Easter 3A

"Emmaus" by Robb McCoy

"Emmaus" by Robb McCoy


217: April 30, 2017

  1. 5:38 - 1 Peter 1:17-23 
  2. 13:49 - Luke 24:13-35 
  3. 36:47 - Psalm 116
  4. Acts 2:14a, 36-41  

Psalm 116 Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Voice in the Wilderness - 1 Peter 1:17-23 with Laura Patterson

Featured Musician - Jonathan Rundman, “As You Did Lord At Emmaus” from his album A Heartland Liturgy

Tasty Wafer:

  • Gallup Poll reveals that amongst church goers, the sermon is most important. Gallup asked church going people about several factors that could be factors for why they attend church.  The number one and two answers had to do with the sermon. “The sermon teaches about scripture” and “The sermon helps connect religion to your own life” were a dead heat at the top. 

Exegetical Notes

Luke 24:13-35 - The road to Emmaus

Initial Thoughts

  • The lectionary includes the first line, last line, and response to Peter’s sermon.

    • Example: “Once upon a time... they all lived happily ever after.”

  • Addressing  a particular Jewish audience, and makes generalities that should be understood. Both writer of Luke, and Peter himself, would know that not all of Israel should be held responsible for Jesus’ death.  Peter, at this point, would consider himself to be a part of Israel.

  • Universality of sermon evidenced by v. 39 “For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

Bible Study

  • Journey- not understanding

    • How many of us get stuck in Good Friday of depression and grief or Holy Saturday of waiting and hopelessness, never making it to Sunday.

    • Trying to make sense of the death without accepting the crucifixion - one cannot be understood without the other

  • Cleopas recounts the life and death of Jesus

    • What would you include in your telling? What would you leave out?

    • They begin as blind, and end with sight.

    • Blind even though they know the story

    • “We had hoped” - saddest sentence of the passage.

  • Jesus’ response

    • He opened the Scriptures to them - but even that is not enough.

    • “Knowing of Jesus” and “experiencing Jesus” are two different things

  • Table sharing

    • Eucharistic: took, blessed, broke, gave- Last Supper, Feeding the multitudes, etc

    • They recognize Jesus in the living like Jesus: radical hospitality and table sharing

    • Was Jesus truly present with them or was Jesus present in the fellowship of opening their hearts and homes to another

    • It was not in the talking or discussing, but doing  the ministry of Jesus was Jesus was revealed in their midst

    • Experiencing the risen Christ does not come at the end of a lesson, no matter how well planned, or even a sermon, no matter how well delivered. There is something about faith that is “made known” outside the normal ways of knowing. It is in the breaking of bread that the disciples finally “see.”

  • Jesus leaves

    • Doesn’t just leave - disappears - further adding to the mysterious nature of the Resurrection (appears in locked rooms, etc.)

    • Once again we are left- but not the same, we are transformed.

    • Jesus’ advent in our lives, like resurrection transforms us, it is not simple a redo or an undo, but a complete change.

    • Even though the day was almost over, they ran back to the disciples “right then”

      • This would be a dangerous journey to do at night

    • “The church is composed of those who have been led beyond disbelief to faith by the gracious revelation of God. Their repeated telling of and listening to the foundational story empowers them in anticipation of their mission to all the nations.” (Charles Cousar, Texts for Preaching, Year A. p. 281)

Preaching Thoughts

  • Field of Dreams - when Annie is debating with the school board about the banning of Terrance Mann’s books. She argues that the books are about love, peace, and understanding, and says to the indignant woman, “If you had experienced just a little bit of the sixties, I think you’d understand.” Woman replies, “I experienced the sixties.” Annie: “No, I think you had two fifties and moved right into the seventies”

    • What is the difference between knowing Jesus and experiencing Jesus?

  • Article on HuffPost that we talked about: People Disguised As Homeless Ignored By Loved Ones On Street In Stunning Social Experiment

  • How do we reveal the presence of Jesus in our midst?

  • Do we allow ourselves to be changed by the risen Christ or do we return to business as usual?

  • Are we just talking about Jesus in church or are we being Christ/doing the work of Christ?


Acts 2:14, 36-41

Initial Thoughts

  • The lectionary includes the first line, last line, and response to Peter’s sermon.

    • Example: “Once upon a time... they all lived happily ever after.”

  • Addressing  a particular Jewish audience, and makes generalities that should be understood. Both writer of Luke, and Peter himself, would know that not all of Israel should be held responsible for Jesus’ death.  Peter, at this point, would consider himself to be a part of Israel.

  • Universality of sermon evidenced by v. 39 “For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

Bible Study

  • Thesis statement: v. 36: “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

    • There were two responses to Jesus

      1. The people crucified him

      2. God made him Lord and Messiah

    • Now we have a chance to right the wrong.

. Repent

  • Common English version explains “repent,” in the text.  Peter says, “Change your heart and lives” more precisely describes meaning of metanoia, which is often thought of as simply “being sorry.”

  • In this case, the repentance called for is a Christological one, not simply behavioral.  Repent from old understanding of who Jesus was, and to a proper response to who he is.

  • Jesus offers a new way of seeing and living in the world - a whole new world view - the Kingdom of God and we are invited to have eternal life (i.e. live fully as God intended) in the Kingdom of God.

    • Step one: of entering this world view = changing your heart and mind toward God

    • Step Two: Marking the change in our life through Baptism:

      • dying to the old, rising to the new.

      • Dying to the self-centered, guilt-ridden, never-enough, vengeance-seeking way of life, and

      • Rising to the interconnected community-centered, grace-accepted, abundance-celebrated, forgiven & forgiving, loved and loving way of Christ.

    • Step Three: Opening yourself to the Holy Spirit to guide

  • To be forgiven of sins can also be understood to “released from sins”

    • Those who are captive to sin are released

2. Be baptized for forgiveness of sins.

  • Baptism is always linked to metanoia (repentance)
    • Mark 1:4; Luke 3; Acts 13:24; Acts 19:4 - “a baptism of repentance”
    • Matthew 3:11 - “baptize with water for repentance”

  • Baptism is an invitation to a new life - metanoia -changed in heart and mind, soul and strength

    • Strong argument for believer's baptism
    • Why do we baptize?

      • To mark the change in people's lives

      • To celebrate God’s forgiveness and grace

    • Why do we baptize infants (do they need to repent or change their hearts and minds)?

      • No biblical evidence of infants being baptized

      • But the promise of grace and love, according to Peter, is for you children and all people

    • Is Baptism a gift, a response or an invitation?

      • orgiveness and grace is a gift from God
      • We are invited to change our hearts and minds toward God

      • We respond by being baptized and thereby publicly accepting God’s gift and covenanting to enter into a new way of life

  • “We are not merely born to better ethical and moral behavior. We are born to life in Christ, joined to Christ's body the church. We need a transformed mind to begin to see through Christ's eyes, and to guide our transformed lives participating in his mission of reconciliation and justice.” - Gary Neal Hansen (Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide).
  • Baptism moved beyond metanoia - beyond liberation to relationship with the Holy Spirit.

    • Cf. Acts 19:4
    • Liberated from sin

    • Liberate d for love and forgiveness

  • Connected immediately to the life of the church, and the community.

  • Life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are connected to people through baptism. (cf. Romans 6, Acts 19, 1 Cor. 1)

3. Receive Holy Spirit

  • Ambiguity of the Holy Spirit- frustrating in its inability to be contained.
    • This sermon actually occurs immediately after this has already happened.

    • Baptism may facilitate receiving the Holy Spirit but the two are not directly linked:

      • Some receive the Holy Spirit without being baptized

      • Some are baptized and don’t receive the Holy Spirit  

    • How do we facilitate the acknowledgement and/or reception of the Holy Spirit in and through Baptism?

  • Makes it clear that the giving of the Holy Spirit was not a one-time deal.  It continues to be available.

  • Recognition of God not just working without you (God’s grace), but being open to God working within you (Holy Spirit).

    • “Save yours elves” may not be best way to understand Peter’s final step.  Instead, it should be “‘Let yourself be saved!’ Here is salvation, not as earnest human striving but salvation beyond such striving, salvation which only comes as the call and work of the Spirit which both testifies and enacts salvation among the crowd” (Will Willimon, Interpretation: Acts, p. 37)

Preaching Thoughts

  • This passage begs a sermon on Baptism- what is it? Why do we do it? Why is it important? It is a religious act or a cultural one? How is it connected to the Spirit?

    • How do we facilitate the acknowledgement and/or reception of the Holy Spirit in and through Baptism?

  • Are we able and willing to hold one another accountable (ex: this Jesus whom You crucified”) in a loving way- that doesn’t condemn but invites to a new way of living?

  • How often do we allow a sermon to be the beginning of a dialogue?  We miss much of this sermon if it were not for the crowd being allowed to respond.  How could this look in context of preaching today?

  • How does Holy Spirit offer release from sin?  How does release from sin allow the follower to proceed? The very next scene is a description of the community.  The community - those who hear, those who respond - is integral to Peter’s understanding of the Gospel.  The good news does not occur outside the context of the community.

  • Even if we have been baptized, how might person today follow the same path which Peter lays out?  How can believers follow a different path?  This is not a prescription for coming to belief.

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING AND GET IN TOUCH:

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Sunday Morning”"Real Ride" and “Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Nola’s First Dance” from their album Lay Down, Lay Low) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).