In our second "What If" message we will be asking a question that I am sure was very pressing for disciples who ran from the scene of the crucifixion. Some hid, some gathered and speculated, some went fishing and two walked away from Jerusalem puzzled, distressed and filled with uncertainty. We will focus on these two men (Luke 24:13-35).
One, named Cleopas, was amazed at the wrong thing. He was astounded that the stranger they met on the road to Emmaus was ignorant about what had transpired over the past week. Isn't that so like us (me) ... to claim I know something when I am largely ignorant? Life happens and daily events and troubles mask the very big God-things that happen in front of me. I ask "What is on the agenda for the day? ... "What tasks do I need to accomplish?" ... "When and where will I get lunch?" ... "What events are happening in the world?" ... "What happened to my sports team?" ... "Why does my right wrist hurt today?" Maybe all these things have their own little places in my day, but do I ever ask the more life-changing questions? ... "What is God doing today?" ... "How can I participate in His work?" "How can I love others today?" ... "What are my motives?" ... "What if the resurrection were really true?"
Cleopas and his friend were so stuck in the negativity of Romans, bad leadership, the cross, Judas' betrayal, their long-term fate as disciples, that they missed the important stuff. But Jesus is patient ... persistent and pointed. Patient in retelling Scriptures. Persistent in pursuing the men as they walked AWAY from the fray. Pointed in telling them ... "O how foolish you are ... and how slow of heart to believe what the prophets have declared!"
I am so like these two men! I say I believe ... and then I act like the weight of the church is on my shoulders. Shame on me! One of my favorite new songs reminds me ... "There is a grave that holds no body ... and the power lives in me!" That is a faith-line for me and for us. What if it's all true?
If it's all true, then my priorities must change. More listening and less talking. More loving and less worrying. More of Jesus and less of me.
If it's all true, then my focus must change. If I am to know Him I need to pray more, study more, reflect more and love more.
If it's all true, then there is a power in everything I do in His name. Our church issues become His issues. Our plans become His plans. Our defeats become lessons to be studied and learned. And maybe the best thing ... our death is resurrected into life!
My old fraternity has an email stream which has taken on a life of prayer, faith, support and love. I have seen something happen in this email stream. In the imperfection of our personal communications there is a participation in life. There is both mourning and faith in the sure victory of deaths. Friends are honored and remembered. There is a spiritual bond that transcends geography, time and (because I believe it's all true) the confines of this world. Maybe it is summed up in Charles Wesley's beautiful Easter hymn ... Christ the Lord Has Risen Today. "Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleuia, Following our exalted head, Alleluia, Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleuia, Ours the cross, the grave, the skies ... Alleuia." What if it's all true? Randy