13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 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?”
19 “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. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 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. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”Luke 24: 13-24
Eastertide Prayer: My resurrected Lord, my hope is in You! Alleluia, You are alive and You have conquered all sin, all death, all evil. You bring forth new life to all who turn to You in their need. My Jesus, I do turn to You and abandon myself to You in Your death so that I may rise with You in Your Resurrection to new life. Breathe into me this gift of new life and allow me to begin anew. Jesus, I trust in You.
The answer to our dilemma
The irony of our times is that the populace has grown terrified of death but outraged by the offer of everlasting life! They are more willing to put trust in humans who lie to gain power and in so-called “experts” who can only extend life for a few years than they are willing to trust a God who has already proven that he has the power to resurrect life for all eternity!
What can answer this dilemma? Our obedience to our Lord and the repurchaser of our souls, Christ Jesus! His command to us “to preach the good news to all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations” ( Matt 24:14) is all about assuring such ones that we do indeed worship a God who knows the way out of their dilemma because he knows the way out of the grave! Not with a plan to turn us into cyborgs, replacing corporeal parts with metal and machine as they wear out, but to make us new: both spiritually, and more fantastically, physically with a new perfect body like that of the resurrected Jesus!
C. S. Lewis was once such a man who put his faith in other men. He trusted education and the experts of his time. But for the obedience to God and love for their fellow man, Christians such as J.R.R. Tolkien helped that one time Atheist to hear the truth by preaching. Moreover, Chesterton’s book, The Everlasting Man, helped Lewis to see the history of man from God’s view rather than man’s. Holy Spirit then touched his heart to receive Christ. (John 6:44) The fruitage of this witness was many books written by Lewis that continue to preach God’s word to those who read them.
I read Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to make sense…C. S. Lewis
We may not use books to preach, but you and I are God’s first and best means for those without hope but desperately needing hope to hear of hope.
How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”…Romans 10:14-15
That is what it means to be a Christian, to preach, to follow Christ in telling the Good News, living as He showed us in obedience to “all the things He commanded us“, dying to this life so that we are new creation in line for everlasting life! It is our privilege and our vital obligation that the lives God brings into our path are also given the same chance as we to be saved!
Even when it seems that everything is against us, especially then, the telling of this amazing life-saving truth is our mission – as it was in the beginning and throughout history. This is what Chesterton is driving at when he encourages us to press on even when it seems that our faith in the public square is dying. It will yet live! Why? Because we serve a God who knows His way out of the grave!
Christianity itself dies and is resurrected time and again
“I have said that Asia and the ancient world had an air of being too old to die. Christendom has had the very opposite fate. Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave. But the first extraordinary fact which marks this history is this: that Europe has been turned upside down over and over again; and that at the end of each of these revolutions the same religion has again been found on top. The Faith is always converting the age, not as an old religion but as a new religion. This truth is hidden from many by a convention that is too little noticed. Curiously enough, it is a convention of the sort which those who ignore it claim especially to detect and denounce. They are always telling us that priests and ceremonies are not religion and that religious organisation can be a hollow sham, but they hardly realise how true it is. It is so true that three or four times at least in the history of Christendom the whole soul seemed to have gone out of Christianity; and almost every man in his heart expected its end. This fact is only masked in medieval and other times by that very official religion which such critics pride themselves on seeing through. Christianity remained the official religion of a Renaissance prince or the official religion of an eighteenth-century bishop, just as an ancient mythology remained the official religion of Julius Caesar or the Arian creed long remained the official religion of Julian the Apostate. But there was a difference between the cases of Julius and of Julian; because the Church had begun its strange career. There was no reason why men like Julius should not worship gods like Jupiter for ever in public and laugh at them for ever in private. But when Julian treated Christianity as dead, he found it had come to life again.”
-G. K. Chesterton, The Five Deaths of the Faith, On The Man Called Christ, The Everlasting Man, 1925
Read the rest of the section: The Five Deaths of the Faith
Read the lecture: The Everlasting Man