday's sermon (John 20:19-23) we heard of how Jesus spoke peace into the lives of the disciples, told them that "even as my Father has sent me, I am sending you," had empowered them for this work by breathing upon them the Holy Spirit and had instructed them to preach the Good news of the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. We finish the rest of chapter 20 by putting the text here and offering a few comments....

John 20: 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas

The disciples went to work right away in their mission, starting on Thomas, telling him that "We have seen the Lord." but Thomas needed to see for himself. Eight days later Jesus came with the same message of peace to them and then spoke to Thomas, repeating Thomas' demand that he had made eight days before to the other disciples. To Jesus' care and reaching out to him, and essentially saying to him "Believe!" Thomas replied:

"My Lord and my God!"

Jesus went on to tell him the, "because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Who is contained in Jesus' statement of "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Would they be those who Jesus spoke about in John 17:20? Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

That includes everyone who has lived and come to faith since after the time of Jesus' physical presence on earth. The disciples had been eyewitnesses of the life, death and resurrection of Christ and therefore on the evidence of their testimony the church was founded and has flourished ever since. As we look at the Gospel of Luke to consider how Jesus drew near to those who were confused as to who He was, may our hearts be opened to being enlightened and taught of the Lord today concerning Himself.

Faith took hold and Thomas believed. We believe in Christ, we are in Him and we walk in Him, but yet there are struggles along the way, some of which are:

Recent death of a loved one, the challenges of growing old together in a marriage, couples living with a struggling marriage, the poor health of a spouse, couples living apart as a husband works out of town, struggling with hurts and griefs of the past, the loneliness of living a life alone, the struggles of trusting God for one's future plans, the death of a young child by a car, parent's concerns over where their children are spiritually, grand parents and great grandparents concern over where their grandchildren and great grandchildren are spiritually, young fathers and mothers struggling to balance their lives, young seeking searching for meaning in life and struggling to find it in today's culture of self, and so on.

We all have struggles, but we are not open to sharing our struggles with just anyone, for in order to that to happen there must be mutual trust built up within that relationship. It is easily understood that there must be things in common for a relationship to flourish, it is often true that generational differences are sometimes difficult to bridge, differences in convictions and opinions can create relational difficulties, and so on.

There are some basics which when put in practice can open the door in relationship building, but it does take some intentional action in order to

In any conversation there is Talking, Listening, Caring. How much do we talk, how much do we listen, how much do we care?

It takes two to have a conversation, and depending upon the subject of the conversation, it goes how it goes.

When we enter into conversations with others, what is the basis of it? Are we speaking of other's failings? Are we speaking of our failings? When some speaks ill of another, do we join in or do we speak grace into the conversation? How often do we speak of Christ and His saving grace towards us?

Conversations take place in three ways: God speaks to us out of His Word, whether in church as we are today, or when we are reading before Him, one on one and in small groups of people.

How is it going?
When we ask another, how is it going, does their response mean anything to us? How about if they respond, fine, just great! or "going", or day by day, or a day at a time? Generally if the reply is fine, just great it means "I don't want to talk about anything right now"

A "going" answer indicates that things are not going well, and if you would have a little time, perhaps I could share some of my burdens with you.

A day at a time answer often means that I would like to share with you some of the troubles of my heart, I am really struggling and need someone to care about me in my life.

Jesus is always wanting to bring us back to Who He is, what He has done for us and what He wants to do through us. We will see how He did that with the two walking away for Jerusalem in our text today.

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. (7 miles or about a 2-2.5 hour walk)
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

They discussed among themselves their disappointment at the recent events, and reasoned together in trying to come up with an answer. Jesus drew near, and listened, and they considered him nothing but a stranger. They walked on.....and then the stranger spoke, asking a question.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, 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.

The stranger, knowing all things and wanting to draw them out of their despondency which was due to wrong expectations of the Messiah, drew gently out of their hearts the thought process that had led them to their conclusions. They correctly recounted the events but did not understand the meaning of them....So Jesus began to explain, beginning from the first five books of the Bible to speak of the Messiah, expounding/explaining how they all were pointing to the Christ.

25 Then he said unto them, 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.
28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

They listened all during this time, which would have been between two to two and a half hours as he spoke to them. When they got to the village that they were stopping at, He made it as he would have continued alone. But something had begun to speak into their hearts and they strongly asked him to stay with them, and so he complied.
At their evening meal, as he sat at the table with them, he took bread, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them. A stranger who had spoken to them for two hours about the Messiah from the Old Testament scriptures sat at supper with them and now as he blessed the bread, broke it and gave it to them, they saw the Christ of the Bible. They knew Him..but then He vanished out of their sight. What?????
Though He was still their Master and Friend, they could no longer enjoy His intimate company as in the days before His suffering. They should no longer be bound by His visible presence, but learn to place their trust in the word of His Gospel which He has left for all men. Now again their Master and Friend had left them, but it was not back to despondency and disappointment as it had been the first time, for now they understood that He was much more than just their Master and Friend, now they believed in Him as their Saviour and Redeemer. That made all the difference in the world. Look how differently they spoke than they had before He drew near to them!!!! They now had a different message, a message of life!!!!!!

32 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?
33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

They were despondent due to their lack of understanding of God's love through Christ for them as demonstrated on the cross, Jesus drew near to them to minister to them by drawing out of themselves their wrongful conclusions and then ministered the Word and Sacrament to them. As a result they, were 'warmed" in their heart with the knowledge of who Christ was for them. May we be warmed also through Him today.

A dear brother recently shared with me of how God's grace is like rain coming down from the sky, it falls on all and it is His desire that we would be blessed by His giving of Himself for us. He came to Thomas, He came to the two walking away from the place that their hopes had been dashed, and He comes to us in our need of forgiveness, of assurance, of strengthening and for perservance. May we soak up the raindrops of His love, His grace and His forgiveness today as we bask with Him and with one another in this Holy Communion!

To Him be the glory now and forever, amen!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 19 Apr 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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