“Roll Away the Stone” Chapter 11


Did God just pass by you? That warm breeze you just felt, was that God? Did He pass by because you didn’t recognize Him, or didn’t call out to Him? Did He pass by at all? Or was it just the wind?

On the road to Emmaus, in Luke 24, two bewildered disciples were walking together to a village, then known as Emmaus. Although the exact location of the village is lost to antiquity for us today, the Bible tells us it was about seven miles outside of Jerusalem. The two were discussing how heart-broken, and confused they were, seeing as that very morning they’d gotten news from a group of mournful women including Jesus’ Mother, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and others, that the “Stone was rolled away” and Jesus was missing from the tomb. 

The group of disciples, including Peter, found the news from a host of teary eyed, sobbing,  sisters, a bit hard to swallow. Especially as they thought they heard them snivel something about visions of angels through their wails of lament. After running to the sepulcher and finding nothing but the linen cloths Jesus was buried in, and an empty tomb, they believed the women, but, were now faced with the perplexing question in their heads of, Where could He be? Who could have rolled such a massive stone away from the sepulcher and taken the body of Jesus? And more importantly, Where?

If you know anything about the things these guys had experienced with Jesus, and seen with their own eyes, the previous three years before His crucifixion, you’re probably thinking there’s no way they could have forgotten all Jesus had told them. How could they have so soon stopped believing He was supposed to be crucified, and raised from the dead to atone for the sins of the World ?

If we put ourselves in their shoes, it’s probably not all that hard to imagine, however, as there was, or, in a new believer’s walk, is a time of transition. Once we begin to follow Jesus, a time where we know we want to believe, and we are willing to say we believe, but, still not completely sold out to the whole supernatural aspects of Jesus the Messiah. There is a time we are to tarry, (or learn to “Rest” ) as Jesus tells the disciples, in Luke 24:49 until we become endued with power from the Holy Spirit. In a way, I guess we can assume these two guys had drifted from believing in their savior, and were now somberly strolling down a road of pother, and disbelief.

I don’t know about you, but, I can certainly relate to their stroll of confused emptiness. The fact that they didn’t recognize Jesus as He walked up on them doesn’t surprise me either. Of course the Bible does tell us their eyes were holden that they would not know Him. But, it doesn’t elaborate on why, or, by whom their eyes had become dim.

Other than a strong possibility these guys, coming out of legalistic Judaism, spent the next three years walking, eating, and being taught spirituality in person by Jesus himself, there’s not a lot of difference in their situation, and ours today. With so many interpretations, voices, doctrines, and views flying about these days, and so zealously offered, it’s no wonder statistics show new converts falling away at such astronomical numbers. ( combined statistics from such vastly differing World views, I will not attempt to confirm, or even list here:)

“What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleo-pas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days:” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further,”        Luke24:17-28

I can just see the eyes of those two disciples now. They probably stopped dead in their tracks, looked at each other, and said whoa…Who is this guy?  So they decided, (for obvious reasons) He was making more sense than either of them, and continued listening to Him. After all, since they saw Jesus die on the cross two days earlier causing them to think there was no longer any hope, it couldn’t hurt to have a new friend to talk to about their loss. Especially one who made sense, and whose message put their minds at rest, and absolute peace.

They  had  forgotten so quickly. They had lost their faith, and instead of focusing on the things Jesus had told them, taught them, and promised them, they gave up. But, thank God, that’s when He steps into our situations. Not when we give up and say; “I knew it was never real anyway, just people talking a load of wishful thinking”, and then go about looking for artificial means of escape to drown our pain, and confusion.  No. But when we realize that all is lost unless we cry out to Him. When we come to the end of “Me”, and realize that either there is no hope, or, He is our only hope, Jesus shows up in some way, shape, or form, and we need only to reach out and let Him take our hand and pull us back to the surface. In my case,  that meant reading, and resting in His Word, which began refilling me with His peace.

Now, it appeared He was not going to make the turn with them, but instead was continuing down the road alone. But,the Bible says: (they constrained him), saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. As they all reclined around the table, he blessed the bread, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him. This “breaking of Bread” later becomes a part of the Acts of the Apostles, as seen in; (Acts 2:42).–(And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers).

Because the two disciples came back into fellowship with Him by calling on Him to stay and sup with them, Jesus blessed them with a renewed sense of peace, love and assurance of their salvation to come, and when they recognized this, He vanished out of their sight. But, not from their hearts.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.              Luke 24:32-35

Now, I ask you, the reader once again. Has God passed you by today? Has He spoken? If so, did you call out to Him? Did you just stand dumbfounded shaking your heads saying..“Nah, that   was just a coincidence”…  Did He keep going? Or did you run to catch up with Him and say ..“Please wait Lord, I am here…Please, let me fellowship with you a little more Jesus. How are you today? You took me by surprise God, for a moment there, I really didn’t believe it was you”… I can tell you from personal experience. God would just smile and say…You think I didn’t know that?”

When we find ourselves in situations out of our control we only need to cry out to Jesus. Even if we don’t recognize Him at the time…Even if we are crying out in fear, still with some doubts in our mind about who He is, or where He is…He hears us, and will come to us.

 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.                                                                               John 14:18

It really doesn’t matter if we are crying out blindly in fear: 

And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.  But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:     Mark 6:47-49

Or, a desperate cry to just know He is there and still loves us…

And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is -I- be not afraid.   Matthew 14:26-27

Roll Away the Stone Chapter 1

He always shows up.

©paul willis-2013

Image1 by Spiritonza

Image2 by dujy47

 

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8 Comments

  1. Dear Paul,
    Thank you very much for these lessons. I call them like that because they are really inspiring and eye opening. But most of all, they made me think about my ability to recognize our Lord in my life and if I fail to ask him to stay…
    Thanks again,
    G

    Like

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