Welcome to Tuesday’s Podcast. Our reading today is Luke 24: 13-35. Today I’ll focus on verses 17-18 & 32
(v17-18) ‘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 the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’
(v32) ‘They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the read and opened the scriptures to us?’
When John Wesley was born in 1703, the population of the UK was 5 million. It’s said that 4 out of that 5 million lived in poverty.
During his remarkable lifetime he would see 1 million people come to faith in Christ. Not only did he lead people to Christ; he helped them out of poverty – William Wilberforce said of Wesley he was the ‘greatest man of his time…’
Wesley’s start in Christian ministry was a tough one. Long before his fame and influence there was a season where his ministry was waning. He described himself as almost in ‘despair’ and confessed to his friends that he wanted to ‘give up the ministry…’ Seeing little fruit – he hadn’t seen anyone come to faith in Christ. Feeling down one day he opened his Bible and began to read it. He read from 2 Peter:
“There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that you should be partakers of the divine nature…’
Later, attending a Moravian Christian meeting in Aldersgate – heavy hearted – his journals record this moment:
Someone read from Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to Romans. “While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
In today’s passages, verse 17, Cleopas & Mary – husband and wife – are walking away from Jerusalem. The Bible says they are downcast – ‘Skythropos’ – the original word conveys a sense of deep discouragement. They didn’t believe the women’s testimony about the resurrection and so they headed home – broken hearted – everything they had put their hope into, they thought had come to nothing.
It’s into this very raw, very real moment that God chooses to break in. In their doubt and their discouragement the risen Jesus steps in!
In the midst of their ‘skythropos’ – God draws close.
Both Wesley and Cleopas & Mary (the couple on the Emmaus road) experienced the presence of God at their lowest ebb.
For example, the couple testify –
‘Were our hearts not burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?’
When life is tough and we feel our own ‘skythropos’ it’s easy to avoid smiley happy Christians. Especially the very positive ones. I’ve sometimes heard people say that ‘I’m giving church or cell group a miss because I’m not in the right place.’
Often our ‘not in a good place’ – is the perfect environment for God’s grace to come flooding into our lives once again.
Wesley was at the end of his rope. He had little else in the tank. Cleopas & Mary were too.
Perhaps you know somebody who is not in a good place – pray for them. Bless them and encourage them. Speak joy and life into their situation. If Tuesday holds challenge for you – if you find yourself feeling discouraged – know God is ready to step in and bring his perspective onto your situation.
Thank you Lord for your Grace and your mercy and love. Amen.
READING: Luke 24:13-35
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 recognising him.
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 the only one visiting Jerusalem who does 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 they did not see Jesus.’
He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah 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.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going further. 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 recognised 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?’
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread.