The Story Isn’t Over

“Why Are Your Hearts Filled With Doubt?”

Today’s message is special; it’s not a part of the series we’ve been in, but a break in the series as we celebrate Easter. This Easter however, is a bit unusual since most churches around the world aren’t gathering in a physical church building but rather in homes. It would appear that due to the global pandemic, we have become like the early church, meeting from house to house. That should at least make you smile a bit. We’re doing church today like they did when the church was first established. How about that?

Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts. – bible.com/bible/107/ACT.2.46.NET

What I wish to share with you is important for two reasons. One, it’s a reminder to be uncommon because our Lord is uncommon, and two, so that we don’t fall into the common category of people and remain there during these unprecedented times. As followers of Christ, we shouldn’t be surprised that troubles and difficult times will come. It’s all been written in our guidebook.  

You should know this…in the last days there will be very difficult times. – bible.com/bible/116/2TI.3.1-9.NLT

Enough on that.  Let’s get to where we need to go this Easter. This might not be what you expect in an Easter message, but I want to talk to you about what happened after Jesus was killed, buried, and rose from the dead. Everyone whether they believe it or not has heard that story. You have to admit, it’s pretty amazing. A story only fitting for the kind of God I wish to serve. Listen to this.

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.

We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.”bible.com/116/luk.24.13-19,21.nlt

The day Jesus rose from the dead.
“That same day”
The very day Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Peter with astonishment witnessed an empty tomb where the body of Jesus once laid, is the day when this event occurred.

“Two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.”

These followers were outside the city limits of Jerusalem. They weren’t those who had been close up and personal with Jesus. In fact, only one of their names is mentioned here and it’s a name we don’t remember being a part of the resurrection story. In other words, they are ordinary men.

“As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened.”

Haven’t we been talking about what’s happened lately? All the news headlines are filled with the greatest tragedy of our lifetime, so it seems. So it was for these followers of Jesus.

What are you discussing so intently?
“As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along? They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said.”

A fellow traveler who, unknown to them was Jesus, walked with them and they continued their conversation. They discussed how cruel their justice system had been to kill an innocent person. They talked about how the elected officials made a bad decision to release Barabbas instead of Jesus. They talked about how Jesus’ followers and those impacted by his miracles sat back and did nothing while he was being executed. They talked about how they wish they could have done something and made excuses among themselves why they didn’t. In the same way, as we face our tragedy, can you see yourself doing the same? What if the people you’ve been talking to were Jesus?

These two followers couldn’t believe this traveler hadn’t heard any of the news that happened. How could it be? Everyone, no person excluded, knows what happened to the man from Nazareth. His story is all on the street, in every home, the armed forces are talking about it, the priests, high priests, and leading officials are all discussing it. News of this tragedy made its way to every person in Jerusalem and beyond. In the same way, so has the news of this pandemic, but what are you saying about it? 

It’s not what I thought it was.
This next phrase caught my attention because it’s where we all find ourselves under normal conditions. This is the point where I need to remind you to be uncommon.

He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.”

The travelers said “He was.” Past tense. Are you like every other normal person who heard about Jesus? Because of the tragedy of his death, the tragedy of the coronavirus, you now, like everyone else, believe that Jesus is dead, useless, hopeless, not what you were expecting or what you assumed. They believed he was no longer alive, do you believe He’s not alive in your tragedy? If so, I wish I could say no worries because that’s normal, but I can’t. Normal people are worried, but let me say this to some true believer, either You believe He lives or you’re an unbeliever who believes that He doesn’t. Let me remind you of which side you fall.

After all the proof, while He was alive they believed that He was the messiah. Now with the tragic news of His death, they reduced Him down from Messiah to a prophet. Tell me that’s not you. Tell me you’re not going to reduce the power of Jesus down to being unable to handle a flu-like virus. Tell me, you’re not going to be that person who believed He did miracles and taught mightily the truth of God’s Kingdom, but lied about rising from the dead, healing our nation and our world?! Tell me it’s not so. 

These two followers after hours of hanging out with Jesus finally realized it was Him. And here’s the question Jesus raised to them and it’s the same question I will raise to you.

“Why are your hearts filled with doubt?”bible.com/bible/116/LUK.24.38.NLT

Tragedy is the time our world needs us most. We’re the last ones who should be filled with doubt. If we’re filled with doubt what’s the world around us to do? It’s time we followed Jesus’ example. Let’s crucify normal thinking, normal behavior. Let’s bury our ordinary talking and actions. And let’s arise from the dead by being uncommon in these tragic times so that we may bring life back to a world dying from this pandemic.

And that my friend is the message of Easter. Happy Easter! 

Since we’re home for Easter, it’s more important than ever to spread the Easter message and celebrate the greatest day in history. Do me and a friend or family member a favor, share this message with them. Thanks and have a safe, but enjoyable Easter.

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