Starting: Starting Out

There are 2 things Jesus does when we’re starting out.
1. Jesus finds us right where we are.

Luke 24
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.

Two disciples of Jesus are walking home. They’re both sad and confused. It’s sad because it seems like it’s over. Their hope was crucified on a cross and buried in a tomb. It’s confusing because reports were trickling in that the tomb was found empty by the women who went there, and something about an angel saying that Jesus was alive. Some of their friends had seen this too.

Was it wishful thinking? Misplaced hope? Wouldn’t Jesus have been seen by people by now?

The disciples were starting out – the first steps into everything afterward.

Luke 24
15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

Jesus is walking with us even when we’re starting out and don’t (or can’t) recognize Him.

Luke 24
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked.

He knows but wants to listen. Jesus wants to hear us in our own words. There's a lesson for us in our relationship with Jesus, and there's also a lesson in our relationship with others.

We may think we know the story of others and even think we have all the answers, but what if we listened to them in their own words?

Luke 24
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

But He doesn’t just listen passively. He reconnects them to the whole story, the bigger picture.

Luke 24
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Mind you, these two were close to Jesus. They had heard Him talk about these very things before.

When we’re close to our present experience and circumstances when our feelings are high, it disconnects us from the larger truth.

This isn't something we can outsmart or outgrow, as it is part of our humanity. This is why we need to constantly remind ourselves and each other of what's true. We need to anchor ourselves to the Word of God, especially the scriptures. We need to tell ourselves and others around us the whole story.

Truth anchors us when situations and circumstances attempt to dislodge or shake us. It keeps us from navigating in the moment when our feelings, fears, and hopes are calling loudly. So much of the world around us and even inside our church's own walls is built around the idea that how we see, feel, and experience things is a gauge of what's true and real.

What if that’s valuable but not reliable? What if we listen to ourselves skeptically? What if we then invite the counsel of others and the truth of God’s Word to the table?

2. Jesus opens our eyes to see Him differently, as we didn’t recognize Him before.

Luke 24
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

Jesus doesn’t invite Himself in. He waits for an invitation.

Luke 24
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

This is an exact parallel to the last meal He shared with them. We look for God in the extraordinary, the new, and the unfamiliar. But He’s often most evident in the familiar and mundane.

We’re looking for a new experience, a new mountain peak. Instead, what if we prayed for new eyes or for our eyes to be opened to what’s right in front of us?
Our purpose is not to stay with Jesus but to use our time with Him to set us up for the journey, realizing His spirit goes with us. As much as He reveals Himself to us, it's our task and mission to reveal Him to others.

Luke 24
32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

So, maybe we need Jesus to meet us today as we’re starting out, or maybe He’s already here, but we need to see Him with new eyes. It's great in here and we love being in here. We need to be in here, but in here isn’t the end. In here is for us to encounter the same things so that we can go out there.

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