Author’s Note: For the next four Tuesdays we will look at our relationship with Jesus. As a reference we will study how two men responded to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. We will walk with them as they return from Jerusalem to their home in a small town seven miles away. On the Road to Emmaus Jesus encounters them and changes their lives. Somewhere along the road you will see yourself. You can evaluate where you are in your own walk with Jesus. You can decide whether you like where you are and whether you want to change how you respond to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
They thought He was dead.
It was a day of sorrow for two men from Emmaus. A real bummer. A day when the crucifixion and burial of Jesus was still fresh on their minds. They witnessed the crucifixion. They may have been in the crowd that stood at the foot of the cross and watched Jesus die. They were both companions of Jesus’ disciples and were among His followers. Both men likely heard Jesus teach and preach. Probably saw Him perform a miracle or two. They may have traveled with Him. The two men came to Jerusalem because friends told them this man was the Messiah who came to redeem Israel.
The two hung around for the burial. They couldn’t travel on the Sabbath, so they decided to spend the night and head for their home in Emmaus Sunday. Passover this year was a bust.
Sunday morning, right before they left for home, women who went to the tomb amazed them. They came from the tomb and said they couldn’t find Jesus’ body. Even some of the disciples, who went running to the grave, came back and said the body was gone.
But, the two men had watched the crucifixion. They witnessed the burial. Now people who had been to the grave were claiming the body was gone. “He is dead!” They said. “We saw Him die. We watched them put Him in the tomb. He was dead,” they told each other.
Is Jesus Dead To You?
Many folks who call themselves “Christians” look at the cross, but they struggle to trust Christ. They are saved. They go to church, or they don’t, they read the Bible. But when they look at the cross, they won’t trust Christ. He’s dead to them. He might as well still be in the grave to them. He’s not a living Savior. He’s a dead one to them. They can’t believe. They can’t trust in the resurrection. They don’t know it’s power. They don’t know who Jesus really is.
True Stories Of A Dead Jesus
I was in choir a few years ago with a guy who believed (adamantly) that Jesus really died and He was waiting on the rapture, just like the rest of us, before He went to heaven. I was so disturbed by his admission that I sent him a letter with a long list of scriptural truth, trying to convince him of the errors of his belief. His response was that he didn’t go in for all that scripture stuff. This guy had been in choir with me for 13 years. He had been a faithful member of our church for more years than that. He sat under the same teaching, the same Gospel messages I did.
I was in an accountability group with another guy who believed Jesus was not alive before He was born in the manger. Jesus may have just as well still been in the grave, according to the things he believed.
These may seem like extreme cases. But it’s my suspicion that if we asked enough people who call themselves believers, we’d find similar beliefs that were as far fetched as these two friends of mine. To these two men, Jesus was not a living Savior. To them, he was ordinary, nothing special. I don’t know what they believed about the power of the cross. I don’t know what their level of faith was. But, to me, if Christ is dead what could they have faith in? They might claim Jesus as Savior. But how can you have a Savior who’s dead?
Many like them, in my opinion, “have never learned the blessings of believing there is a living Christ who can do everything for them. A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me”¹
When those two followers woke up Sunday morning to walk home to Emmaus, they must have been sad, heavy of heart. They may have lost sleep. Oh, the terrible disappointment. They thought He would deliver them, then they had to watch Him die. Their bitter sadness weighed heavily on their hearts.
So it is, in my opinion, the same way with lots of folks who call themselves believers. They try to believe in Jesus, and trust Him and hope in Him; but there is no joy. Why? Because they do not know or believe that there is a living Christ.
Join us next Tuesday for Road To Emmaus–Dull In The Skull
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¹Jesus Himself, by Andrew Murray, ©1893 by Fleming H. Revell Company; New York, NY.