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A New Mission | Luke 24:46-49

He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49

I hate sitting in the unknown. I tend to get anxious and impatient. I find myself thinking, “If only I knew what was coming, I could work to prepare for it.” I just want to get there and get going!

Jesus has just appeared to the Disciples and reminded them that His resurrection is fulfilling what the prophets had written about Himself. In doing so, Jesus is bringing the forgiveness of sins- so long as we repent to Him. Then He previews the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples, but tells them they need to wait. At this moment, the Disciples are probably getting uncomfortable, knowing that they are to go out and spread the good news of Jesus, but having to wait before they go. What the Disciples didn’t know was that the Holy Spirit was about to move amongst each of them, giving them the ability to share Jesus’s teachings and forgiveness with the entire world, regardless of language and in one day bringing 3,000 new followers to Jesus (Acts 2:41).

Jesus calls us to share His teachings with everyone in the world, making disciples of all people and obeying His commands (Matthew 28:16-20). Think about how you can work to fulfill this calling today. How are you able to share the Gospel message with all ends of the Earth? Look into South’s local ministry partners and see if God is prompting you to get involved with one of them.

By John Egland

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A New Mission | Luke 24:46-492021-07-22T13:58:22-06:00

Scripture Fulfilled | Luke 24:44-47

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:44-47 NIV

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23 NIV

For the second time that same day, Jesus explained from the scriptures about how he had to die so the sins of men could be forgiven. This time, he was explaining the message he wants his followers to share with Jerusalem and with all people – Jews and Gentiles. “He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,’” Luke 24:44-47. Jesus used Scripture from different places in the Old Testament to explain how He had to die, rise again so that all people could have the opportunity to respond to His sacrifice with repentance and receive forgiveness from sin.

Some of the scriptures He might have used are Isaiah 53, Isaiah 49:6-7, Psalm 22, Psalm 16:9-11, Genesis 12:1-3, and Exodus 19:5-6. All of these passages refer to different aspects of prophecy about the Messiah and about God’s intent for His people. Read several of these passages and look for the promises God has made to His people, and to us. Look for the language used to describe Messiah’s suffering and the sacrifice required for the forgiveness of sin. Thank Jesus for being that perfect sacrifice – the atonement for all of our sin. Examine your heart, in light of these verses, confess any sin, and accept the forgiveness His shed blood offers to you and to me.

By Grace Hunter

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Scripture Fulfilled | Luke 24:44-472021-07-22T13:54:49-06:00

Joy and Amazement | Luke 24:40-43

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. Luke 24:40-43

Have you ever received news that was so amazing you couldn’t believe it? We might be excited and joyful, but approach the news with trepidation until we know for sure it’s real; in other words, we believe it when we see it.

The Disciples are in a similar situation. Their friend, teacher, and Messiah has returned to them, but they still cannot quite believe it. Even after showing them His scarred hands and feet, they continue in joy, but hesitation. To relieve them of their doubt, Jesus asks for something simple…a bite to eat.

When Jesus takes the fish and eats it, He provides them with tangible proof of His Resurrection. The Disciples thought if He was just a spirit, He would not have been able to eat. By eating the fish, He lifts the fear off of their hearts; showing them that He is in fact their friend. This allows them to truly rejoice and bask in His presence.

Take some time today to rejoice in joy and amazement like the Disciples. Listen to your favorite worship song and give thanks to the Lord who created everything on Earth, who sent His only Son as a payment for our sins, and who continues to create and shepherd us throughout our lives. If you’re having trouble deciding which song to listen to, listen to “Nobody Like You” by Red Rocks Worship or “Good Grace” by Hillsong and give thanks for His amazing works.

By John Egland

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Joy and Amazement | Luke 24:40-432021-07-22T12:44:42-06:00

Blessed in Belief | Luke 24:37-39; John 20:20-29

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Luke 24:37-39

Minutes ago, the disciples were sharing the wonderful news that they had seen the risen Christ. The women’s report was proved true, Jesus was alive! And then Jesus appears among them and they are “startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost” (v. 37). They know the reality of the situation- Jesus is alive. They have been telling each other the reality of the situation. But clearly, by their reaction when they actually see Jesus, they don’t fully understand or believe the reality of the situation. What holds them back? They are startled and frightened by a sudden appearance. Jesus’ resurrection is certainly not what they were expecting and they are probably still wrapping their minds around what that means. But regardless, in this moment they hold back from fully embracing the full implications of who Jesus is and what he has done.

Jesus clearly knows their doubts and hesitation. In his grace, he gives them physical signs- like seeing his wounds in his hands and eating fish- to help them understand and fully believe. One of the most famous examples of this is Jesus’ interaction with Thomas in John 20:24-29. Thomas is apparently not present during Jesus’ appearance in Luke 24 and therefore tells the other disciples “unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (v. 25). Of course, Jesus gives him that very opportunity and Thomas believes, declaring “my Lord and my God!” (v. 28).

Unlike Thomas, we don’t have the ability to see Jesus’ scars with our own eyes, at least on this side of eternity. Yet Jesus still says, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v. 29). We are the ones that Jesus calls blessed! Today, let your soul rest in the knowledge of Jesus’ blessing. If your faith feels weak today, like believing is a struggle, tell Jesus about it. Ask him to hold and strengthen you today.

By Jessica Rust

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Blessed in Belief | Luke 24:37-39; John 20:20-292021-07-22T14:12:37-06:00

A Surprise Appearance | Luke 24:36

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. Jesus Appears to the Disciples While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Luke 24:33-36 NIV

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2 NIV

I love to watch news stories about a child being surprised by their deployed parent suddenly turning up at the child’s birthday party, or a special moment at school. The look of pure joy, love, amazement on the child’s face always brings tears to my eyes.

The people gathered in Jerusalem on this Sunday night have just received a similar surprise. John tells us a few more of the details. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord,” John 20:19-20.

This first day of the week, Sunday, had been filled with different people seeing and talking with Jesus in various places. Jesus appeared to the women at the tomb early in the morning, then to Mary Magdalene nearby. Peter also saw him and the two on the road to Emmaus had a conversation with him. But this is the largest group by far to see him at once. Luke tells us the two who went to Emmaus, “…got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread,” Luke 24:33-35. The disciples and others with them were confused, frightened, and cautiously excited by all these sightings and conversations. Perhaps their dashed hope that the kingdom of God was on the brink of being ushered into their world was beginning to be renewed. Certainly, once they saw Jesus appear and greet them – they realized Jesus had a different kind of body.

Jesus made a disruptive entrance – interrupted their discussion – in order to give them an unsettling message about their future. Has your life had a surprising detour lately? Have you had one in the past? Make yourself available to God – to share Jesus’ love with others in this disruption to your plans.

By Grace Hunter

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A Surprise Appearance | Luke 24:362021-07-22T12:37:21-06:00

Emmaus Illustrated | Luke 24:13-32

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 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?” Luke 24:30-32

For centuries, scripture has inspired artists (visual, musical, or otherwise) in their craft, and art has inspired its audience in a new way to understand the stories of scripture.

Take a minute to meditate on these works by Rembrandt or Caravaggio, or read this poem by Denise Levertov. What do you notice about the work you chose? What resonates with you? Read through the passage again with your painting or poem in mind. Does it change how you read the story? If you’re feeling particularly inspired, try making your own piece of art based on the road to Emmaus.

By Jessica Rust

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Emmaus Illustrated | Luke 24:13-322021-07-15T15:55:10-06:00

The Dinner That’s Not Really A Dinner | Luke 24:30-35

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. Luke 24:30-35

Have you ever had something you just had to tell someone? Maybe you got a promotion or maybe you found out you were going on a surprise vacation! Nowadays, we tend to get excited and share our news over social media; instantly telling our friends, followers, and acquaintances all of the good news in our lives.

These two disciples had a similar experience (and I bet they wish they had Twitter to immediately share their good news with everyone around). After Jesus journeyed with them to an inn, He sat down and shared a meal with them. As He broke the bread, the disciples’ eyes were opened and realized that it was Jesus who was dining with them. Without even finishing their dinner they got up and ran nearly seven miles to tell the other disciples about Jesus’ return.

When we encounter Jesus, something changes in our hearts. We are filled with this sense of joy and love that is so great and overflowing that we end up needing to tell people about it! This is the core basis of the Great Commission in Matthew 28: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” As we follow and experience Jesus, we are called to share those experiences and work to bring others into His love and grace. Today, look for an opportunity to share what Jesus is doing in your life with someone, whether it be a family member, coworker, or stranger in a coffee shop. Then ask how you can pray for that person and ask God to help them experience His love in their lives today.

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us. Thank You for the death and resurrection that has freed us from our sins and brought us into Your everlasting love and redemption. Help us to share this love with others today in order to help bring them closer to You. In Your mighty name, Amen.

By John Egland

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The Dinner That’s Not Really A Dinner | Luke 24:30-352021-07-15T15:49:12-06:00

Explaining it All | Luke 24:25-27

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. Luke 24:25-27

When I look forward to vacations, events or other gatherings, I tend to get in my head about what they’re going to look like. If something doesn’t pan out the way I thought it would, I can be completely thrown off. Have you ever experienced this? Unmet expectations can affect how I feel in the moment, taking truly amazing experiences and manipulating them into something disappointing in my mind. It often takes good conversations with friends and family to readjust my mindset and help bring me back to enjoying what we are doing.

Throughout Jesus’ teachings with the disciples, He foreshadows His death and resurrection while pointing to the scriptures, reinforcing that He is the Messiah. In his Gospel, John references how Jesus’ actions worked to fulfil the prophets and mark Him as the Messiah. Although many of His disciples had been present during these teachings, His death massively shook them to their core. In that time, many left! They decided He must have been just another prophet to come and go without freeing the Jews from the Romans. They had built an expectation of Him in their heads, not understanding His own teachings in the process and forgetting He had told them about His resurrection multiple times.

To address this, Jesus starts at the beginning with two disciples, reviewing with them everything the prophets foretold about Him and the acts He had performed during His teaching. In doing so, Jesus emphasizes the importance of reading and understanding scripture. He also teaches us to entrust our hopes to God and listen to Him as He speaks into our lives. As we do that, we begin to hear God’s voice and His plan for our lives. Today, think about what hopes you’ve put aside that, when looking back, God was or is still moving in. Take the time to sit in prayer, thanking God for working in your past hopes and for Him to speak into your future.

By John Egland

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Explaining it All | Luke 24:25-272021-07-15T15:45:50-06:00

Biblical Hope is Never Foolish | Luke 24:1-27, Mark 16:1-11

…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. Luke 24:21

Please take time to read today’s passages in their entirety. As you do, notice the first persons to hear the message of the angels at the tomb and those who first encountered the risen Jesus. Also note how the testimonies of their encounters were received by others.

Sometimes it’s easy to discount the testimony of those who seem too excitable about their faith – especially if you’ve had a history of misplaced faith and hope in another’s experience that later proved to be inaccurate or exaggerated. No one likes to be gullible and appear foolish.

Now let’s focus on Jesus’ initial response to the distressed disciples as they walked along:
And then He said to them, “You 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 come into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the Prophets, He explained to them the things written about Himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25-27

Does Jesus’ admonition to his two disappointed followers seem a little judgmental? It’s more likely Jesus was encouraging them to take a deeper look into his ultimate mission. Let’s review the disillusionment these disciples were experiencing: But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Luke 24:21.

So where had they misplaced their hope? Had they trusted in a particular political or religious outcome? Why were they so slow to embrace the good news of the initial eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection?

Think about times you have struggled with the disappointment of unfulfilled hope. Could Jesus’ guidance in Luke 24:25 – 27 ignite fresh hope and a new approach to what seems lost opportunity? As you meditate, put yourself in the place of one of the disciples as you view this drawing of “The Road to Emmaus” by Rembrandt. Be prepared to go to our fellowship of hope for further encouragement.

By Kathleen Petersen

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Biblical Hope is Never Foolish | Luke 24:1-27, Mark 16:1-112021-07-15T15:42:21-06:00

Conversational Hospitality | Luke 24:13-31

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 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?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 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. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 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. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. Luke 24:13-31 NIV

Hospitality in this passage in Luke looks a little different this time. Two of Jesus’ followers are walking seven miles to Emmaus from Jerusalem. They are making this trip on the same day that some female followers of Jesus discovered his empty tomb and spoke with angels. These two on the road to Emmaus were discussing all of this because they simply did not understand the events of the previous three days. Then Jesus joins them. They are kept from recognizing him, but they are hospitable by inviting him into their conversation on their walk. They share their feelings, their dashed hopes, and their confusion with their new companion. In an echo of this passage, the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” Hebrews 13:1-2.

Jesus also shows hospitality to these two by asking about their discussion, listening carefully to their answer, and teaching them from the scriptures about how the Messiah must first suffer – then come into his glory. All three people in this passage show hospitality in different ways. One way for us to show hospitality to a friend or to a stranger is to ask about him or her and then listen without interrupting his or her answer. Sometimes simply a good listening ear is all that is needed. Sometimes teaching can occur after listening, as it did in this situation. Sometimes sharing your own similar past situation is helpful, but sometimes simply listening – simply allowing someone else to be heard – is what is needed by way of hospitality.

Once the three reached Emmaus Cleopas and his companion urged their new companion to join them in a meal and to stay with them, as the day was nearly over. They are concerned for their companion’s welfare because traveling at night was a risky, dangerous endeavor. After Jesus agrees to stay, gives thanks and breaks the bread for the meal, the two followers of Jesus are allowed to recognize him, and he is instantly no longer with them.

This week, let’s practice hospitality in our conversations with others. Ask God to show you how to sincerely listen to another’s feelings, another’s need to share a current situation, or to simply hear a kind word.

By Grace Hunter

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Conversational Hospitality | Luke 24:13-312021-07-15T15:35:01-06:00
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