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Jesus and Resurrection Life Part 2 - Communion

Updated: May 6

Overview



Message Notes: 28/04/2024

Catch Up:  Watch | Listen 


  1. Firstly, this story highlights the importance of fostering a relationship with Jesus. His heart to be and spend time with Cleopas and his companion on the road and their willingness to reciprocate that relationship.

  2. Secondly, it highlights the importance of the request / invite for Jesus to enter into their home and their lives.

  3. Thirdly, there’s the importance of the setting in which they finally recognized and received the revelation of Jesus, which was around a table, sharing a meal.

  4. And lastly, it highlights the importance of their response to that revelation, which was to get up at once to tell others. 

It’s a story about 2 people, young and in love, engaged to be married, who decided to start attending church before they got married. Both knew of Jesus and somewhat about him but neither saw Him as a friend. They both grew up going to church once maybe twice a year but never really pursued a relationship with Jesus. It was more out of moral obligation and tradition than a hunger for the Word of God.


Now it wasn’t very long that they attended this church when they were approached and invited to something called a Discipleship Group or what we here at Free Church know as a Life Group. 


Reluctantly and very unsure they decided to join this young group of people for a meal. To their surprise and absolute delight, the people who hosted this group were a lot less weird than they had anticipated, and so they ended up going again and again and again. Every time sharing a meal, talking about life, asking questions about the bible, praying and encouraging one another.


This group of people actually ended up rallying around the couple during some of the hardest and happiest moments of their lives in the next few years. When they lost a baby they prayed for and loved them. With the eventual birth of their first and second children they visited them in hospital and brought them home cooked meals for at least 2 weeks. They guided them when they felt lost and corrected them, in love, when they went astray. They fed them food but also a whole lot of truth.


Fast forward 8 years later, this couple now finds themselves engulfed in a life of ministry, still meeting those not-so-weird discipleship group leaders regularly, sharing meals, asking questions, praying for and encouraging one another. 


You see, this couple found a friend in Jesus through another couple modeling and investing in a friendship with them. It wasn’t extravagant, it wasn’t instant, it wasn’t easy. It took intentionality and commitment. It was good friends, robust conversations, and meals upon meals.


It was in the ordinariness of their everyday lives, the losses, the celebrations, and the access to each other’s messy homes and minds… that they received the greatest miracle of all. A friend in Jesus. A new way of life. A hope. An anchor. A purpose. They haven’t always gotten it right. They’ve often missed Jesus in the mundane moments but they’ve found friends old and new willing to remind them that their invitation stands. A seat at the table of the most High King, Jesus, with their names on it. 


Now I don’t know where in your story I found you today. Maybe you can relate to this couple, maybe you’ve experienced a different story filled with hurt, regret, loneliness or rejection. Maybe you just don’t feel worthy and that’s ok. I believe Jesus wants to meet us right where we are at BUT none of that changes the fact that YOU have a seat at His table and He is calling by name.


I love this story in the Bible of Cleopas and a companion which some assumed was his wife. If you have your Bible handy you can open Luke 24:13-34 from the New life Version.


Just to give some context, it was just Passover, Jesus had been crucified and buried 3 days ago but now some of his followers Mary Magdelene and the other Mary claim that when they went to visit Jesus’ tomb, it was empty and that an angel appeared to them telling them that Jesus has risen from the dead.


We’ll be unpacking each of these in a little more detail in just a moment but what I’d like to highlight from this story are the following 4 very important aspects that lead to the eventual revelation and complete transformation of Cleopas and his companions’ lives. 


Even though there’s no one-size-fits all recipe to spiritual formation, I do believe these 4 valuable points can help to guide us in our own journeys with Jesus. So…



  1. Relationship

Let’s start with point 1,  Which serves as reminder of how important it is for Jesus to have a relationship with us and if we’re not careful how easily we can miss out on meeting and getting to know Jesus, because of an expectation of what we think He should look like or act like in our own lives OR simply by not giving Him the time of day.


There’s a reason “Something closed Cleopas and his companion’s eyes from seeing who Jesus was” on the road. When we read the story, we can gather that they followed and knew Jesus for some time, before His crucifixion, because they spoke of Him and the disciples with familiarity. So surely they would have recognized His voice, or noticed His mannerisms the moment He joined them on the road? BUT everything Jesus did was done with intentionality and great significance, which in this instance, showcases Jesus’ pursuit to spend time with, teach, and guide Cleopas and His friend. It just shows the lengths Jesus would go to, to meet with and be with His people. 2-hours is a long time to be in someone’s company. 


And here’s the really scary part. Had Cleopas and his companion not been open to reciprocating that relationship, had they not chosen to befriend this stranger, had they not been willing to listen and learn with teachability and humility, had they not continued to stay the course even though this person challenged their views and perspectives, they could have missed out on the opportunity to see Jesus for who he was. Nothing about this time on the road points to extravagance or ease. It was a tedious part of their everyday lives, commuting from one place to the next. So why, is it that we expect ease and extravagance when it comes to building our relationships with Jesus? If it’s not grand, it’s not a miracle. If it’s not instant, it’s not worth our time and effort. If it interrupts our busy schedules or our carefully curated plans for our future, it’s just not welcome. 


So many times in scripture Jesus had this wonderfully subtle way of meeting with people in the most ordinary moments of their days. No fireworks, no earthquakes, just Jesus walking, talking, and eating with His people, whom He loved. It was divine interruptions in their normal routines where Jesus breathed new life and new meaning.

Eugene Peterson puts it so simply in his book Living The Resurrection Life. Which I highly recommend you read, especially as we learn more about the process of spiritual formation.


Eugene says this, We are formed in our routines


In other words, we become the things we keep ourselves busy with. So if we are not willing to embrace the divine interruptions of Jesus in our daily routines, How can we expect Him to breathe new life and new meaning into our lives? Are we truly becoming more like Christ if we’re not welcoming Him into the busyness of our days? 



2. Request

 The request or invitation for Jesus to enter Cleopas and his companion’s home.


It’s inspiring for me how even after a long and tedious walk filled with grueling conversation, Cleopas and his companion were so hungry for TRUTH that they STILL made the request for Jesus to join them for a meal. I can’t imagine that extending the request, at that time, would have been very convenient, especially after what had just happened the past few days. Loss, confusion, doubt, and then coming home to what could have been a messy or disorganized home (we won’t know for sure) with nothing but bread to serve their guest. Yet, Cleopas and His companion offered the request almost as a reflex in response to the relationship that had just been built over the past few hours on the road. It’s like they understood that certain interruptions or inconveniences formed part of learning more about the life of Jesus. It’s like they took what Jesus had modeled to them when He was alive. So naturally they welcomed it and in doing so unknowingly welcomed Jesus into their home and into their hearts. I just love how in the text it says that as they arrived at their destination, their home, Jesus actually pretended to be walking further. In other words, He wasn’t forceful or demanding, he was patient in waiting for their invitation. 

In the same way – Jesus is not one to force himself into our lives. He is patient in building a relationship with us and once we invite Him into every aspect of our lives, every nook, and cranny of our hearts, the good, the bad, the ugly, the busy, and the bold, then only can he begin to reveal even more of Himself in us. 


3. Recognition / revelation

It was only once they came to a complete stop, once they sat down and looked up, right in the face of Jesus, as he broke the bread, that they received the revelation of who He truly was. The resurrected Christ. It took more than just the request or invitation to join their table. It took a shared experience with Jesus to truly SEE and more so, KNOW him.

The fact that Jesus chose this exact setting to reveal Himself is no coincidence – With Jesus it very rarely was. Really, it points to the significance that meals have played in the process of spiritual formation in scripture.


So last week we looked at the Sabbath, which is when we take one day out of our weeks to stop, listen, and spend time with Jesus. But what then happens to the other 6 days of the week? Well here’s our answer… So many of Jesus’s teachings, parables, and metaphors in scripture included meals. If He wasn’t talking about it, He was engaged in the act of sharing a meal with others or performing miracles to feed others. (It sounds like me minus the miracles). Even in his last moments, he shared a meal with his beloved disciples – Which is now coined the Last Supper. 


Is there any act simpler or more routine than eating a meal together? So, what if we followed Jesus’ example and invited Him back to OUR tables?

What if we became people who welcomed spiritual formation as part of our everyday routine by sitting down and sharing meals?What if we stopped and slowed down long enough, to look each other and Jesus in the face? We were made in His image after all..


The enemy’s goal is to keep us from Jesus and His practices. It’s no wonder that over the years our culture has severely diminished the importance of meals. Thanks to fast food restaurants, on-the-go meals, and TV dinners, eating has become a function rather than a central role in our lives. 


Meals, and with that I mean hearty-cooked-food, shared amongst friends, families, and colleagues, just aren't as easily accessible as they should be. But this doesn’t have to be our reality. We have the power and the choice to flip the script. 

We can welcome meals back into our lives as a kind of mini-sacrament for the life and legacy of Jesus. We can prepare and eat our meals with intentionality. We can even change the trajectory of someone else’s life by inviting them to join our table. 

The moment Cleopas and his companion received the revelation of who was sitting at their table. In one instance, they stood up and went back to Jerusalem to tell others. They responded to the revelation by sharing their experience with others.


4. Response:

Remember the story about that couple? Young and in love. Well here’s a photo of them now. A Lot less young, still very much in love but with a little less hair and a whole lot of extra wrinkles. The trajectory of our lives changed because another couple was willing to share their experience and revelation of Jesus with us and many others around a table. It was in the sharing of meals that strangers became acquaintances, then community, and eventually irreplaceable friends. 



You see, we don’t need a degree in theology or psychology to play a part in changing the trajectory of someone else's life, even our very own lives. No! All we need is to invite Jesus to our tables, as our Host.


Isn’t it cool how in this story, even though Cleopas and his companion were the ones who invited Jesus to the table. It was Jesus who acted as the host in that moment. He’s the one who took, blessed, and broke the bread and gave it back to them. He is the one who completely transformed their lives in an instant by revealing Himself to them. Opening their eyes to the truth.


AND HERE’S THE TRUTH - JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!

YOU HAVE A SEAT AND THE TABLE OF THE MOST HIGH KING WITH YOUR NAME ON IT

If you’re struggling to believe that today, let alone mustering up enough courage to invite someone else for a meal. There are people in this church that want to remind you and keep inviting you to their table until this TRUTH becomes your reality.


Within a moment Jesus can take what you are willing to offer him and break it open. Your strength, your joy, your sorrow, your weakness, even the most hidden parts of yourself, those areas you feel are broken beyond repair or too dark even for Jesus to bear. He not only takes it and breaks it but He blesses and gives thanks for it. 


And here’s the really good part… He then gives it all back to us but not as He received it. Completely and utterly transformed. Made new in Him. Resources: https://www.amazon.com/Living-Resurrection-Risen-Christ-Everyday/dp/157683929X


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