This is the second post in my four-part series, Road to Emmaus.
Last week we examined two disciples who had witnessed the crucifixion and resurrection. They hung out with Jesus followers, but now, they were going home. Their hearts were heavy and they were sad. They thought Jesus would be the One who would save the Israelites and be their earthly king. Now, they thought, He was dead. They were not unlike many who call themselves “Christians” who do not believe in a living Jesus.
We pick up their story in Luke 24:15
As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing them.
Jesus questioned them about the things they saw and experienced.
When they finished telling Him all they knew, Jesus responded candidly and pointedly: “How foolish you are,(dull in the skull) and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
Many folks who call themselves Christians know they must believe in a crucified Christ. And they know they must believe in a risen, living Christ. They try to grasp it and take it in, but it does not bring them a blessing. Why? Because they want to feel it and not have to believe it. They want to work for it; and, by their own self efforts take hold of it.
This is the second stage. the first stage, What A Bummer, represents Christian ignorance. You can be saved, accept Jesus into your hearts and not believe there is actually a living Jesus.
This second stage represents unbelief. They don’t believe there is a living Jesus, living inside them, who can do everything for them. These folks believe they have to work to gain acceptance, to be loved by God, to have Jesus work in their lives. They are works oriented.
I must admit I lived in a stage of unbelief until I was in my 50’s. Was I saved? Yes, since I was 11 or 12. Did I believe in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus? Certainly. But I had no idea what that meant. All those years I thought I had to work to become a “better Christian.” I believed that my behavior determined the degree of acceptance by Jesus. I believed there was this measuring device, a scale, if you will, that determined how much I was loved by God. Guys like Billy Graham and Mother Theresa were up there around a 10. I was groveling at or near the bottom of the scale at a 1 or 2. Sometimes I felt like a 6 or 7, when I would do something really great for God, like teaching teenagers about the love of Jesus.
I was teaching things to others I didn’t believe myself. One of my favorite spiritual songs back then was He’s Alive”. I sang it in our church choir. We performed it at
Easter. And I didn’t believe it. A living Jesus was not real to me. I sang it, I claimed it, I told others He was alive and didn’t believe it myself.
I think about this a lot: I wonder how many of you reading this are like I used to be. Do you believe in a living Christ who can do EVERYTHING for you? Paul said it best:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.
That doesn’t mean Paul could make two-plus-two-equal-five. Or he could turn water into wine. What it means is that Paul believed in a living Christ who could do all things in and through Paul’s life, if Paul chose to allow Christ to.
Do you have a doubting heart? Can you take in the wonderful truth that Jesus lives?
If you missed the first post in this series, What A Bummer follow this link to catch up.
Next week, read the third post in our Road To Emmaus series, Heart Burn.
Wednesday I’m posting Jesus’ Immigration Policy. Don’t miss is.