This sermon was preached at the Closing Divine Service of the 2016 Bread of Life conferences.
Rev. Mark Buetow
“Oh, hello, stranger. Walk with us.”
“What are you talking about while you’re walking?”
“All that stuff that happened in Jerusalem.”
“Seriously? Are you a stranger in these parts? Have you, like, been under a rock the past three days? The stuff about Jesus. He was a mighty prophet. He did miracles. We THOUGHT He was going to redeem Israel but the chief priests got a hold of Him and he was handed over and crucified! Then we heard some of our fellow peeps say that some of the women had seen angels saying he was alive and couple of our pals went over there and saw that the tomb was actually empty! But they didn’t see HIM. It’s been three days since all this started and we don’t know what’s going on.”
And there’s the kicker. Lots of people can recite the facts. Even atheists can say, “The Bible says Jesus died on the cross and rose again and was alive the third day.” But that doesn’t mean they believe it. That doesn’t mean it does them any good. That doesn’t mean that just knowing that stuff means you’ll find Jesus or know where He is. Lots of people can tell you the facts, the details and not believe a word of it; not have a bit of comfort or peace or certainty in life because of what Jesus did. For that we need the Word and Jesus Himself to come to us.
“Oh you ignorant guys! Slow of heart to believe all the prophets taught! It’s all there. From Genesis to Malachi, it’s all about how the Son of God was going to come and suffer and die and rise again. Look, let me explain. In the beginning…”
And so Jesus explains to them what the Scriptures are all about. More directly, He teaches them that the Bible from beginning to end is about Him. Jesus teaches these two guys walking to Emmaus that He came to fulfill God’s promise to send a Savior to crush the serpent’s head. Everything in the history of Israel and the preaching of the prophets was getting things ready for the time when the Son of God would become man, be born of the virgin, suffer and die on the cross and then rise again the third day.
“You knuckleheads! All the stuff you’re talking about HAD to happen. It had to happen for YOUR sakes to save you from your sins.”
Yes, Jesus is a prophet mighty in word and deed. Yes, Jesus was handed over and crucified by evil men. Yes, His tomb was empty and the angels announced He is alive. Because all of that had. To. Happen. That’s what the Bible is all about. It all had to happen to save sinners. To save you! So that you wouldn’t be doomed forever. For YOU. It all happened for you. To save you.
“Emmaus! That’s our stop. Listen, buddy, it’s evening, the day’s almost over. Why don’t you stop and hang with us. You can tell us more of this Bible stuff. It’s really cool.”
So they go in and sit down for dinner. And Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, and breaks it.
“Hey! Wait a minute! That’s Jesus! He IS alive! Wait! He’s gone! Man, it’s like our hearts are on fire! It’s…It’s like we just finished a Higher Things conference! We gotta go back and tell the others.”
Back to Jerusalem. “Guys! Guys! He’s alive! He’s alive! Christ IS risen!” And they knew. They knew because He was revealed to them in the breaking of the bread. You want to know that Jesus died and rose for you? Right there. The altar. The bread and wine that are Christ’s Body and Blood given and shed for you. You want to know that the resurrection really happened? Right there. The altar. Christ’s Body and Blood. There. He. Is! Right there! You never have to wonder where God is. Where did Jesus go? He’s right there in the breaking of the bread. The Bread of Life is right here so that you may eat His flesh and drink His blood and know that God keeps His promises. So that you know your sins are forgiven. So that you know Jesus rose from the dead, that the Scriptures are true, that the eyewitnesses really saw it. Right there, Jesus is in the breaking of the bread, so that you will be raised up and live forever, too.
So, here He is again. Your Savior, in the breaking of the bread. Given and shed for you. And you’ll run back home today declaring, “The Lord IS risen! And we knew Him in the breaking of the bread where He has always promised to be for us and where he will be every Divine Service. Until He comes again.” In the Name of Jesus. Amen.