Third Sunday of Easter | Luke 24:13-35 | The Road to Emmaus



For you and for me, it is the 30th of April, 2017.

That makes it the Third Sunday of Easter,

Game three between the Cubs and Red Sox,

And about 30 days until the tourists come for the summer.


For Jesus, it is the Day of His Resurrection.

It’s there in verse 13:

That very day – the day we were all dressed up for just two weeks ago.

It was three days in the tomb,

Followed by a victory lap in Hell,

And now, it is mid-afternoon on the very first day of forever and ever.


All that is very good for you, for me, for Jesus, the Chicago Cubs,

Businesses on the Cape, and friendly visitors from Iowa.


But it’s not so good for everyone.

For Cleopas and Simeon, the two disciples on the road,

This Easter Sunday is still more like Good Friday – or maybe Bad Friday.

It doesn’t really matter what you call it. Not anymore.

Really, not much at all matters anymore.


After all the miracles, the most important one was left undone.

After all the sermons, the one they needed most had not been received.

After all the promises, the one that mattered most remained unfulfilled.


So shouts of “He is risen!” fall on closed ears,

And even Jesus’ very own Resurrected Flesh looks blurry.

Their grief is so great that they are blind and deaf to Easter.


So they will return to what they know:

Their old lives, their old ways.

It doesn’t matter.

Because if Jesus is dead, then they are dead men walking.

It’s just a matter of time catching up with reality.


They’ve left the tomb behind them,

And now they are headed to the tomb that awaits them.

It’s a tomb that they will meet with grief, fear, and despair.

Because their one Hope…wasn’t.


We rightfully pity folks like Cleopas and Simeon and Thomas,

Whose doubt, grief, and shame are so overwhelming

That they simply cannot catch up with Easter.


We rightfully pity our friends and neighbors,

Who, if you offered them a full-throated “He is Risen,” would not know what to say.


We rightfully lament the many, who have heard the Gospel,

But are presently sprinting for Emmaus,

Or maybe just trying to beat the traffic to the Bourne Bridge,

Because that Gospel sounded like an idle tale,

And there are already some very good idle tales in their Netflix queue.


As for us, we can usually rally for Jesus’ big day.

After a long Lent and Holy Week, we were certainly ready for it;

Like a warm day after months of snow.


But before Easter breakfast can be fully digested,

We find ourselves on the road as well.


In your own life, despite how loud your Alleluias were two Sundays back,

So much has already come between you and the Resurrected Flesh of Christ.


Our doubts make us fearful.

Our fears make us ashamed.

Our shame makes us touchy, and sassy, kind of like those two disciples.


And all of that together, distorts our vision.


Easter looks like the Friday that preceeded it.

Victory looks like defeat;

And Jesus just looks like some guy on the road who likes to interrupt people.


On our own steam, that’s about all we’ve got,

Until Jesus catches up with us on the road,

And interrupts our conversation.


Maybe He’ll call us foolish and slow of heart,

But it is only because we are foolish and slow of heart.


He will not leave us that way, though.

After all the miracles,

After all the sermons,

After all the promises,

Even on His Big Day, on the Easter of Easters,


Jesus will happily spend hours walking with two broken disciples,

He listens. Your voice in prayer is His favorite sound.

He speaks.

Not to just say, “It’ll be ok.” or even, “It’s Me!”

But to teach.

Unlike every church everywhere, Jesus didn’t cancel Bible Study on Easter.


But, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”


God has been saying since forever, that it had to happen this way,

And it couldn’t have happened any other way.


It was, indeed necessary,

That the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory.


Without His death, we would have a cross that is empty of Him, and full of you.

Without His resurrection, we would have a full tomb, and an empty font.

Without His Meal, we would stay hungry forever.


But, because it is Easter forever;

Because we enjoy the fruit of a full cross, and an empty tomb,

Because the font is where we die, and burst forth into Jesus’ own resurrection,

Because He has destroyed the power of sin and death,

And conquered every barrier between you and Him,

He is happy to offer Himself to you again this morning,

In the Supper where He is not only revealed, but given.


In the full scope of events, Jesus turns His disciples around:

From Emmaus back to Jerusalem,

And then to the rest of the world,

To enjoy our resurrections,

And live inside of Easter, full blast.


It looks like being here, your little corner of Eden, and the New Jerusalem,

Every Sunday,

And praying your prayers,

And staying close to His Word,

And being merciful, even toward Cubs fans, however this afternoon goes.

And having patience with tourists, however bad the traffic gets.

And loving each other recklessly,

And living in the forgiveness of sins won for you on the cross,

And poured out on you in Baptism.


We can have all of that right now, today: April, 30th, 2017.

Because it Easter, and He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!


About Pastor Hopkins