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"The Edge" features creative perspectives and reflections associated with the subject matter presented on the Current Lesson page.


Study Series: NTC
The New Testament Church

Edge #1: August 24, 2000

Bible Backdrop

The Resurrection, The Road to Emmaus, Other Appearances, The Ascension

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  "He is not here, but He has risen.  Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."  And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest....

And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.  And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.  While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.  But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.  And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?"  "...we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.  Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.  But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also 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 exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see."  And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"  Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.  And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.  But they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over."  So He went in to stay with them.  When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.  They said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?"  And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,  saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon."  They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. 

While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst.  But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.  And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."  And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.  While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"  They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.  Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.  While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.   (Luke 24:1-9, 13-17a, 21-53 NASB, emphasis added)

When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.  These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
(Acts 1:9-14 NASB, emphasis added)



Inspector Edge

Would you recognize Jesus if you saw Him?  And how would you respond to Him?  It was Jesus that made Himself known to the people that He appeared to during this time period.  Not much has changed today for it is the Father Himself that enables us to recognize His son.  He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."  (Matthew 16:15-18 NASB)  He prompts us to remember or recall His words and to understand what they mean.  It is He that opens our eyes to what is truth.  We don't "find God" as so many egocentric mentalities proclaim.  He finds us.  Sure we can look for God, and we are to seek Him continually, and we may at times even seek Him in the wrong places or in the wrong ways.  But it is He that redirects our thinking to the right path and He reminds us of His promises.  He makes our hearts burn within us and He alleviates our doubts.  It is even He that causes our heart to well up inside with joy.  

Our responsibility lies in our response to Him and it is in that collective response that the church is created.  It is not about a building, pews, or one-day-a-week services that start and end 'on time'.  The early church was started with great joy and with one mind, with the members continually praising God and devoting themselves to prayer.  That's the foundation of the church.  We could learn a lot from our founders!  The church is about the body of Christ and the body of Christ is made up of  people.  For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  (1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NASB)  

 "Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?  Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread."  (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 NASB)   Above in Luke we saw Jesus taking bread and blessing it, then breaking it, then giving it to the two men.  The men had to receive the bread, or accept it, when it was given to them.  Sure it sounds common sensible, but consider this - the bread symbolizes the body of Christ, and his body was broken on the cross.  It wasn't until after this incredible sacrifice that people could partake of this bread, i.e. the giving of what may be referred to as the 'bread of life', or Christ Himself.  "I am the bread of life." (John 6:48 NASB)  In the same way that the two men had to accept the bread at the dinner table, people have to accept Jesus.  And as the story goes..."Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him..." (Luke 24:31a  NASB, emphasis added)  So we're back to the original question, would you recognize Jesus???


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Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.