As a Matter of Fact

It was unimaginable.

Maybe life would go on but for them it would be forever changed by the tragedy of these past few days.

Hope and joy had turned so quickly to despair and confusion. The events unfolded beyond their control – and beyond their belief.

Anticipation they once held with such certainty now seemed so long ago, shattered by the inexplicable horror and fear that had engulfed them.

As they walked, the two of them, they spoke of what they had seen. What did it mean – “all these things”? Why did this happen? What would the future hold now? It would doubtless be something quite different than what they had expected.

Luke tells us that these two disciples “communed together and reasoned …” as they walked the dusty seven miles from Jerusalem to a village named Emmaus (Luke 24: 15, KJV).

They were trying to process all that had just happened.

This was hard for them. It’s hard for any of us to understand tragedy and dreams that vanish overnight.

Lost in deep thought, their hearts riveted with grief, they sought to comfort one another. So absorbed in their shared heartbreak, they hardly noticed the stranger on the road who “drew near, and went with them” (Luke 24:15, KJV). Luke tells us that this was a divine concealment – “their eyes were held that they should not know him” (verse 16, KJV).

He was friendly – and showed concern.

He asked them what they were discussing and why they seemed so sad. What’s happened?

They stopped on the road and looked at him. They seemed amazed, even in their sadness.

The man named Cleopas asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know what just happened there?” (Luke 24: 18, NCV). The things that took place have stunned so many.

“What things?” he asked (verse 19, KJV).

Cleopas told him about “Jesus of Nazareth.” He was a mighty prophet, in both word and deed, favored by God and the people. But then “the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted”(KJV) – “we were hoping” (NCV) that he was the Messiah, the one promised so long ago, who would come and set Israel free (verse 19-21).

Our hopes soared.

And now he’s dead.

This all happened three days ago, Cleopas explained to the stranger.

But there’s more.

Cleopas told him that some women who visited his tomb that very morning insisted it was empty! There was no body! So Cleopas and others went to see for themselves. Sure enough, they saw the tomb and it was empty. But where was his body?

A mystery.

Cleopas hesitated.

These women had told them that they had seen “a vision of angels, which said that he was alive” (verse 23, KJV).

Alive?

Alive!

Jesus may have smiled, struck by the irony of his anonymity.

What Jesus did next is worth noting. He didn’t engage their speculations or ask any more questions. He didn’t join them in wonder. He didn’t ponder unknown meanings.

He taught them.

From the Old Testament, as they walked together on the road to Emmaus, Jesus expounded on the promises and prophecies concerning himself. He ignored theories and taught truth.

What has just happened is not fantasy, he told them. It’s fact.

This is not some hallucination. This is reality.

As they neared the village and it was getting dark, Cleopas and his friend persuaded Jesus to have dinner with them. As Jesus prayed and passed around the bread, their eyes were opened and suddenly they recognized him.

And then he was gone.

Jesus had always been audacious on the subject of death.

“Destroy this temple,” he announced to the stunned Pharisees, “and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19, KJV).

To the grieving sister of a dead friend, Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11: 25, KJV).

No other religious leader in history promised to defang death – to conquer this last enemy – and then did it.

He tells you and me that if we place our faith in him, we will never die. And then he asks us simply:

Do you believe this?

When he appeared to his disciples, after his resurrection, he was again taunting death.

Ha! You look like you’ve seen a ghost!

“Why are you frightened?” he asked them. “Why do you doubt who I am? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!” (Luke 24: 38-39, NLT).

Jesus held out his hands. He showed them his feet.

Then he ate some broiled fish while they surrounded him and stared in dumbfounded amazement.

Where was his body? Here was his body! Not hidden or stolen but eating dinner.

The resurrection is more than a feeling or a sentiment or even an indwelling power.

It is more.

The resurrection is not just an experience. It is an event. It is history.

It is a matter of fact.

He Is Risen!

He Is Risen Indeed!

May God bless you and your family.

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