4.26.2020 Worship -3rd Sunday of Easter
Open Our Eyes, Lord, We Want to See Jesus.
Today's service calls us to come to know Jesus. Do you know Jesus this morning? Have your eyes ever been opened to who He is and what He has done for you? Do you know that He walks with you and talks with you? Can you testify to His presence in your life? Do you have fellowship with Him? Has your experience with Him been so real, so moving, so life changing that it has caused you to tell others about Him? Today we open our heart and call upon our Lord: “Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus—to know Him & love Him…….
Our Closing song today is a special one you will enjoy, listen to 5 year old Claire Ryan Crosby sing 'Peace in Christ' with her dad. It will make your day
Entrance Hymn (LORD OF THE DANCE)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.
Prayer of the Day
Let us pray. . . .
O God, by the humiliation of your Son you lifted up this fallen world, rescuing us from the hopelessness of death. Grant your faithful people a share in the joys that are eternal; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Lesson: Acts 2:14a, 36-41 Peter's Sermon at Pentecost
Today’s reading is the conclusion of Peter’s sermon preached following the giving of the Holy Spirit to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. The center of his preaching is the bold declaration that God has made the crucified Jesus both Lord and Christ.
Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed [the crowd], “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 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.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
Here ends the reading.
Psalm 44:1-3, 20-26 Come to Our Help
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground. Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!
Second Lesson: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 The Light of the Gospel
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Here ends the reading.
Gospel: Luke 24:13-35O On the Road to Emmaus
The colorful story of Jesus’ appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus answers the question of how Jesus is to be recognized among us. Here, he is revealed through the scriptures and in the breaking of bread.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “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.” And he said to them, “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?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they 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. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said 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?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Sermon Open Our Eyes Lord, We Want to See Jesus
Two believers were returning to Emmaus—walking and talking along the 7 mile journey away from Jerusalem—where they had just witnessed the most extraordinary events of their entire lifetime—the Passover, crucifixion, death, resurrection! They were struck with awe and shock and disbelief and didn’t know what to think! They seemed to miss the significance of history’s greatest event because they were too focused on their disappointments & problems. In fact, they didn’t recognize Jesus when he was walking beside them. To make the problem even worse—they were walking in the wrong direction—away from the fellowship of believers in Jerusalem.
Would we have reacted this way, do you think? Maybe, and if so, we too might miss Jesus and withdraw from the strength found in other believers when we become preoccupied with our own dashed hopes and frustrated plans—or decide to go in the opposite direction.
Isn’t Jesus a mysterious man? Here he appears next to these sad guys—who had counted on Jesus to redeem Israel—rescue the nation from its enemies—they believed he was to be a military and political Messiah—they didn’t get it that Jesus had come to redeem people from slavery to sin. So when Jesus died, these disciples lost all hope. They didn’t understand that his death offered the greatest hope possible. And they didn’t believe—even after all the Old Testament prophecies foretold the whole thing. It took them by total surprise. Today the resurrection still catches people by surprise, and many, many refuse to believe.
What would it take for them to believe? It will take the living, breathing Jesus in their midst! He must appear to them. He must appear to us. But when he appeared, they didn’t recognize him.
WHY? God did not want them to recognize Him
Because God had a purpose in blinding their eyes from reality. He is not being cruel here. He wanted to gradually reveal himself, allowing them to learn certain lessons first---about trusting God's promises. The disciples had been told about these events many times, but they had not believed.
They had little faith
They had seen the empty tomb for themselves and yet they had not believed. The supernatural working of God to raise Jesus from the dead was outside their understanding. They had never seriously considered who Jesus was—and just wanted OUT OF HERE.
We need to be careful not to make the same mistake, to discount what God has done simply because we cannot explain it or understand it. While God often uses natural things to accomplish His will, He also does things we can neither explain nor understand. These two disciples knew something had happened, but it was beyond their level of faith to see things as they truly were.
Just because they knew about Jesus does not mean they knew Him. Their eyes had not been opened. Knowing about Him and knowing Him are two different things.
Jesus tried to teach them along the road, reminding them of scriptures they had already heard.
Maybe He pointed them to Deuteronomy 18:15, which says, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to Him." Or…
Isaiah 53:3: "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we did not value Him."
We know that Jesus walked them through the whole revelation so they could get it--- Who He really was, why He had come, and why it was necessary. Jesus wanted their spiritual eyes to be opened as well as their natural.
Many people will try to tell you who Jesus is. They will tell you He is one of many ways to get to Heaven. They will tell you He was a good man, a great prophet, a good teacher. But there is so much more to learn about Him!
It is important to believe all of Scripture is God's word, to build up your faith, and only through faith can you come to Jesus.
God prevented these two disciples from recognizing Jesus to convey a deep truth: Even if we were to see, we might still not believe. We must trust the testimony of Scripture.
Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The bible comes alive and there is no substitute for our learning.
So He wanted them to believe in the promises even if they couldn’t see him—but also wouldn’t leave them in that place for long---maybe He couldn’t stand to wait any longer—so
then Jesus reveals Himself! It was only as they had fellowship with Jesus that He disclosed Himself to them. I suppose he was testing them—do you want to spend time with me—even to the simple things like eating a meal together?
For it is around the supper table that the disciples' are opened and they see Him for who He really is. After the resurrection, many of the appearances of Jesus are associated with table fellowship—and especially when He offered to them to break bread & receive the cup. THEN THEIR EYES WERE OPEN TO SEE HIM! Now you see why the Lord’s Supper is so important for us to receive! Our eyes will be opened too!
What was the result? They came alive! Their faith revived! And once they recognized Him, they could not help but share Him. They were ignited with the fire that needed to spread!
Can you imagine the excitement they must have felt? They said to one another, "Did not our hearts burn within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" Their encounter with Jesus had been emotional. It had stirred them on the inside. It had moved their very hearts. And once moved they could not help but share. “Get all excited—go tell everybody—that Jesus Christ is Lord!”
All who have experienced the risen Savior should be moved with similar emotions. We should not be able to contain it. Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed."
Do you know Jesus this morning? Have your eyes ever been opened to who He is and what He has done for you? Do you know that He walks with you and talks with you? Can you testify to His presence in your life? Do you have fellowship with Him? Has your experience with Him been so real, so moving, so life changing that it has caused you to tell others about Him? Join me in asking: “Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus—to know Him & love Him…….”
Hymn of the Day Open Our Eyes, Lord
Uplifted by the promised hope of healing and resurrection, we join the people of God in all times and places in praying for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
A brief silence.
For those whose hearts are fervent with love for your gospel, that they are empowered to tell the story of your love in their lives and to show hospitality in response to this love. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
For the diverse natural world: for jungles, prairies, forests, valleys, mountains, and for all the wild and endangered animals who call these spaces home, that they are nurtured and protected. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
For broken systems we have inherited and that we continue to perpetuate, forgive us. Restrain the nations from fighting over limited resources. Redeem us from the cycles of scarcity and violence. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
For all who call upon your healing name, give rest. Stay with us, and walk with all those who are hungry, friendless, despairing, and desiring healing in body and spirit (especially those we name in our hearts today). Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
Create in our hearts a yearning to rest in your promise of eternal and resurrected life. Give us thankful hearts for those who have died, even as we look forward to the hope of new life with you. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
With bold confidence in your love, almighty God, we place all for whom we pray into your eternal care, through Christ our Lord.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with your free Spirit.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and ☩ give you peace.
Closing Song - Peace in Christ
Go in Peace to serve the Lord. Thanks be to God!
Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.