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EASTER - NONSENSE

by Delbert Young

Scriptures Luke 24:1-11, Luke 24:13-16, Luke 24:17-24, Luke 24:25-27, Luke 24:28-32

(video audio page)

Easter Nonsense

It's Resurrection Sunday! Welcome! The Lord has RISEN! We Christians believe some strange things and the most strange is God became a man, died a horrible death, was dead three days, but then he came back to life, and went to heaven. Do you believe this? Or, does it sound like NONSENSE?

I want to begin today by asking a question. Have you ever deeply and seriously planned and anticipated on something extremely important to you, but it didn't happen? You poured yourself into it. You invested into it but your plans collapsed. How did you feel? If like me, you felt disappointed, depressed, confused, complained, let down, sad, deceived, pointed blame, perhaps angry and wanted to hit something.

These were the feelings and emotions of thousands on the original Resurrection morning in and around Jerusalem. Thousands were convinced Jesus was the Messiah. They'd followed this man all over Galilee and Judah. They'd invested their time, money, belief, and lives into Jesus. The Jewish leaders said he wasn't the Messiah. They arrested him and turned this man over to the Romans for execution. Many who believed in this man followed the death squad to the place of the skull (Luk 23:27, 33) hoping perhaps at the last minute this man would do something to show he was the Messiah, but he just died like anyone else. They beat their chest (Luk 23:48) and went away confused, feeling deceived and angry. It was a very bad weekend. This was Friday.

Luke 24:1-11 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to ALL THE OTHERS. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. BUT THEY DID NOT BELIEVE THE WOMEN, because THEIR WORDS SEEMED TO THEM LIKE NONSENSE.

It sounds even more like NONSENSE two thousand years later to many. Have supernatural things like the resurrection and angels ever seemed like NONSENSE to you? Do you know people who say it seems like NONSENSE to them? Atheists say it's a myth and NONSENSE. These things probably have seemed like NONSENSE to all of us to some degree. Are they? Is there a supernatural world around us, or is it all just NONSENSE? What do you think?

Our Bible includes four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. All four tell the story of the life of Jesus from four different angles and concepts. Matthew, Mark, and John tell the story of the resurrection with women being the first people to see Jesus after the resurrection, but the first post appearance recorded by Luke was two discouraged and confused people walking on a dusty road to a tiny village called Emmaus. They felt deceived, betrayed, and conned. They were angry they'd fallen for this NONSENSE. We're going to talk about this today. A reason is sometimes we feel like this. "God, I believed. I invested. I followed, but you let me down."

Luke 24:13-16 NOW that SAME DAY two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about EVERYTHING THAT HAD HAPPENED. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, JESUS HIMSELF CAME UP AND WALKED ALONG WITH THEM; BUT THEY WERE KEPT FROM RECOGNIZING HIM.

The little word translated now is idou {id-oo'} - meaning behold, see, lo. Frequently in the KJV it's translated "behold." Luke uses it 56 times to point out and draw attention to something special. This is special.

Appearing first to women or two people going to Emmaus is very different from how I would have done it. To me it would have been far more impacting if Jesus appeared first at the temple to the masses of people in Jerusalem for Passover, or to Annas and Caiaphas the high priest, or to Pilate saying, "See, I told you I was the Son of Man. Now I'm going to deal with you!" Why do you suppose Jesus appeared this way? The reason is Jesus doesn't have anything to prove to the masses, Annas, Caiaphas, or Pilate. He'll take care of them later. His desire was and is to make himself real to people like you and me walking down the dusty roads of life who want to believe, but because of disappointments, confusion, broken hearts, and broken dreams have overwhelming doubts. The resurrected Lord is far more concerned with your broken heart than proving the atheists wrong. They'll figure it out one day. Today, he loves you. He rose from the dead and the first thing he wants to do is walk with and comfort you.

People and paintings project these two walking as two men, but the Bible doesn't say they were two men. One was. His name was Cleopas. The other's not named. It appears to me we have a married couple. Later they invited Jesus to stay with them (Luk 24:29). In their house and at their table, Jesus sat and broke bread. I see a married couple who had believed in Jesus. They'd gone to the Passover in Jerusalem to worship exactly as all Jewish married couples did and exactly as many of us came to worship here today. We worship with our spouse and after we leave we drive down the dusty road of life home talking about the wonderful sermon I taught, right? But, their worship experience wasn't wonderful. It was a disaster. I've given you some bad worship experiences, but nothing like theirs. They were getting away from the religion stuff. It's a great picture of our response to disappointing experiences in life. Religion was NONSENSE!

It says, "they were kept from recognizing him." Wouldn't this be difficult? I mean, wasn't Jesus glowing? Didn't he have a halo floating over his head, and a dove hovering over him like paintings portray? My point is Jesus will not appear to us like a glowing alien. Isn't it amazing how people want to become like the "gods." The Pharaohs did. The Roman emperors did, but the real God became like one of us. He did it so well you won't recognize him until he reveals himself to you. Jesus is so human you could miss him. In the post resurrection appearances of Jesus people didn't recognize him until he revealed himself to them. Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was a gardener (Joh 20:15). Thomas had to stick his fingers into the pierced side and holes in his hands (Joh 20:27). Even Peter, John, and other disciples while fishing did not recognize Jesus (Joh 21:6), but once Jesus revealed himself there was no doubt. Jesus will show up in your life and, if you want, he will reveal himself to you.

But why were they kept from recognizing him? Had he revealed himself to them immediately they would have missed what they needed to learn. It's what he wants each of us to learn and know. What? In disappointing times when we question our faith and feel it's all NONSENSE, we need to learn God's not hiding. When life explodes Jesus hasn't abandoned us. He's actually walking beside you. You just haven't recognized him, yet.

Luke 24:17-24 He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, THEIR FACES DOWNCAST. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" "WHAT THINGS?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; BUT WE HAD HOPED that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, BUT him they did not see."

Jesus asks us, "What are you talking about? What's on you mind? What has gotten you downcast? Tell me about it." We say, "Don't you know about all these things going on in my life?" Jesus asks, "What things?" Jesus will set you up. He set them up. It's sort of humorous to read about them, but when your dreams have been crucified and buried, when your heart is broken, when you don't understand why, when your face is downcast and your hope gone,it's not funny.

They said, "Where have you been? You must have been behind a stone and stuck in a tomb or something." Isn't this what we ask? "God, where have you been? Are you the only one who doesn't know what I'm going through?" We learn Jesus will draw life's disappointments out of us. He desires we talk to him about them. If we will he will help us better understand.

They expressed all their disappointment, depression, confusion, complaints and feelings of let down, sadness, of being deceived, pointing blame, and anger. Jesus allowed them to talk as he listened. To them the death of Jesus disqualified Jesus from being who he said he was. What caused you to disqualify him? In their minds Jesus being crucified made their hopes and dreams impossible. In God's mind Jesus being crucified made their hopes and dreams possible and far larger than they thought. Many times our thinking is so small and wrong. It wasn't that God let them down. What let them down was the way they expected God to operate. I want to tell you God has not let you down. Likely the way you have God figured out is what let you down. When we are attempting to claw out of the dark hole we find ourselves in and it's all NONSENSE, we need to first look at the expectations we had of God and the way we had hoped it would go.

Luke 24:25-27 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe ALL THAT THE PROPHETS HAVE SPOKEN! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he EXPLAINED TO THEM what was said in ALL THE SCRIPTURES concerning himself.

It seems as if Jesus was rebuking them, but he wasn't. Often the word translated "foolish" is moros meaning a stupid person, moron. That's not what he said here. Here it's anoetos {an-o'-ay-tos} - not understood, unintelligible. They didn't believe all that, or know all that was available to know. They had selective knowledge. They selected to only know what their preachers told them. How much do you know? How much can you tell your children, your friends, your coworkers, and anyone who asks? You've selected to know about something. You are brilliant concerning something, but have you selected to know about Jesus?

I wish we had time for me to explain to you what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Jesus. Maybe we can fill in some blanks in our Luke study. The point is the answers to their disappointments, depression, confusion, complaining, let down, sadness, feeling deceived, pointing blame, and anger were in the Scriptures the entire time. I've learned the answers to mine are too. We do ourselves no favors by not knowing the Scriptures. We think we're smart enough to figure life out on our own. The Scriptures are archaic and primal. No. We're only foolish.

I want to read you the remainder of the story and make a few closing points.

Luke 24:28-32 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. THEN THEIR EYES WERE OPENED AND THEY RECOGNIZED HIM, and he DISAPPEARED from their sight. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Jesus will not intrude if you do not invite him to stay. We invite Jesus to walk with and break bread with us. It says, "He disappeared from their sight." He may have disappeared from their sight, but not from their lives. Their hearts burned. Jesus works unseen physically in our lives. We may not be aware of him, but he's there. He is with you always (Mat 28:29). There will be moments when God is so real it's as if you can audibly hear him. His presence will be so real it seems you can eat with him. Your heart will burn as he opens life to you. When those times come hold on to them as long as possible. They will disappear... until the next time.

As we travel the dusty roads of life, we will experience disappointments and sorrows. It's necessary to realize Jesus hasn't abandoned us. He's walking along beside us. He's questioning us. He wants to talk, especially in our times of NONSENSE.

Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is the greatest event in history. Without it we're all doomed for hell and a hellish life. With it and believing in it (Rom 10:9-10), we can have eternal life and abundant life now.

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