Text: Luke 24:13-35
For the first time in three years of my stay in Manila have I encountered a taxi driver listening to a non-commercial Christian radio. I was on the process of rewriting a message (in my mind). While traversing the busy highway, manong (respect for elderly) and I had a fruitful conversation about our faiths. He was so passionate to share about his ministry as a taxi driver and he even gave me “points to remember in making a sermon.”
How many of us here care to talk with the people we encounter every single day? Do we talk only to those whom we know? Or do we also accommodate conversations with new people?
In that short conversation I had with manong driver, God led me to understanding two journey (backpack) essentials:
We are all fond of being FORGETFUL. Whether as a child or an adult, we tend to forget things. And often we use our forgetfulness as an excuse for not accomplishing things accordingly.
But we’re not alone. In fact, in verses 18-24, Cleopas and the other disciple with him walking, wearing sad faces, mourning because of Jesus’ death, met a stranger, who is Jesus but they did not recognize Him. When Jesus asked why they look sad, Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?… Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, 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. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
One of the things that God commanded the Israelites to do throughout their history was to REMEMBER. They set up stones or altars to mark significant events. They wrote songs, they held feasts of remembrance and were COMMANDED to tell their children. To remember is to see the work of God and to be reassured of his presence with them. (Olipant, K. There is no small call.)
As a faith community and as parts of the body of Christ, we are also commanded to remember.
Of course, every memory comes from experience. Memory is the power of the mind to remember things or recalling experiences. Memories come from experiences.
Take a moment to trace how God first called you as His child, whether you were six, sixteen, or it happened 10 minutes ago. What are some of the significant moments along your journey? How does looking back at the good and bad moments in your life help strengthen your faith in God? (Olipant, K. There is no small call.)
I would never forget the face of the woman, who despite nothingness—poor, an outcast of their community because she’s Christian, with a sick husband, a not so safe shelter, and with disability—still manage to smile with purity and joy. That even in her circumstance, she never stops praising and thanking the Lord. Our team in that mission trip came to bring help, but in the end, it was us who were truly blessed. God struck me straight to the heart when I looked at her. I know how the two disciples felt when the stranger (Jesus) replied to them (in verses 25-27), “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?”
When we ask God, “Why me, Lord?” when we’re in a difficult situation, we are like the two disciples, who Jesus described as, “foolish ones and slow of heart to believe…” Are we praising God only when things go according to our plan? Or when we’re lying on a bed of roses? And when disaster struck, we question God, “why?”
God did not stop at rebuking the two disciples. In fact, He spent the whole time REMINDING them of what was WRITTEN on the SCRIPTURES: “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” How much time do we spend in reading the Bible every day? Three hours? How about two hours? One hour? Lower? The Bible is full of recorded memories of God’s people who experienced God’s power in their lives. We should start reading and living them.
God’s COMMAND to REMEMBER is not only limited to the Israelites. It TRANSCENDS to those who believe and follow Him, whom God calls His disciples. The CROSS where Jesus Christ died once and for all for the forgiveness of our sins is A MARK of a SIGNIFICANT EVENT that transforms the world for all generation. As people of GOD, we are called to REMEMBER.
Write songs, write your testimonies. COMMUNE with other believers. REMEMBER and TELL everyone around you, including strangers you encounter, about GOD’S WORK AND PRESENCE in us (vv. 33, 35).
In one of our cross cultural conversations, my German friend shared her observation at all airports worldwide. This friend is well traveled and visited more than 40 countries.
She observed, “Westerners spend time waiting at the airport reading, listening to their ipods, or just sitting and enjoying their personal spaces. But Asians don’t, especially Filipinos. I know when I see one. Filipinos love to start conversations, meet new friends, talk… and take photos of everything!” My friend calls herself Filipino after serving in the country for four years.
We Filipinos describe ourselves as relational people. We smile to random persons. We nod to everybody. We can’t resist initiating conversations wherever we are. Well, as Christians, God has called us to be relational too He is a very intimate God and He wants to be in constant conversation with us.
In our text, we see that the disciples became eager to listen to their new found companion because of the wisdom He shared to them. Their friendship grew that as they reached the village where they’re heading, the two disciples “urged Him strongly, saying, ‘stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.” (verses 29-30)
A friend once shared, “There’s no such thing as a soloist Christian.” We all need companion/s in our life journey. Jesus provided a very good companion for the two disciples when He appeared to them. A very good one, indeed, that caused the two disciples say to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (verse 32)
Why did their hearts burn? Why, despite the stranger’s tag to them as “foolish ones and slow in heart,” they still welcomed him and even asked him to stay with them over the night?
“At what moment this past week did you feel closest to Christ?” (excerpt from Walk to Emmaus Reunion Card guide question)
Fantine of Les Miserables sang, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Relationship is driven by LOVE. With us Christians, we call it AGAPE, a Greek word that perfectly describes the kind of love Jesus Christ has for his Father and for his followers: Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. (John 14:21, NIV)
Our Creator God has designed us as a community overflowing with love for God and His people. And through that love, we build relationships to the people around, including strangers—love that transcends status, gender, sexuality, culture, race, nationality, etc.; love that is eternal.
Memories and Relationships
Memories and relationships are essential in our journey in this life. Gradually, through tough and joyful times, I learned to love and know love, and continually discovering love and seeing love in each of God’s creation.
The Gospel is so powerful, yet we sometimes look past it because it’s familiar or we think of it as the beginning place in our faith.
Why is it so important to keep the gospel central and fresh in our minds even after lifetimes of walking with God?
God is calling us into relationship with Him and commanded us to REMEMBER what He has done for us. I have just shared a part of my life memories and my growing relationship with the Lord, now it’s time for you to do the same to others! Let us be like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who stood up immediately after their eyes were opened that they were with Jesus, and went to the rest of the disciples to share the Good News!
Before I got off the taxi, I learned that manong driver is also a Bible school student, on his third year, and currently handling a mission church. Not only did I have time with my cousins but also made friends and prayer companion with a stranger.
How do you see evidence in your life of God calling you to relationship? Remember your call story.