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Open: Into the Light, April 23, 2023

Luke 24: 28-35, We continue our message series, “Emerge: A Metamorphosis Moment” with today’s message, “Open: Into the Light.”

There are times in our lives when we must learn to see the world differently with GOD’S help. Caterpillars have limited vision and are only able to sense changes in the intensity of light. When they become butterflies, they are gifted with a completely new eye structure that allows them to form images and take in a huge range of colors — even more than the human eye!

My friends, we have limited vision in this life, but let us be reassured by God’s presence, even when we cannot know what lies ahead. Today, we open ourselves to

THE LIGHT of Enduring Hope!

The story of the road to Emmaus requires us to deal with grief. The grief of the disciples must have been raw, as they traveled to Emmaus, from Jerusalem where they bore witness to Jesus' crucifixion. Just a few verses prior to our scripture that Linde read today, it says they were "talking with each other about all these things that had happened."

The shock and tragedy of it all, the sadness of losing their friend and teacher, must have taken a lot of time to discuss their heartbreak.

Little did they know, that Jesus was discovered having risen from the dead by their friends that very morning!

We are on the cusp of everything being incredibly different at this point in the story. Jesus has just risen from the dead, and as he appears to the disciples, he challenges their very understanding of reality and reveals to them reasons to hope for incredible things, things like the literal undoing of death itself!

There is no going back. Far beyond the embracing of new radical teachings, now the disciples are faced with a new cosmological reality: that the one they call friend and Christ, has defeated death. There is no going back to following a rabbi who performed incredible signs — Jesus wasn't just their teacher,


One thing worth noticing here is the process: the disciples start out just walking, and they encounter someone they deem to be a stranger. And as they proceeded, this "stranger" "interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures." Even as they continued to journey, finding themselves facing evening, it wasn't until the stranger broke bread with them that they realized that he was Jesus.

My friends, when your struggling or feeling blessed, keep walking and Jesus just might make his presence known. BUT KNOW that he is always with you, even if you don’t feel his presence.

It takes 10-14 days for a butterfly to fully form inside a chrysalis, and then the casing splits open and the new creature must begin to emerge.

The butterfly can't say, “WHOOPS, I am not quite ready!” And try to patch the crack in their cocoon. Once the chrysalis splits open, it is time to start emerging.

There is no unhearing the truth the disciples learned on the road to Emmaus. After meeting Jesus again, there is simply no going back to being fishermen who live simple, uncomplicated lives. There is a vital and cosmic story that must be told NOW!

This journey to Emmaus mirrors our faith journey in important ways. It was a journey not taken alone, it had several mysterious encounters with Jesus, it involved eating together, and it resulted in their minds being opened to "understand the scriptures."

My friends, back on October 5th, 1998, I was in my second year of seminary, and I was serving as the associate pastor of The Village Church of St. Louis under the leadership of Senior Pastor K. Lewellen McGhee. I was to assist Pastor McGhee serving Holy Communion during the worship service. Earlier in the morning I led the high school Sunday School Class.

One of the church leaders, Carmen Moore, came into the class as we were talking about the Gospel of Luke. Looking back, it was as if Carmen was helping prepare my mind, heart, and soul for what was to come. I knew Pastor McGhee was going to preach Luke 4:18 and following that Sunday morning; He had used this scripture as his foundation for his Master’s thesis, “Conversational Lifestyle Evangelism.”

On pew Bible page 860, I’m going to read Luke 4:18-21, that folks who heard it were not happy with Jesus for reading this from the scroll of the great prophet Isiah. Jesus read aloud to the folks in the synagogue Luke 4:18 and following, “‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.’

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Then the gathered folks tried to throw him off of a cliff, because they thought he was blaspheming GOD.

Jesus was reading from the Isaiah chapter 61, scripture and claiming that anointing for himself and his ministry. That’s what Pastor McGhee was preaching, and as he was preaching

I felt totally overwhelmed by GOD’S LOVE.

I had never felt before or since this feeling of being loved by GOD through Jesus Christ by the power of The Holy Spirit. I felt like a drop of water in an ocean of GOD’S LOVE; totally forgiven for every sin I had committed. My heart was burning inside me…

I was literally a basket case, sobbing and crying. My friend Russell Ewell held the chalice as Pastor McGhee offered the body of Christ. I held out my hand to receive the bread and it just crushed me; and then Russell offered the cup and said, “The blood of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” and I dipped the bread in the juice and put it in my mouth, stepped aside toward the wall of the sanctuary and just crumbled into a crying, totally humbled child of GOD. It changed my life forever. As I continued ministry and seminary, I knew I wanted others to have the connection that I had received from GOD. As the scripture stated, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, I had been anointed…”

When the light comes in the Chrysalis, the butterfly gets its first taste of air on its wet and crumpled wings. How can it help but to start the process of coming forth? This story is the end of the gospel of Luke; the only thing left to witness is Jesus' ascent back into heaven.

How do you keep an encounter like this to yourself? Just like the butterfly cannot deny the impetus to get out of its chrysalis when the shell splits open, there was no denying the call upon the disciples’ burning hearts once they encountered the risen Christ.

“What changes are happening in our church that are difficult to accept — that we are grieving? What has cracked open, and even though we wish sometimes we could ‘go back,’ this is just not an option. How can we move forward with the reassurance that Jesus is with us?” What does GOD’S Word say?

On pew Bible 885, Linde read today’s Scripture Luke 24 verse 35. Please hear the rest of Luke 24, starting at verse 35, “Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

“As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

My friends, Jesus showed them the Light of Eternal HOPE!

41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension

Verse 50 And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.”

In a few weeks we will talk about Luke’s continuing the story of GOD’S Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles telling the Pentecost story.

My friends, I believe that the Spirit of the Lord is anointing us for ministry to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Please pray with me…

Please rise as you are able and let us sing our closing hymn that’s printed in your bulletin, GOD Be With You…

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