Luke 24:13-35 (Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Peter 1:17-25)
JESUS COMES TO YOU
Rev. Gary V. Gehlbach of Sussex, WI

In last’s week Gospel, Luke described the fear, doubt, and unbelief which overwhelmed the hearts of Thomas and the other disciples. Into the midst of their fear, doubt, and unbelief, stepped our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came to them, not in wrath, but with forgiveness – Peace to you.

In today’s Gospel, Luke introduces two of our Lord’s disciples as they were walking and talking on the journey to Emmaus. As the sun was going down on this day, they were discussing the news which had broken as the sun had begun rising on this day – Jesus tomb was empty and there were reports that He was alive. Even as they discussed all these things, Luke describes them as sad. Along with Thomas and the others, these two disciples had their fears, doubts, and unbelief.

Why were they sad? Had they not heard the news from the women that Jesus was alive, that He had risen from the dead as He said? Yes, indeed, they had heard. They were sad because they did not believe it.

Text: Luke 24:13-35 (Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Peter 1:17-25)
JESUS COMES TO YOU
Rev. Gary V. Gehlbach of Sussex, WI

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
In last’s week Gospel, Luke described the fear, doubt, and unbelief which overwhelmed the hearts of Thomas and the other disciples. Into the midst of their fear, doubt, and unbelief, stepped our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came to them, not in wrath, but with forgiveness – Peace to you.

In today’s Gospel, Luke introduces two of our Lord’s disciples as they were walking and talking on the journey to Emmaus. As the sun was going down on this day, they were discussing the news which had broken as the sun had begun rising on this day – Jesus tomb was empty and there were reports that He was alive. Even as they discussed all these things, Luke describes them as sad. Along with Thomas and the others, these two disciples had their fears, doubts, and unbelief.

Why were they sad? Had they not heard the news from the women that Jesus was alive, that He had risen from the dead as He said? Yes, indeed, they had heard. They were sad, because they did not believe it. They said to Jesus – Some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. In their own minds, they had good reason to be sad. For them, Paul’s words to the Corinthians were appropriate – If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain (1 Co 15:14). For them, Jesus had not been raised from the dead, so everything appeared hopeless.

For the disciples of Jesus, there was nothing left. All of their hopes and dreams were dashed in the death of Jesus. For them, there was no redemption left for Israel. The only thing left for them was fear, doubt, and unbelief. To them, the talk of Jesus’ resurrection would be considered nothing but an old wives’ tale.

Remember what John described in last week’s Gospel. Into the midst of the disciples fear came Jesus. So also, Luke describes how Jesus came to these two disciples who were sad. He came to them and walked with them and talked with them, preaching the Word of God. As he took away the disciples’ fear with His Word – Peace to you, so also He takes away the Emmaus disciples’ sadness with His Word - O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? And their hearts began to burn as they later testified.

Although our Lord begins with a rebuke – O foolish ones! – He quickly turns them away from their doubts and sadness to the certainty of God’s Word – Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself, that is, He preached to them. He proclaimed to them that redemption had not come for Israel alone, but for all people.

Why were these two disciples sad? Why were the disciples in fear, doubt, and unbelief? Why are we sad and have our fear, doubts, and unbelief?

The answer to these questions takes us back to the Garden of Eden. Adam hid in fear of God, because he had turned from God’s Word and embraced the lies of Satan. The people of Israel had great fear and grumbled against God because they forgot the Word of God and His promise to deliver them and make them a great nation. David denied his sin with Bathsheba and had great sorrows because he turned from God’s Word and followed his own heart and its desires.

Likewise, the disciples were sad because they had forgotten God’s Word. The disciples had their fears, doubts, and unbelief because they had forgotten God’s Word that Jesus had to suffer, die, and rise again. They had forgotten that it was through Christ suffering, dying, and rising that He was indeed the Redeemer of Israel and of all people.

So it is for you and me, we are sad because we too have forgotten God’s Word that He will be with us always even to the end of the age. We have fears, doubts, and unbelief because we have forgotten that in Christ, God the Father has given us great gifts – forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. We have forgotten that Jesus has defeated everything that could harm us and separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

And what has God done for those who have forgotten Him and His Word? Does He abandon them and condemn them? By no means. Quite the contrary is true. God came to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and promised that their enemy would be defeated. The Triune God came again and again to the people of Israel. He was with them in and led them with the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. The Lord sent Nathan to preach repentance and forgiveness to David.

Jesus came to the home of Mary and Martha to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus came to the home of Jairus to raise his daughter from death. Jesus came to the disciples in the midst of the stormy sea to rescue them. As the disciples gathered in fear in the upper room, our Lord Jesus Christ came to them and forgave them. As the disciples walked with sadness to Emmaus, our Lord came to them and turned the hearts and minds back to the Word of God so that they might be comforted and strengthened.

You will notice a common theme throughout all of Scripture. God does not abandon His people, but comes to them. He comes to them in the preaching of His Word to forgive and renew, to strengthen and preserve them in the true faith.

That is His promise for you. In the midst of your sadness, Jesus comes to you. He sends His ministers and preachers to comfort you with God’s forgiveness in Christ. When you have your fears, doubts, and unbelief, Jesus comes to you. The Lord sends His ministers to turn your hearts back to God’s certain Word of life and salvation. God’s Word spoken by His ministers turns your hearts and minds to see the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and to see the blood and water pouring forth from Christ’s side which in turn pour over you. In that blood and water, you have been buried and raised with Jesus and are united with Him. In union with Christ, your redemption has been sealed.

During their walk to Emmaus, our Lord hid Himself from the disciples’ eyes. He wanted them to hear the Word of God and believe in Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection for their redemption based on that Word. Twice Luke points out at which point their eyes are opened to see Him for who He truly is. At that singular point, after hearing the preaching of Christ, they knew and believed that Jesus had come to them and was with them – When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. …Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

You and I can take great comfort from these words. In the same way that Jesus was recognized by the disciples so also He is recognized by you – in both the preaching of the Word of God and in the breaking of the bread, which is the Lord’s Supper. The preaching of the Word of God prepares your minds and hearts to burn with desire that you may see Jesus in your Baptism, the Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.

Whether in the water of Baptism, in Word of Absolution, or in body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, you are comforted knowing that through these means Jesus comes to you. Yours is not a God who is far off and far removed from you. Yours is a God who has come to you and joined Himself with your flesh. He has shared your sorrow and pain, even to the cross and death. He perfectly trusted in His Father who did not abandon Him.

God the Father’s love for you was made known to you in the gift of His Son. God loved the world, so that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish, but have eternal life. God sent His Son to you so that He might draw you to Himself. He sent His Son into the world in order that you might be cleansed, forgiven, and restored to Him, that is redeemed in the blood of Jesus. This cleansing, forgiveness, and restoration is not your work but Christ’s work through His suffering, dying, and rising again.

Now that you have been joined with Christ in your Baptism, He is in you and you are in Him. As you hear God’s Voice speaking the word of Absolution through your pastor, you know that He comes to you and forgives all your sins. As you eat and drink Christ’s body and blood, you do not consume Him but He consumes you so that you share in all that He has won for you – forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

You can join the Emmaus disciples and say – Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures? Do not your hearts burn within you knowing that you were redeemed not with corruptible things, like silver or gold, …  but with the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God without blemish and without spot (1 Ptr 1:18-19).

Do not your hearts burn with you that your Redeemer has come and that through Him your sins are forgiven through Christ’s suffering, dying, and rising again.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus until life everlasting. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a