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Easter 2020 – Braintree

Easter 2020

By Sean Sears on 4/12/20

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When things don’t go like we want, we tend to lose our faith. Maybe you believed in God but then something unexpected happened. You lost your job, the cancer came back, or someone that was close to you died. When we experience these hard situations it often leaves our faith floundering, searching for answers, and often leaving us feeling like God isn’t there like we thought He would be. If you find yourself dealing with some of the same things this Easter, you’re not alone. In fact, you’ll find yourself right in the Easter story. 

Message Notes:

“That same day (Easter) two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles (11.1 km or 2.5 hr walk) 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. He asked them, ‘What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?’ They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 

  • WHAT?! What do you mean, ‘What are we talking about?’
  • What ELSE would we be talking about?!
  • All of Jerusalem declared Jesus the Messiah and then rejected him five days later

 

“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.” “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. 

  • What does this tell you? He’s not so sure now.
  • Why? Jesus didn’t do what he thought or expected Jesus would do so now he’s incredibly disappointed. 
  • That happens to us every time God doesn’t do what we think He should do, doesn’t it?
  • His disappointment had let to his floundering faith.
  • I wonder how many of us see ourselves in this part of the story…
  • You used to believe but then…what? Your parents divorced, a grandparent died of cancer, your spouse left you or a friend betrayed you?
  • I think we like the idea of Jesus, as long as it’s the Jesus who…
    • Gets me into the right college
    • Finds my perfect match
    • Fixes my marriage (my spouse)
    • Makes my kids perfect angels
    • Helps me get out of debt
    • Gives me the perfect job
    • But the Jesus that wants me to walk through hard times, without keeping me from hard times? I don’t want that Jesus.

 

“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.” 

  • Then why was Cleopas and his friend LEAVING?!
  • Because they didn’t believe
  • NONE of them believed when they heard, not a single one

 

“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?” (Was it predicted in the scriptures?) Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

  • WHAT scriptures?
  • The only scriptures in existence at the time, the Hebrew Bible
  • “See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.”  Isaiah‬ ‭52:13-14‬ 
  • “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.”  ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:3-12

 

“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! 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. ” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭24:13-34‬ 

 

Why did God keep them from seeing who he was? Remember that detail?

  • It seems as though their physical blindness matched their spiritual blindness. They didn’t believe in Jesus and he wasn’t going to make it easy for the.
  • Jesus wanted them to believe with their HEART before they saw him with their eyes. He wanted them to make up their mind because of what they believed, not just because of what they saw.
  • Why? He knew he was going to leave them in 40 days and if they only believed in him because of his presence, and not his Word, their faith wouldn’t last.
  • He also knew that the overwhelming majority of everyone who would ever believe in him wouldn’t have his physical presence either.
  • In fact, he prayed for them in the Garden.
  • “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” John‬ ‭17:15-20
    • Jesus prayed for everyone who would ever believe, having nothing but the scriptures to base their faith on.
    • You may want to see something before you’ll believe something but faith doesn’t work that way.
    • You have to BELIEVE in the Word of God before you’ll ever SEE, in your life, the WORK of God

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.” 1 Cor ‭15:3-6‬ 

I believe in the resurrection of Jesus, because the scriptures teach it. 

  • History reveals it to be true
    • Started in Jerusalem
    • Spread faster during the lifetime of eyewitnesses
    • Martyrdom of the witnesses

 

“‘The time promised by God has come at last!’, he announced. ‘The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!’”M‬k ‭1:15

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” ‭‭Mt ‭16:24‬ 

“For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ‭‭Rom ‭10:13‬

 

When things don’t go like we want, we tend to lose our faith, because our FEELINGS changed, not because God changed.

  • Just because you don’t SEE God in your life, doesn’t mean that he’s not WORKING in your life.
  • “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jer ‭29:13‬