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A Word From Pastor Mike

May 24, 2020
The Stranger

Luke 24:13-32 The account is given of the disappointment and dismay shared by two disciples of Jesus just three days after his brutal death and burial.  The Passover celebrated in Jerusalem ended in bitter disappointment leaving them drained of any hope.  The route back home now leads to an uncertain future.  The road to Emmaus seemed dark and empty.   As they walk the dusty road a stranger joins them on their journey. His question surprises them. Luke 24:17 “He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’  They stood still, their faces downcast.” How could he be so unaware? Does he have any clue as to the events of recent days?  Luke 24:19 “’What things?’ he asked.”  The two tell the story, one that begins with hope but only seems to lead to bitter disappointment.  Luke 24:18-21 “’Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days? About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.  The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one.’”   The disciples continue to express added anxiety promoted by a report of his body missing and strange stories of resurrection supposedly proclaimed by heavenly messengers.

The stranger’s response reveals he is not so clueless. Luke 24:25-27 “He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

Shortly after this discourse (Luke 24:31-32) “Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’”

Do you ever find yourself on a long dusty road returning from a time of disappointment and confusion? Have your hopes ever been clouded over by things you never expected and cannot understand?  Are there times in your life when Jesus is a stranger to you?  Sometimes in an effort to comfort yourself you remember the teachings of Jesus as you consider His word.  Sometimes those words are heard as if a stranger were simply quoting what was once said. That may give some encouragement, however, there is no greater joy then when fresh words are heard from a live conversation spoken directly by a God who does not desire to remain a stranger.  His presence changes everything.  Commentary coming directly from the creator applied intimately, received personally.

There are many things that effect one’s perception of God.  Guilt, grief, fear, hurt, bitterness, anger, confusion, disappointment, the list goes on.  He promised He would never leave or forsake. Sometimes God walks along hidden from view.  May this “stranger” hidden for a season reveal Himself as He “opens” His word to you.  May the dusty road you sometimes find yourself on become the path that leads to joy.  May the peace of His word be accompanied by the power of His presence.  May the fears of the unknown lead to the realities of His resurrection. 

In His Service, Pastor Mike

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Weekly Devotional

Don't quit!

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. - Hebrews 12:1-2

In 1952 Florence Chadwick attempted to swim 26 miles from the coast of California to Catalina Island. After 15 hours, a heavy fog began to block her view, she became disoriented, and she gave up. To her chagrin, Chadwick learned that she had quit just 1 mile short of her destination. Two months later Chadwick tried a second time to swim to Catalina Island from the coast. Again a thick fog settled in, but this time she reached her destination, becoming the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel. Chadwick said she kept an image of the shoreline in her mind even when she couldn’t see it. Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. When the problems of life cloud our vision, we have an opportunity to learn to see our goal with the eyes of faith. The New Testament letter to the Hebrews urges us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (12:1-2). When we feel like quitting, this is our signal to remember not only what Jesus suffered for us but what He now helps us to endure—until the day we see Him face to face.

Dear Father, sometimes the challenges of life seem insurmountable. Help me to fix my eyes on You and trust You. I’m thankful You are bringing about Your good purposes in me. We can finish strong when we focus on Christ.