April 9, 2007
An Easter story
Sometimes you get to hear those rare people with a real gift for storytelling. Last night our church invited such a pastor to come tell us of Easter. His voice resonated as he told of the story of Cleopas -one of the seventy who was sent out by Jesus to heal and preach and who later talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. We heard his exultation when he saw the demons fleeing at the name of Jesus and his joy in being part of that. We listened as he told us of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and how he thought that surely Jesus would soon drive out the Romans and take up David's throne. How he was puzzled when, after his glorious display of authority in the temple, Jesus simply went back to preaching and performing miracles. He brought us into the circle of those outside the upper room and the rumors buzzing around about Judas and betrayal and then the news of Jesus' arrest. With him we stood amazed as a mad crowd cried out for Barabbas and condemned Jesus to the cross. We saw his grief over the tortures to which they put Jesus. At the hill of Golgatha he shared his confusion and pain that Jesus, who could heal and drive out demons and even raise the dead, seemed unable to save himself from the cross. We heard him repeat Jesus' last words and wonder over what they meant. Finally, we saw a weary and discouraged man walking down the road to Emmaus. The man who had been his strength and his joy and for whom he had left everything was gone. Sure some of the women had reported finding the tomb empty and an angel who had told them that Jesus had risen, but what did any of that mean anyway? He had seen Jesus die and didn't see how He could be other than dead. Presently another man joined them and, upon discovering what they were talking about, chided their lack of understanding and began to open the Scriptures to them. Cleopas shared his amazement as the stranger opened passage after passage to them and explained the prophecies to them. Then, when they finally sat down together in Emmaus and asked the learned stranger to bless their meal, they saw something wonderful. As he broke the break they saw that the stranger was Jesus! Immediately he left them, but just to know Jesus was alive was enough! That very hour Cleopas and his friend hurried back to Jerusalem and told the Twelve all that had happened and learned what had happed to them. There the story ends. But the story of Jesus Christ continues on, and we are part of it. Praise God!