Text: Luke 24.1-35
As two of these disciples journey toward Emmaus, Jesus joins them, listening to their woeful story of hopes dashed and despair grown large again. But then he does something rather surprising. He begins to preach to them from the Scriptures, but not in the mode of many of the sermons I’ve heard, which do little more than confirm and comfort me in what I already know. No, this is a profoundly dis-confirming preaching, which first castigates them for their lack of faith in the prophets, and then proceeds to deconstruct their Scriptural knowledge so radically that the meaning of the same is utterly and irreversibly altered. The results were, I imagine, terrifying. Suddenly the disciples begin to see that everything they had ever known and believed was wrong. Yet despite the upset, there is something compelling in what Jesus says that compels them to hang onto him.
Turning to each other in wonder and excitement, the disciples declare the way in which their hearts were ‘burning’ within them when they heard the word preached. Note the word: ‘burned,’ as in purged by a bushfire, not ‘warmed’, as by a cosy open fire on a winter’s night. The disciples rise from where they are and return to the place of despair and forlorn logic from which they came. They return to Jerusalem with a distinct and special mission: to declare and confirm that Christ had indeed been raised, and that he had make himself known to them in the breaking of bread. Which is to say, they returned to Jerusalem to dis-confirm the miserable logic of the Same which held sway there, to interrupt and fragment its omnipotent power by the burning joyfulness of all they had glimpsed in the risen Christ.
I pray to God that Christ may do just that, even with what we say and do this morning.