Monday, March 25, 2013

International/Uniform Adult Sunday School Lesson for March 31, 2013

           "The Lord Has Risen Indeed!"
International/Uniform Sunday School Lesson for March 31, 2013

Scripture Text: Luke 24: 13-21, 28-35

Purpose: To rejoice in the unceasing wonder of the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Luke 24:13-21,28-35 (CEB)
13 On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. 15 While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. 16 They were prevented from recognizing him.
17 He said to them, "What are you talking about as you walk along?" They stopped, their faces downcast.
18 The one named Cleopas replied, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?"
19 He said to them, "What things?"
They said to him, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. 20 But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. 

28 When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. 29 But they urged him, saying, "Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. 30 After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, "Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?"
33 They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying to each other, "The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!"35 Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

Easter lessons are always hard to teach, because the story is so familiar to most of us and any new truths are sometimes hard to find. I hope to give you some ideas that might help as you teach this lesson.

The story of “The Road to Emmaus” is one of my favorite stories in the bible, I am always reminded of a picture that my in-laws had in their house showing the “two” walking with Christ. This is the image that always comes to mind as I read Luke's account.

One of the best sermons I ever heard was based on this story. The fact that when we are at our lowest, and we think all hope is gone and nothing makes any sense for us. The truth is Jesus is with us even in the darkest of hours. When it seems all hope is gone, amazingly, He is revealed through the breaking of bread and sharing this supper with Him.

Indeed I think it is possible to come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior as we partake of the Eucharist, or the Lord's Supper. Within the events that are shared as we partake of the bread and juice the whole gospel story is told.

It might surprise some of you to know that most worship services are based on this story by Luke. First is was on the first day of the week, and just like the two travelers as we come together we are joined by Jesus. Just like them we pour out our hearts of shattered hopes and fears and our joys and concerns to Jesus. Just like the two travelers the scriptures are opened and Jesus is revealed to us through the word. Just as the two responded with hospitality and commitment, so do we. Sharing the Lord's Supper just like Jesus did with the two is our Holy Communion. Just as the two left that meal excited to share the good news, so should we.

All of the above constructs for us the perfect example of how to hold a worship service. But the most important thing to remember is, make sure that Jesus is always a part of that service.

There are several villages called Emmaus on most Christian maps, and no one is sure which one this was, although Luke tells us it was about seven miles probably northwest of Jerusalem.

Luke only reveals to us one of the two disciples names, Cleopas. The other may have been Cleopas' wife or some think it may have been Luke himself, the writer of this encounter. We do not know, nor does it really matter as the story unfolds.

The fact that they seemed to place this Jesus of Nazareth on a level equal to Moses or the prophets, and one recognized by God. They were obviously looking for a leader who could remove the Roman occupying force, rather than the Messiah revealed by the prophets. This could be the reason Jesus said Vs 25............, "You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. They certainly had no idea they were conversing with the Son of God, the promised Messiah.

Jesus was and is “Emmanuel,” God with us, in our most trying and sorrowful times, Jesus is with us, sometimes our doubts and fears keep us from seeing him, and sometimes we are just too caught up in our own situation to recognize Jesus, but He really is there all the time.

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