On Easter Sunday we heard how Jesus appeared to the women at the tomb, last week how he appeared to Thomas and the Disciples in the locked upper room today in our reading from Luke 24:13-35 we are on the Emmaus Road and Jesus continues to stands before his followers in the flesh. He lets them see him, and even eats with them. He is real, and he is alive. Not a figment of their imagination, but a fulfillment of his promise.
I used to wonder why the disciples needed to see Jesus again and again. They saw the empty tomb; they heard the women’s testimony yet even as he stood there, speaking to them they are troubled, and there are doubts in their hearts!
This Easter I know the answer more than any other, we all need to see Jesus again and again. The disciples were weak just as we are, the disciples were living in a time of fear just as we are, the disciples had had their world turned upside down and did not know who or what to pin their hopes on – sound familiar?
This is the moment the disciples need to believe Jesus beat death and was risen again, this is the moment we too need to put our faith in that defeat, that glorious resurrection – we too need to see Jesus again and again, Easter Sunday he appeared to the women at the tomb – and to us, last week he appeared to the disciples in the upper room – and to us, this week he appears on the road to his followers – and to us.
We are no different to those disciples, when Jesus makes clear and convincing promises we fully and completely trust him. Right now the world is going through something unimaginable, we as a nation are struggling to come to terms with how COVID19 is taking such a severe grip on us all. The resurrection comes with the promise that none of our problems are bigger than God’s ability to handle them. The resurrection comes with the promise that God’s has the strength to carry us through our dark, fearful hour. The resurrection is not a figment of our imagination, but a fulfillment of his promise.
When he appears to the disciples Jesus comforts them, their faith is weak and their minds are confused. They had been through so much, and are still wrestling with fears. But they are still his disciples. And he is still their Christ. All that he did, he has done for them and for us.
The Good news of the Resurrection is that Jesus does not just walk away to be forgotten. He continues to speak, to comfort, and to strengthen his frail followers. Even you, even me, even now. As we walk this difficult road we may not even realise he is with us but he is, yesterday today and tomorrow, wanting to love us, support us and carry us
Many years ago a beautiful but anonymous poem was written which despite the number of times I have read it and heard it seems more relevant now than ever:
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testing’s.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
Have hope my friends, walk with the risen Lord Jesus Christ who beat death for you and for me. Remember he resurrection is not a figment of our imagination, but a fulfillment of his promise.
And if all that is a bit too much right now, let him carry you.
I leave you with a lesser known Easter hymn written by William Pennefather in the mid 1800s that prays for Gods risen presence as we gather (even though virtually for now) and sends us on in His way.
Jesus, stand among us
in thy risen pow’r;
let this time of worship
be a hallowed hour.
Breathe the Holy Spirit
into ev’ry heart;
bid the fears and sorrows
from each soul depart.
Thus with quickened footsteps
we’ll pursue our way,
watching for the dawning
of eternal day.
Your friend and Vicar