Never Alone

April 1, 2018

“Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight” (Luke 24:31).

Sunday 3:30 PM
On the Road to Emmaus

It had been a long, confusing day for Cleopas and his friend. It all started early in the morning with wild rumors about Jesus rising from the dead. They thought it might be true, but a moment’s reflection led to the inevitable conclusion. After all, they had been there at Golgotha on Friday afternoon. They saw his body being taken down from the cross.

Jesus was dead.
That much was clear.
His body looked awful.

It might be nice to hope for a resurrection, but not after what they had seen. No one could come back from what he had been through. But how do you explain that to the nice man who joined them on the road? He seemed to come out of nowhere.

It was Jesus, but they didn’t know it.

When he heard their mournful story, he called them “fools and slow of heart to believe.” But he wasn’t talking about what they had seen. He was talking about what the prophets had written in the Old Testament. That was the ultimate proof of the resurrection. Jesus had risen in fulfillment of promises made hundreds of years earlier.

God keeps his promises.
That’s the message of Easter.

After sharing a meal together, Jesus revealed his true identity the two men. Then suddenly he disappeared. Filled with joy, Cleopas and his friend hurried back to Jerusalem to spread the news:

He’s alive!
Jesus has come back from the dead!
Death has been defeated!

Once you know Jesus is alive, you have certainty in your heart. He stays long enough for them to believe but no longer. There are times when we all say, “Lord Jesus, it would be wonderful if you would stay a while longer.” And the Lord answers back, “My child, I am with you even though you think I’m gone.”

We all live somewhere between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We are on the long Emmaus Road journey together. There are times when we feel alone and overwhelmed. Doubts creep in, our heart gives way, and we feel like we can’t go on. Then Jesus comes to us and says, “You are not alone. You were never alone. Even when you thought you were alone, I was with you every step of the way.”

Child of God, behold the risen Christ! You can never be alone again.

Every Easter we celebrate the great triple truth of this holy day:

The tomb is empty.
Jesus is alive.
We are not alone.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Father, we thank you for promises that death cannot destroy. Let faith rise to banish our fears. May those who doubt, doubt no more. Fill our hearts with Easter joy because Jesus lives today. Amen.

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Never Alone

May 12, 2002

NEVER ALONE by Ray Pritchard The woman sat in my office and unfolded a sad story. Barely holding back the tears, she spoke of how difficult it is to raise a child as a single mother. Her parents live hundreds of miles away, the baby’s father doesn’t want to help, she doesn’t have a job, her money is just about gone, and she feels completely overwhelmed. At the bottom of it all was the fear that the Lord himself had abandoned her. Was she being punished for her past mistakes? Why do her prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling? Why can’t she seem to find the Lord? After she left, I pondered her questions, seeking some insight from the Lord. At the core of it all is this: Where is Jesus when we need him most? Why is it that in moments of desperation, he seems to be so far away and we feel so much alone? The answer came as I meditated on Luke 24. On the day of his Resurrection, Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus while they were walking home from Jerusalem, discussing the death of Jesus. Verse 16 says they didn’t recognize Jesus because “God kept them from recognizing him.” That’s startling, if you think about it. They were prevented by the Father from recognizing his Son who had just risen from the dead. Why wouldn’t God want them to know it was Jesus? Doesn’t everyone need to know who he is? As they walked along, Jesus asked why they were so sad. The two men reported on the events of Good Friday and the strange rumors that Jesus had risen from the dead. At that point Jesus rebuked them (though they didn’t know it was Jesus) and said, “How foolish you are and slow to believe all that the prophets have written concerning Christ.” And right there on the road, he taught them what the Old Testament said about himself. But they still didn’t know who he was. When they got to Emmaus, he entered their home and ate supper with them. While he was breaking bread and giving thanks, their eyes were opened and they knew it was Jesus. Then suddenly he disappeared. Overwhelmed with joy, they rushed back to Jerusalem with the good news that they had seen the Lord. This story is a pattern for life in this age. Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven, he has been physically absent from the world. But he is only “absent” because we do not see him. And one reason we don’t see him is that we might learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Will we be foolish and slow to believe also? Just because we can’t see him doesn’t mean he isn’t there. He is with us in our darkest moments whether we see him or not. It is good for us to be alone so that we might learn that we are never alone.

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