a. Jonathan’s LifeNET Survival Story
b. Reading of the Word
c. 37,000 feet and 72 hours
d. Going home
e. S&S of survival
f. Luke 24:13-25
II. Emmaus Road Setting
d. SUV’s and DVD’s
e. Standing at the casket
a. Jesus Teaches they to STOP
b. Stop, Think, Observe, Plan
IV. Thrive not Survive
a. Acts is example of Thriving
b. Survival is reactive, thriving is proactive
37,000 feet, about 258,000 steps and 72 hours. That’s how far and how many hours had passed since these men became lost. In 72 hours these two men had lost a mighty prophet and a savior of Israel. In a word they were just surviving. On a human level several things happen inside of us often when we survive. We feel anxious and often we physically become sick or sweat. Mentally we become so short sighted that we often fail to see the most basic things right in front of us. These same human acts and feelings also become part of our spiritual side. How would we think, feel and act if your life was suddenly changed? On the road to Emmaus we find many things to talk about, but we find only three characters. One is Cleapas, the other is unnamed, and the third is Jesus. For the next few minutes I want you to place yourself in the mind set of just surviving with Clephas and the two of you are walking along when Jesus comes to walk along side of the two of you. Listen to our story, to your story….
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven milesf 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.g 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,h 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.i 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 Messiahj 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 usk 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.
So you are not lost in where Luke is going notice that just before this story the women came from an empty tomb and that just days before Jesus was killed on the Cross. Also note that the book of Luke is also part of Acts and often you might hear someone refer to the book of Luke or Acts as Luke/Acts. As you will notice later these two books fit each other.
If you were these two guys in this passage you would notice several things as you look around your surroundings. For example we know that this is occurring on a road between Jerusalem and Emmaus. As for Emmaus it greatly debated as to its exact location but it is reported by the author to be about seven miles from Jerusalem. Walking in this day was not uncommon it was just as natural to have a person who you didn’t know walk along with you. For their culture it was not uncommon to walk up to forty miles a day. Today we have DVD players in our SUV’s and back then, if you were lucky, you had a guest walk along with you who would teach you. Thus Jesus walking up to these two guys was not an uncommon act and it was even more common a well versed person teach as they walked along. The other acts in this story, urging Jesus to stay with them and breaking bread we also common. Travel at night was harsh and dangerous, it was expected that a sojourner like Jesus would stay some place for the night. And despite what time of day it was, bread would have been offered to any guest that stayed, especially after a walk of this length.
As for the people in this story we know only little about the two men. Most of what we know about Cleopas is found in the context of this story. He must have been close to the 12 disciples and he explains that the he had first hand knowledge that the women saw an empty tomb.
I wonder how Cleopas feels. The text gives us a specific feeling of sadness. But the English word somehow fails to communicate he true feelings. I wonder if his feelings were so sad he would have just about cried. I wonder if his feelings we feelings that most of us feel right about the time we are to walk up to that casket of a loved one in the local funeral home? I’m srue you know the feeling. This guy was hurting.
Cleopas’ deep hurt was coming from what he thought was a broken promise. To my knowledge his story is not document elsewhere but I suspect that he, along with the other disciples, waited for years to be delivered from their survival mentality. The Jews had survived thousands of years of hardship only to have all their dreams killed off on a cross. In fact Cleopas even comments on how his dreams came to an end in verse 19-24. Simply put Cleopas had survived for the moment that Jesus would save him. Mentally he was standing at the casket of his loved one thinking about how this was not to be the way it was to end. I took all he had to survive.
As some of you might know my full time job is being a flight nurse. One of the things I had to learn, and still continue to learn is what it takes to survive a crash. Survival training is very important. For example dehydration occurs if you eat food but have no water because it takes water to digest the food. Another idea taught to us is the acronym STOP. Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan. Jesus was teaching these two men to STOP. Look at verse 25. Jesus says, “ says Stop and Think about what the women saw. Examine what is going on around you…Stop and Think. Jesus then Observes with them all the references to His death and resurrection. The best part of this story is the plan never changed. The plan worked out as Jesus said it would. Jesus came through, just as he told Cleopas and the others he would. Folks the plan is still the same today for us.
Since often we find ourselves just trying to survive, STOP is important for us today. We often fail to take time in our survival modes to observe what is going on in our lives. We act in a knee jerk kind of way to everything life throws at us. Observation of whom and how God fits into our life is essential if we are going to survive in our culture. Those who survive will be those who STOP in the problems of life.
Luke points out in his next book Acts that once we get past merely surviving we begin to thrive! Luke wrote another entire book about it, the book of Acts. These disciples found out that beyond survival one thrives. Are you ready to do more then survive? Thriving starts by opening up to another person, especially those things that you fear the most. Thriving starts by getting into a group of believers that meets on a regular basis. Thriving starts by opening yourself to working with those around you. Thriving starts by getting into a good counseling session with other Christians. Thriving starts by coming to Church more then just on Sundays. Survival is reactive, thriving is proactive. Are you ready to stop surviving and thrive? Show it in acts not words.
When Jonathan’s helicopter crashed that night into the Potomac River his ablity to STOP saved his life. I encourage you STOP this week and take the nessacary steps to move past survival and thrive.
f Gk sixty stadia; other ancient authorities read a hundred sixty stadia
g Other ancient authorities read walk along, looking sad?”
h Other ancient authorities read Jesus the Nazorean
i Or to set Israel free
j Or the Christ
k Other ancient authorities lack within us
The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version, Lk 24:13. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996, c1989.