“Now on the same day, two of them were going up to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:13 NRSV)
It’s always gratifying to be thanked for something you have done. I always treasure the small notes, or cards from others thanking me for something I have done, said , or written. That’s not why I do it, of course, but it’s nice all the same.
I’m always surprised how far our influence goes these days. Due to the internet and increasing technology, our world is shrinking. We have the potential to reach out to people all over the world. So not often, but every now and then, I’ll get an email, or a note foregfrom someone I don’t even know thanking me for something.
But for all of that, I am not a big deal in Helsinki Finland. I’ve been there once, 31 years ago. But that’s it, No notes, no emails or cards from anyone in Helsinki. Not even anything that says thank you for visiting our lovely city. In fact, it would be no stretch of the imagination to say that there is no one in Helsinki who even knows I am alive and will go to bed tonight perfectly Ok with that.
In fact, as I think about it, the good folk in Helsinki are no different than most of the rest of the world. Billions of people in the world who have absolutely no idea who I am , or that I exist. All of which, if you think about it too long can make you feel pretty insignificant.
Even those of us with strong introvert tendencies want to be noticed by someone. By the way introverts love being around people as much as extroverts. We just know when to say when. “OK I’ve been around you, I’m good. No go away and sped them with the extrovert weirdos”. All of us want to know that we matter, that someone cares about us. This is what causes David, in the 8th Psalm to look at the stars and marvel at his own smallness in the universe. Ever have one of these moments, or many of them, where you wonder if you matter to anyone? I hope that in celebrating Easter you discovered just how much you matter, even when you feel insignificant.
If so, I encourage you to read the account of the Resurrection we find in Luke. Read the whole chapter. One of the things that strikes me when I read this chapter is how long it takes Jesus to get around to appearing to the main players. We find out he has risen from the grave in vs. 5. But he doesn’t appear to the twelve disciples until vs. 36!
You would think the first thing Jesus would do is appear, if not to the 11 disciples, at least appear to John and James. or “The disciple Jesus loved”. What about Peter? They have unfinished business. Rather Jesus makes His resurrection debut to two unnamed disciples. I don’t believe it was two of the 11 remaining disciples (Judas Iscariot having committed suicide by this point.). These two men, on the way to Emmaus seem to be “on the fringe” disicples. Followers of Jesus, surely, but not a part of the inner circle.
So why them? Why do the women get the announcement and these two rather than the big 11? Why announce the resurrection first to people who seem insignificant? Maybe that’s the point. To Jesus there are no insignificant people. Evey one matters and everyone deserves to hear the Good News. This is a God who sends angels to shepherds with birth announcements, and sends more angels to tell the world death has lost its sting.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t just pop up and say “I’m alive” and disappear. He’ll do that at other points, but not with these two men. Jesus walks with them, talks with them, warms their hearts and eats with them. Jesus loves these men as much as he does those who were with Him all three years of His public ministry. You see, in this Kingdom, death isn’t the end, the grace has no power and the people who feel as if they don’t matter, matter the most.
You and I matter to Jesus. he rose from the dead for us. So that we could have new life. The new life offered by Jesus isn’t just for the Christian “celebrity” the movers and shakers of the world. It’s for you and me. It matters that we matter to God. And that is Good News.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><