You may have noticed that I’m a little behind in my Advent posts. The then came Jesus study officially ended yesterday over at to overflowing.com and I finally read the last page of the book this morning. I experienced a hole new side of Christmas this year, a side completely and entirely focused on Jesus. Yes, my family and I still had fun with lights and decorations and gifts, but I don’t think we lost sight of the True Joy of the season. This experience has been due impart to Ms. Williams’ book and I am so thankful that she followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and wrote then came Jesus.
Even though I hope to write two more responses to Lara’s book it may not happen. Life is busy even after the Christmas rush! I have many events planned over the next week that will likely keep me away from my computer. On top of those I also plan on starting a new blog series on prayer (read more about that here if you haven’t already). So please pray for me. Pray that, if the Lord is willing, I finish my last two Advent post within the next few days. But if He is not, please pray that I am content with leaving this blog series unfinished (or at least unfinished by my standard).
Thank you to all you readers who followed along with me this month as I wrote about Advent. I realize that sometimes my words don’t follow as well as they could and I can be a bit confusing to read, so thank you for putting up with this amateur writer. That said, let’s get going with what is hopefully not my last Advent post.
A response to then came Jesus by Lara Williams :: Week 4, Day 3
He is Risen
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘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. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
The Road to Emmaus
Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain 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.” Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
The Disciples’ Eyes Opened
Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. (Luke 24:1-35 NKJV, emphasis mine)
their eyes were restrained — they were hoping — they said “Abide with us” — their eyes were opened
:: their eyes were restrained :: The men traveling to Emmaus depended on their own reasoning in order to understand the events of the past three days. And because the depended on their own smarts, I believe it kept them from seeing Jesus. They had heard from the women at the tomb and from Peter but still they did not believe.
:: they were hoping :: “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” This statement simply confirms their disbelief. They thought they knew how the Christ would redeem Israel and because things didn’t turn out the way they had hoped, they didn’t believe (at least not at that moment).
:: they said “Abide with us” :: At this moment the men still did not realize they were speaking with Jesus. They hadn’t believed the reports of the empty tomb, nor had they understood the things that Jesus had spoken to them before His crucifixion. But despite their small faith and disbelief they still urged Jesus to stay. I believe they asked Him to stay because of the power of the Word — the Scriptures that Jesus was teaching them as they walked along the road. These men simply wanted to know more. So, of course, Jesus accepted their invitation to come in.
:: their eyes were opened :: And once Jesus came in and broke bread with them, their eyes were opened. When they sat and fellowshipped with Jesus, He revealed Himself. Their response: duh, why couldn’t we see Him all along (I’m paraphrasing here, of course).
Jesus wants us to know the truth, the truth of who He is, what He did for us, and how He continues to act on our behalf. But we can’t learn these truths with our own smarts. We can’t figure these things out with the power of our reasoning. We must chose to believe what we cannot understand, and in doing so we please the Lord.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and the He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
Lord, I am a stubborn, prideful girl. I think I am so smart and can figure things out on my own. You already know that about me and still with Your word You draw me near to You. Thank You for patiently waiting for me to put away my reliance on self. Thank you for patiently waiting for me rely on You through faith. I want to please You alone, so help me to seek You and Your truths diligently. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Are you reading then came Jesus or another advent study? What is God revealing to you? Please let me know by leaving a comment. You can also find out more about Lara Williams and her book then came Jesus here.