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10.28.18 Remembering the Future Luke 24.13-27 Sermon Summary

by on October 29, 2018

Do we need all the help that is available in order to know and apply the Bible to our lives? Yes and no.

Of all the five practices of faith, the one with the most support is knowing and applying the Bible. There are new Bibles published every year for every occasion. There are Bibles just for men, women, teens, those in recovery, military personnel, athletes, and environmentalists. And there is an even greater variety of segmented devotionals. Why do we need so much help?

On one hand, we need help because the Bible is complex. It’s a library containing books of poetry, history, myth, legend, hagiography, and propaganda. It was written in different languages, within different cultures, by numerous authors with varying theologies.

It is overwhelming to know the Bible, much less apply it. And as author Doe Zantamata notes, “Knowledge is like paint—it does no good until it is applied.”

On the other hand, there are some major themes in the Bible. One major theme stated right at the beginning is that creation is good and yet we struggle against sin. Another major theme is that of Exodus, the story of God liberating his people from their various slaveries. Exile is a third theme, the plotline that we find ourselves lost and in need of being found. The Law and the Prophets offer yet another major theme: How do we live together.

The Bible reveals the cycle of promise, hope, disappointment, and redemption. It is filled with stories of reality and re-orientation. Our realities change throughout our lives, and we have to re-orient around those changes, personally, relationally, and societally.

The Bible reminds us of the Long View, that life certainly includes us, but not just us. We have our struggles, but the world also suffers. Our time is challenging, but there have been other challenging times.

And this is the central point of the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The tell their unknown travel companion about the promise: “We had hoped Jesus was the one to redeem Israel.” And about their disappointment: “But our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.”

And it is a story of reorientation: “Some women in our group astounded us. Not finding his body, they had a vision of angels who said he was alive.” And finally, Jesus himself reorients their lives: “Beginning with Moses and the prophets, he interpreted to them what was written about himself in all the scriptures.”

Jesus does for these disciples what Psalm 136 had done for the people of Israel. The psalmist calls the worshiping assembly to remember the past, in order to reorient the present, so that they could remember the future in God’s steadfast love which endures forever.

Here we are given a depiction of what it means to be a Christian. It is someone who lets Jesus reorient their lives. Christians let Jesus interpret the Bible. They let Jesus inspire their prayers (which means they listen in silence before they speak). Christians let Jesus guide their lives.

A Christian, according to Luke, is someone who listens to Jesus. They don’t listen to our culture of consumerism. Or let their finances dictate their lives. They don’t listen to partisan politicians. And they don’t listen to their personal past no matter how tragic. Christians don’t listen to their abilities, limitations, or characteristics.

Christians listen to Jesus, risen from the dead, walking alongside us, asking questions, leading us forward, and reminding us of the Bible’s story.

And this is what Jesus does every week here at the Table. If you read on in Luke 24, you’ll discover that The road to Emmaus leads here, where Jesus takes bread, blesses it, breaks it, and hands it to the disciples who only then recognize that it has been him walking and talking with them the whole time.

At this Table, Jesus says, “Remember me. Remember Moses and the Prophets. Remember the Psalms. Remember that death yields to life, that good triumphs over evil, that light shines in the darkness, that hope does not disappoint, and that the divine yes overrides the human no.”

In Christ we remember the story of God’s people. It is God’s story. It is your story. In Christ we remember the future. Thanks be to God.


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