"THE ROAD TO SALVATION"

 

Text - LUKE 24:13--35 

                                                   

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR … JESUS THE CHRIST.

 

It was now mid-afternoon. Peter, John and nine of the other disciples who have been with Jesus since the beginning still locked themselves in that upper room where Jesus had celebrated His last supper with them.  So were Mary Magdalene and the other women - perhaps Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus - certainly Cleopas and another disciple. 

It was the third day Jesus had been in an air-tight tomb and rumors were spreading that He had risen from the dead.  Mary Magdalene and the other women said angels had told them – Mary said she had talked to Jesus.  John and Peter had seen the neatly folded linen cloths where His Body had lain.

Cleopas and his companion had been numbered among that larger group of followers who gathered around Jesus wherever He spoke and taught two of the seventy disciples Jesus had sent out to proclaim His Gospel.

Now they had spent a horrible weekend with the others hiding in that upper room.  Had their faith been so misplaced?  

     

The rumors concerning Jesus’ Resurrection did little to cure the two disciples' despair and actually added to their confusion. They left Jerusalem and headed home to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three-score furlongs. Two people with a lot on their minds and a strong need to verbalize their thoughts could get into quite a conversation on a seven-mile walk. Knowing all these two disciples had been through, we can well understand the intensity of that conversation with far more questions than answers.

While there is debate over which of the three routes on this map leads to Emmaus, I walked the middle route to those ruins on the right which I believe to be Emmaus.      

 

Of all the promises Jesus makes to us, none are more empowering than the one with which we began our worship service -- "For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." Jesus hears our every prayer, is serenaded by each note we sing, is filled with joy as we confess our faith in Him.  Jesus speaks to us in every word as The Word of God is faithfully read and proclaimed. Jesus is in all those feelings and thoughts that individually enter our minds as we worship.  

That morning as the two disciples were talking and discussing together Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.

  

“PEACE IS KNOWING AND LOVING GOD”

 

Shalom   Salaam

“Wholeness be with you." 

Text - JOHN 20:19—28

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR PERSONAL CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR — JESUS THE CHRIST.

 

People have always had a keen interest in the last words spoken by famous people.  Jesus Who is the most famous of all people and whose life has had a greater impact on the lives of all human beings than anyone else who has ever lived is no exception to that rule.  Thanks to what God has enabled and enlightened The Gospel writers to share with us we do have Jesus’ last words which He spoke from the cross — and, as we would certainly expect, they are extremely important words.

 

"Peace (SHALOM) be with you."

Thank God, those words Jesus spoke while dying on the cross are not the last words He spoke.  On Jesus’ third day in the tomb He rose from the dead and we find ourselves deeply interested in the first words He spoke after His Resurrection. Thanks to what God has enabled and enlightened The Gospel writers to share with us we do have those words as well. To His disciples still hidden in that upper room, Jesus said, "Peace be with you."

 

THE POWER OF SHALOM

There are some very significant things about this Peace.

First there is the significance of THE POWER OF THAT PEACE.

We use and hear that word “peace” a lot.

 “THE CONQUERING SAVIOR ARRIVES”

 

Text – MATTHEW 21:1—9

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS THE CHRIST.

Jesus and His disciples returned from their three month long retreat six days before Passover and the next day Jesus entered Jerusalem to announce He had come to conquer the world, sin, the devil, and death for us.  The Conqueror had arrived – the decisive battle was about to be waged and won for us.

Whenever Jesus and His disciples were in the Holy City, they stayed on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  When the large crowd of Judeans arriving for Passover learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

    

The next morning, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village of Bethpharge atop the Mount of Olives and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her.  Untie them and bring them to Me.  If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them, and he will send them at once.’” 

There, as Jesus was seated on the donkey, a large crowd took branches of palm and went to meet Jesus, crying out, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He Who comes in The Name of The Lord! Hosanna to The Son of David!”

 

In Jerusalem, it was wall to wall people continuing to shout “Hosanna!  Blessed is He Who comes in The Name of The Lord! Hosanna to The Son of David!” 

“Hosanna” is that most poignant of cries - “O Lord, Save us”. He Who comes in The Name of The Lord is the long-promised Messiah.  The Son of David is another Name God had given the long-promised Christ through the prophets and therefore a Name by which He was identified to the people of God. 

     

During the Roman occupation, the Holy Land - never being a place of material wealth - was in even greater financial straits.  The people were poor and the clothes they were throwing in Christ's path were a costly pledge of allegiance to The Savior.

         

To the oriental mind, the palm tree proclaims life where life appears unable to exist.  With a lifespan in excess of 200 years, the majestically high palm tree stands with her fronds reaching toward the sky providing God’s People with the perfect symbol of life and immortality.  The palm tree is, after-all, the first sign of life at the edge of the barren lifeless wilderness … life miraculously given to God’s people as they wandered forty years in a barren lifeless wilderness … life eternal that can only be given by God through the long-promised Christ. 

  

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS THE CHRIST.

Guenther Tharp’s mom was concerned about her kindergarten son walking to school. He didn't want his mother to walk with him – said he was too old for that.  She wanted to give him the feeling that he had some independence and yet know that he was safe. So, she asked a neighbor if she would please follow him to school in the mornings, staying at a distance, so he wouldn't notice her. The neighbor said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well, so she agreed. The next school day, the neighbor and her little girl set out following behind Guenther as he walked to school with a neighbor girl he knew.  The Tharp’s neighbor and her daughter followed them. One day as Guenther and his friend walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs, Guenther's little friend noticed the same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week. Finally, she said to Guenther, “Have you noticed that lady and her daughter following us to school all week?  Do you know them?”

Guenther nonchalantly replied, “Yeah, I know who they are.”

The little girl said, 'Well, who are they?'

“That's just Marcy and her mother Shirley Goodnest,” Guenther replied. 

“Shirley Goodnest?  Who is she and why is she following us?

  

 "THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE"

 

Text - JOHN 11:1--44

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR RESURRECTION AND OUR LIFE - OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS THE CHRIST.

On the day our text took place, Jesus spoke the most powerful and comforting words ever heard by human ears – “I am The Resurrection and The Life”.  And the way He said those powerful words and the situation in which He said them enabled people to understand Who Jesus is and what power He possesses – as never before.

The month before Jesus spoke those words, He and His disciples were in Jerusalem where the opposition toward Jesus was growing steadily more violent. Each day, they crossed the Kidron Valley and entered the Temple where His opponents were at their strongest.  Each evening, they went back across the Kidron Valley and climbed the Mount of Olives to stay at the home of His beloved friends — Mary, Martha, and Lazarus - in Bethany of Judea.  Staying in their home — so close to the Holy City — did little to calm the growing fear the disciples had for Jesus.

They were so happy when - after yet another attempt on His life - Jesus led them back across the wilderness, past ancient Jericho, and across the Jordan River to the far safer confines of Bethany of Perea.  

 

Then the sisters sent a messenger to tell Jesus, “Lord, Your close friend is sick” 

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