He Ain’t Here- He’s Done Gone! (4/10/16)

Posted by on Apr 17, 2016 in Sermons | 0 comments

Early on Easter morning, some of the women reported that the tomb was empty.  Jesus’ body wasn’t there.  The disciples were confused and fearful, so two of them got out of town by walking to Emmaus.  Jesus caught up with them along the way and their lives were changed forever. 

In his sermon, Pastor Jim invited us to walk along with these disciples and to “let Jesus jump into your arms.” 

Click the below “Play” button and scroll down to follow along (the recording is from the 11:00 service)…


The scripture was Luke 24:13-34.  Click the following Drop Down box to follow along.  Pastor Jim read from The Living Bible.  The New Living Translation (NLT) is shown below.

Luke 24:13-35

13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.  As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.  But God kept them from recognizing him.Window-Emmaus _IMG_0479 400x500

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces.  Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

19 “What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.  But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.  We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.

22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report.  They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive!  Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.  Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”  Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.Window-Emmaus-Communion _IMG_0477 400x500

28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on,  but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them.  As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them.  Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”  And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them,  who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”

35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread.


The two disciples had heard it all.  They heard the story from the women who said that the body wasn’t there.  One of them even said that Jesus appeared to them!  But, it didn’t make sense to these two disciples.  The were fearful.  They were confused, so they ran away.

It’s easy to get confused!

Everyone wants to be a Methodist! And if you are one, you’ll know that there’s nothing bigger than a BISHOP!

The story is told of a Bishop who was being driven by his chauffeur.  They were late for their appointment, so the Bishop was getting anxious.  But the chauffeur, being of good law abiding Methodist character, refused to assent to the Bishop’s demands to “Hurry it up!”  So the Bishop told the chauffeur to pull over and switch positions.  The chauffeur went to the back seat, the Bishop to the driver’s seat, and the limo’s speedometer ventured into regions it had never seen before!

But a vigilant police officer was on duty.  And as the Bishop’s limo flashed past the hidden patrol car, the officer turned on the flashing lights, caught up to the Bishop, and pulled him over.

But the officer was a Methodist, and he was overwhelmed by the presence of a Bishop in the driver’s seat.  He had to call his captain and figure out how to handle this sticky situation.  He had pulled over someone even bigger than the President of the United States!

As the captain tried to get the details from the frantic officer, he came right out and asked him “who did you pull over?” 

The officer replied, “I don’t know.  But he must be really important because he’s being driven by a Methodist Bishop!”

Confusion.  Emotions can get in our way.  Sadness, fear, disappointment… they all conspired in the disciples mind’s to make them forget what Jesus had taught them about His mission.  He said He would be crucified and then rise again on the third day.

They knew that the tomb was empty, but they didn’t embrace the resurrection.

Many people today are still living as if this were the end of the story; the body is missing, but nobody knows where it went.  The body is still missing.  The story went out that during the night the disciples stole the body and made up the story that Jesus had risen from the dead.

People are still living as if the body of Jesus is still missing.  But if it simply boils down to “the body is missing”, are you experiencing the Resurreciton?  Does it have any impact on your life?

Cleopas and his fellow disciple had not experienced the resurrection.


The Conversation that Caused a Conversion from Confusion…

The two disciples are walking 7 miles back home to Emmaus from Jerusalem.  Jesus joins them in their walk, but like Mary (who we looked at last week), they did not recognize Him.  Maybe they were too preoccupied with shattered dreams to recognize Him.  After all, the last time they saw Him was when His lifeless body was being taken down from the cross.

But it is Jesus who initiates this conversation.  It is Jesus who finds these two fleeing disciples.  It is Jesus who speaks first.

Jesus is trying to initiate a conversation with us too!  But could it be, like these disciples, that we’re too preoccupied or too busy to hear Him?

The disciples didn’t recognize Jesus.  Why?  Here are some possible reasons:


1:  They were Too busy

When we’re worried, we’re focused on self.  When we’re too busy, we’re focused on self.  When we’re busy with meetings and “more important things to do,” we’re focused on process instead of people.  These wrong perceptions can cause us to miss the hand of God when He steps into our midst.


2: They weren’t Looking for Him

These disciples were going in the wrong direction!  Mary, and Peter, and John entered the empty tomb to see for themselves.  But Cleopas and friend ran away.  It’s as if they were saying, “Easter break is over, now let’s get back to the important things in life like work, school, and living life the way I want to live it.”  Like the Israelites fleeing from Pharaoh, the disciples were focused on “bread” and “meat” instead of God.

What do you see? What’s your perception? If you look out your window and see a sight like the one pictured below, what do you see?

Alaska ArtShal_300x300

  • A Lake?
  • A boat blocking a great view of some trees?
  • Some trees blocking the view of a mountain?
  • A mountain blocking a great view of some clouds?


The disciples were looking for a “mountain,” or “boats, or a “lake”… but not for Jesus!   The disciples didn’t see Jesus because they were focused on returning to “the good ‘ole days.”  Like Peter in John 21:3, they wanted to go back to “fishing”; back to where they were before Jesus entered their lives.  What drives your train?  What do you want to see?  What are you looking for?


3: They were without Hope

Who do you hang around with?  Many of us like to join the Eeyore crowd!  This Winnie the Pooh donkey always had a cloud over his head.  The disciples were full of gloom.  Their ears heard the reports from the women who saw the resurrected Jesus, but their Eeyore cloud prevented them from seeing what had really happened.  They said, “I know what the women said, but___.”

Jesus took them to the Scriptures to get them over their Eeyore Complex.

  • See where there was a fourth man in Nebuccadnezar’s  furnace (Daniel 3:26)?  That was Me!!!
  • See where ___??? That was Me!!!
Our 11:00 Call to Worship drew us towards the hope of the resurrected Jesus…

  • The light of the Resurrected Jesus is the only light we need as we travel through life.
  • The voice of the Resurrected Jesus is a voice  we all need to hear as we journey down life’s road.
  • The still small voice of the Resurrected Jesus will lead us and guide us to the place where we should be.
  • The presence of the Resurrected Jesus is the companion we need as we walk the narrow road.
  • May the truth of Easter…
  • …The joy of Easter…
  • and the blessings of Easter,
  • be with us now as we worship, and be with us forevermore!

Despair can cloud our vision of the Resurrected Jesus.  But the Resurrected Jesus seeks to remove our despair.


4:  They had an Arm’s Length Relationship

As they walked with this stranger, they grew more and more interested in what He was saying.  But at first, they greeted Him by saying, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”  In other words, “we were there… you were not… you’re not one of us… you’re a stranger.”

Stained Glass- Knock _DCP_7065

But by the end of the passage they were “begging Him to stay the night.”

Jesus started the conversation, but He doesn’t barge in.  Just like the image of Jesus standing outside of a closed door, we need to turn the knob and invite Him in.  If the disciples had maintained their “arm’s length relationship,” Jesus would have gone on without them (leaving them in their gloom and confusion).


5:  They didn’t Pay Attention

The disciples didn’t recognize Jesus until they sat down at the table.  Could it be that Jesus was wearing a robe that covered His brow and hands?  When they sat down, turned their eyes on Jesus, they saw His nail scared head, hands and feet.

The Word prepared their hearts and allowed them to begin to see Jesus.


Jesus Pursues You!

At first, the two disciples weren’t able to recognize Jesus or to embrace His resurrection.  But Jesus kept knocking on the door; He kept walking with them.  And He’ll do the same for you.

David Redding tells of having a big, black Scottish shepherd as a pet when he was growing up on a farm in the country.  He named the dog Teddy and they became inseparable companions.  Teddy would wait on him to come home from school at the bus stop.  Teddy slept at the foot of his bed.  Teddy came whenever David whistled a tune.  During the night, no one could bet within a half mile of their farm without Teddy’s permission.  The boy and his dog were inseparable.

Then World War II came, and David went away to boot camp.  He was then shipped overseas for three years.  Finally, the day came when he could go home.  He simply threw his duffle bag over his shoulder and started walking.

It must have been two o’clock in the morning as he neared the farm.  It was pitch dark, but he knew every step of the way.  Suddenly, the dog heard someone on the road and began to bark.  David said, “I whistled only once and Teddy stopped barking.  There was a yelp or recognition, and I knew that a big, black dog was running toward me in the darkness.  Almost immediately, he was there and in my arms.  He knew me.  He recognized me.  He loved me.  Even after three years, he recognized me and loved me.”

A modern day version of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)!  Just like this dog, the father longed for the return of his son.  And just like our Heavenly Father, He longs for the return of us!

Along the same lines as this dog, our Savior’s love is so great that He wants to “jump into our arms.”


Once you Recognize Jesus, things will never be the Same!

Whenever there is a recognition of love, there is joy.  Cleopas and his companion made a marvelous discovery that evening in their home.  They recognized the risen Lord.  They recognized that He was with them.  And this recognition brought joy to their lives.  And just as when Mary recognized the risen Jesus at the tomb, that recognition changed their lives forever.

Maybe you feel as if you’re a personification of Murphy’s Law.  But God wants to make all things new.  When you recognize Jesus, God changes you.  Big time.  You don’t want to stay in Emmaus.  You want to go to Jerusalem, you want to take on the new exciting life that God has planned for you.  Once you’ve experienced the love and power of the Resurrection, you never want to go back to the old way of doing things.  You don’t want to stay in your old home of Emmaus.  You want to keep moving forward.

The disciples immediately returned to Jerusalem, saying,  “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

Jesus didn’t come to start a new Religion.  He came to forge a New Relationship with YOU!  Just as Jesus left the tomb, He wants you to commit to Him.

In a church’s Easter pageant there was a scene where a large cardboard box was used for the tomb of Jesus.  There was a young boy inside the box playing the part of the angel.  At one point he was to say, “He is not here.  He has risen.  Com see the place where he lay.”

But he forgot his line!  Nevertheless, the show must go on and when it came time for his line, with all the energy he could muster he yelled out: “He ain’t here.  He’s done gone!

The resurrection of Jesus announces that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.

Romans 5:20, The Message

Easter announces that righteousness, decency, and kindness are stronger than sin, human corruption, and violence.

The tomb is not only empty, but Jesus is alive!  As you walk the road of this life, Jesus will join you and walk by your side.  He has promised to “never leave you or forsake you”…

Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,”  we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what.

Hebrews 13:5-6, The Message

Are you ready to let Jesus “jump into your arms?”  Are you ready to “jump into His arms?”

Walk with Jesus and start an amazing experience!


Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…

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