Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 4.23.22

By April 23, 2022Daily Bread

Good morning!

I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.

Today’s Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

The Walk to Emmaus

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.[b] 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth,[c] who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.[d] Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah[e] should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us[f] while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

 

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

Have you ever thought about how much journeying and traveling there is in the Bible?  Everyone in the Bible is on a journey. In the Hebrew scriptures the people of God are journeying to the Promised Land or wandering in the wilderness. In the New Testament the disciples are journeying with Jesus and the apostles are on missionary journeys.

I invite you to think about your life.  Where has the road taken you?  Imagine standing on a high place and looking back at the road you’ve travelled.  Do you see the hills, the valleys, the sharp turns, the places where the road is obscured by trees and you’re not sure which direction it went at that point, the rough places, the smooth places…  Look back and remember your life to this point.  Now look at where you are.  Can you see which direction you’re headed?  Now look ahead.  It is difficult to see very far ahead, isn’t it?  I wonder if you imagine a fog that obscures the view beyond just a few feet?  Or is it a turn that hides the road ahead?

I invite you to imagine now a road leading from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus.  It is Sunday afternoon nearly 2,000 years ago and two followers of Jesus are walking that road.

There are three different villages in the Holy Land that claim to be the ancient village of Emmaus. The only place in the New Testament where we hear about Emmaus is here in Luke’s gospel. One theologian says, “Emmaus is nowhere, and Emmaus is everywhere.”  We don’t know for sure where the biblical Emmaus was located, so we can say that Emmaus is anywhere that Christian people gather for table fellowship and anywhere that we experience the presence of the Risen Christ.

That these two followers of Jesus are not known and that Emmaus can’t be pinned down precisely is important.  If there is a story about someone who is not known, then the story is not there because this event happened to a special person who is unlike anyone else; rather, it is there because this event can happen to anyone.  These two followers of Jesus weren’t in the inner circle of followers.

We don’t know precisely where Emmaus was or who these followers of Jesus were, but don’t we know what it is like to walk the Emmaus road?  It is that journey we take to try and sort out our most difficult experiences and feelings about those experiences.  It is the road we walk to make sense of things when our hopes have been dashed.  In truth, we all walk the Emmaus road at times.

These two followers of Jesus walked the road and talked through the events of the week.  Maybe it would help them put the events of the past weekend into some perspective.  Maybe they could make sense out of it all.  They were in mourning. Jesus had been crucified. It seemed nowt that the road they had travelled with Jesus had been a dead end.  It was all over.  Their hopes had been dashed to pieces.

As they walked and talked, a stranger joined them and walked alongside them. It was the risen Christ, but they did not recognize him.  Breaking in on the conversation, he asked, “What is it you are talking about?”

Cleopas asked, “Could you be the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the tragic things that have occurred there the last few days?” They must have been thinking, “Where has this guy been?”

The stranger asked, “What things?”

They answered, “the things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all people.”  Then one of them shared all that had taken place—who Jesus was, what had happened to him, as well as their grief and confusion.   In verse 21 we see their grief and dashed hopes coming through in a powerful way: “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…”  Notice the past tense: “we had hoped.” Implied in that past tense is we had hoped, but we don’t hope anymore.

The Risen Christ was with them, even though they didn’t recognize him at first.  Their discouragement and their lack of faith blinded them to the risen Lord who was standing right beside them. That happens sometimes.

At what surely would be the end of the road at Emmaus, those disciples experienced the Risen Christ in the breaking of the bread.  The road to Emmaus did end there, but they set out on a new road with joy as they ran to tell the others about their own resurrection experience.

In The Lutheran magazine (June, 2012), Peter Marty writes about an incident Viktor E. Frankl recounted from when he was in a Nazi concentration camp. He was at the end of his rope from the deprivation. At this point, when he had lost every possession and had every value destroyed, someone gave him a piece of bread. Frankl wrote, “I remember how a foreman secretly gave me a piece of bread which I knew he must have saved from his breakfast ration. It was far more than the small piece of bread which moved me to tears at the time. It was the human ‘something’ this man also gave to me — the word and the look which accompanied the gift.”

Marty comments, “Keep on the lookout for that ‘human something’ the next time you break bread with another person. Their words may offer more nutrients than the bread in your hand. Their look may open the eyes of your heart. It might all be a small taste of the first Emmaus.”

May we live on the lookout for that “human something.”  May we see Christ in the face of the other and may he be made known to us in the breaking of bread.

 

Hymn: “O Thou Who This Mysterious Bread”

Charles Wesley (1745)

O thou who this mysterious bread
didst in Emmaus break,
return, herewith our souls to feed,
and to thy followers speak.

Unseal the volume of thy grace,
apply the gospel Word;
open our eyes to see thy face,
our hearts to know the Lord.

Of thee communing still, we mourn
till thou the veil remove;
talk with us, and our hearts shall burn
with flames of fervent love.

Enkindle now the heavenly zeal,
and make thy mercy known,
and give our pardoned souls to feel
that God and love are one.

Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture.  I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

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