How Do We Perceive Our Future, Sermon, 04/28/2019

Ps. 23:1-6;  Lk. 24:13-35

After Jesus’ death, two of his followers were walking from Jerusalem back to Emmaus. They were focused on their disappointments and problems so much so that they didn’t recognize that it was Jesus walking beside them. The disciples from Emmaus were counting on Jesus to rescue Israel. Most Jews believed that the Old Testament prophecies pointed to a military and political Messiah.

They didn’t realize that the Messiah had come to rescue the soul of the whole humanity. So, when Jesus died, they lost all hope. These two men knew that Jesus’ tomb was empty, but still they didn’t understand that Jesus had risen, so they were filled with sadness. Despite the evidence and the witness of the women, and the biblical prophecies of this very event, they didn’t believe. So, Jesus said to them, “You are such foolish, foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the scriptures! Wasn’t it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his time of glory? Then Jesus explained to them the scripture from the writings of the prophets, beginning with the book of Genesis explaining what the passages meant and what they said about himself.”

As you know “Moses and the prophets and the Psalms” is a way to describe the entire Old Testament Scripture. The Old Testament points to the Messiah. For example, Jesus sufferings were prophesied in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53; his resurrection was predicted in Psalm 16:9-11 and Isaiah 53:10, 11.

While Jesus was explaining about the scripture to them, they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus would have gone on, but they begged him to stay the night with them as it was getting dark. So, Jesus went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he asked God’s blessing on the food and then took a small loaf of bread and broke it, and was passing it over to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus as the Risen Lord.”

In the case of the two men on the way to Emmaus, their lives were filled with sadness and despair. Because it was so hard for them to believe all that the prophets wrote in the scripture. So, they couldn’t recognize the presence of the risen Lord until Jesus revealed himself to them.

How about us? Do we have enough faith to believe in all God’s promises or sometimes do we wonder about our faith in God? It is easy for all of us to forget God’s greatness and power when we are stressed by difficulties and hardships. Sometimes we are puzzled with the Word of God, just like the two men who walked on the way to Emmaus. They were filled with disappointment and sadness because they did not have enough faith to believe what the Bible said.

How do we perceive our future? Faith perceives a future for us that God holds. When faith perceives a future that is held by God, we can get up in the morning even if we have problems and life is caving in on us, and we can face the day with warm expectation, because we know there is a future and we know who secures it and who brings it.

In the Old Testament, David, as a king of Israel had all kinds of suffering in his life, but he confessed that; “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me.”

How about Joshua, when God called him as his servant, God comforted him by saying, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go.” Joshua trusted God’s promises and followed his command so he was able to fulfill his mission to win the battles.

God’s promise was not only to be given to Joshua, but also given to us. God is faithful to keep his promises. This is God’s world, and a person of faith knows that. This is God’s world, and we know what God is like because we have looked into the face of Jesus.

Having seen and met the risen Lord, Jesus Christ in a personal relationship, we know what God is like. We don’t have the answers to all of our problems. I don’t know anyone who does. But we certainly know God is in charge. Our job is to trust and then get on with doing the best we can with what we have to do.

As we go to the risen Lord, we do receive rest and a new sense of what is worth working and living for.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).

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