April 25 – May 1, 2017

WORD

13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”  They stood still, looking sad.  18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”  19He asked them, “What things?”  They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.  21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.  Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place.  22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us.  They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.  24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”  27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.  28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”  So he went in to stay with them.  30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”  33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.  34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”  35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Luke 24:13-35

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Scripture Reads Me:

  • This passage makes me feel…
  • This passage makes me think about…
  • This passage reminds me of…
  • This passage teaches me that God is…
  • This passages teaches me that I am…
  • This passage challenges me to…

Reflection: While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him…Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

Jesus Christ is active in all corners of the world, working in ways that we can see and in ways we cannot see.  By sending the Holy Spirit to us and continuing to speak his words in and through us, Jesus is still in the business of healing, transforming, and teaching us.  Sometimes we miss the ways in which Jesus is still working because we are distracted; sometimes it is because we do not care deeply enough.  Our own self-importance and self-focus can keep us from partnering with Jesus Christ in the work of the kingdom or even keep us from receiving the blessings God wishes to share with us.

What are some things that keep you from seeing Jesus at work?  Perhaps you have even seen evidence of his work and have dismissed it.  Is it possible that you have been like the disciples on the road to Emmaus and you have actually seen Jesus without recognizing him?  Tragically, Jesus quoted the words of the prophet Isaiah to demonstrate the bluntness of the people of God in failing to notice what God was doing in and through Jesus:

“The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’  With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.  For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn– and I would heal them.'” (Matthew 13:13-15; see also Mark 4:11-12 and Isaiah 6:9-10)

Jesus followed this, though, with a promise and a hope, when he told his disciples “blessed are your eyes, for they see” (Matthew 13:16a).  When we are in sync with the Holy Spirit through prayer and meditation, then our spiritual eyes are opened to the realities of the kingdom and the sometimes hidden work of God.  What would it take for your spiritual eyes to be opened, as open and attentive to God as the eye pictured above?  What might you see or perceive that is presently escaping your notice?  How might God want you to focus on someone or some situation outside of yourself, opening you to a lesson for growth or an opportunity for service?

This week, trust God to open your eyes.  Don’t miss him walking beside you on the road of life.  The appearance of the risen Christ changed the very lives of the disciples, giving them boldness, hope, and tranformative healing.  Like the ones who were traveling to Emmaus, who after seeing Jesus returned quickly to Jerusalem, seeing Jesus on your road of life might just change the very direction you are heading.

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, April 25 – Hosea 5
  • Wednesday, April 26 – Hosea 6
  • Thursday, April 27 – Hosea 7
  • Friday, April 28 – Hosea 8
  • Saturday, April 29 – Hosea 9
  • Sunday, April 30 – Hosea 10
  • Monday, May 1 –  Hosea 11

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: [Jesus] said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”  They stood still, looking sad.

God cares about what breaks our hearts.  Our sorrows and sadness matter to the One who is in the business of healing broken spirits.  Take some time this week to tell God what makes you sad.  What brings you weariness and pain?  It always helps to discuss these things with someone you trust and it is even more powerfully healing when we share this with God.  If you are having a hard time facing some of these deep sorrows, start out by praying, “Father God, I get sad when…”  Trust God to validate your sadness and bring you into a place of peace and shalom where healing can begin.

Meditation Focus: They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

What makes your heart burn within you?  Now, I am not talking about pizza or spicy tacos.  I am talking about what John Wesley meant when he said his “heart was strangely warmed” by his overwhelming encounter with God’s love, grace, and Spirit.  Imagine yourself standing within the “field” of your heart.  Suddenly, Jesus appears with some large logs.  He sets them down and breathes his Spirit upon them.  The logs catch fire and all at once you feel your heart warmed with grace and love.  As you stand there with Jesus in the comfort of this transformative fire and presence, ask him to throw some additional logs on the fire to keep it burning strongly and warmly within your heart.  You then notice that each log has a passage from Scripture on it or a promise from God.  These words and Scriptures of God feed the fire within you.  What Scriptures are they?  What promises are they?  Pay attention to what words Jesus uses to fuel your fire of faith and communion with God.  Store them in your heart.  When you need to feel the warmth, grace, and power of God, pull these “logs” out and throw them on the fire of God within you.  Watch how the flame of Christ glows brightly within you.

Journaling Focus: Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

There are obvious connections here in this passage with the practice of the sacrament of Holy Communion.  In this sacrament, Jesus Christ is revealed to us in the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup.  Take some time this week to write about what Holy Communion means to you.  How have you seen Jesus revealed in this sacrament?  How have you come to know yourself and God through participating in Holy Communion?  What does it mean to you when these words are spoken over you: “The body of Christ, broken for you; the blood of Christ, poured out for you?”

Holy Action: 

Take a walk with Jesus.  No matter how long or short it is, take some time to go on a walk with one agenda – to talk to your Lord.  This was one of my favorite activities in college.  I would walk the streets of quiet Wilmore, KY, in the stillness and darkness of the night, pouring my heart out to God.  Take special attention on how you can listen for God’s voice as you intentionally take times to listen as well as talk.

Breath Prayer: Father, reveal yourself to us.

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