The third Sunday after Easter is usually the resurrection account from Luke. Everybody’s favorite is the road to Emmaus. It has that air of mystery that tickles. But in year B you get Jesus’ appearance to the disciples after that. This appearance mirrors the 2nd Sunday’s account from John. Jesus appears and show the disciples his hands and feet. And while faith is always a point, Luke’s emphasis is on the peace of Christ and how we can be sure of it. What starts with the mystery of the road to Emmaus is explained by Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of God. God desires us to know his peace which is distinct from that offered by Satan in that God is always revealing more of himself. This sermon looks at that revelation in the resurrection light.
The Lukan resurrection texts are one long story – one long Easter. When I read it I wonder if that is authorial privilege, or Luke’s research. The eating of fish sounds so much like John’s beachside story. The road to Emmaus is uniquely Luke’s. The rest are reflections of the other gospel stories. Luke pulls them all together and tells a very tight story that focuses reflection on seeing the body of Christ in three things. The Emmaus disciples are the first in Luke to see the risen Christ, and they recognize him in the breaking of the bread which is a Lord’s Supper scene. We recognize the body in the Supper. We recognize the body is the Peace of the gathering is the next one. It is in this one that we also recognize that the body is not just a spiritual reality, but is flesh and blood. Lastly we recognize the body because the scriptures have testified to it.
This sermon starts out playing with the Nicene creed’s phrase “according to the scriptures” which was one that young Parson Brown didn’t really get. But Luke gets it, and Jesus goes to great lengths to make sure the disciples get it. This sermon meditates on those scriptures not as the proof, but as the family album. In and through those scriptures we can recognize the body of Christ. And because we can recognize it, we can also move forward in faith on the promises that are not yet.