Devotion - April 20

Luke 24:13-35; Psalms 96-100; Proverbs 20

Easter in a pandemic season is the invitation to practice resurrection. Which is tricky.

Because nothing prepares a person for resurrection.

I imagine that Jesus’ resurrection forced his earliest followers to relearn everything they knew about God – to know God again through [and only through] the story of humiliation, death and resurrection. Everything familiar was new again

Eugene Peterson wrote: “The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.”

All of us want to emerge from this COVID-19 crisis living a resurrection life out of death – life that is the last word. The only way to emerge into resurrection life is with Jesus – knowing Jesus.

In a book that I’d recommend every believer read, J.I. Packer writes, “Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life's problems fall into place of their own accord.” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God)

Packer’s words remind me that while many things are disrupted and unknown at this time, none of the current circumstances have the capacity to disrupt or impede the main business that we are here for – to know God. In fact, the disruption and fear and loss of this time may even help us to know God in new ways. The shared experience of mortality is a perfect training ground to learn resurrection living.

Today, let’s reflect on Jesus’ walk on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Notice that it wasn’t the resurrection that forced these two into a reconsideration of all they knew about God from the Scriptures – it was the cross (‘”Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.’ Luke 24:26-27). The crisis of the cross forced a re-examination – and then the breaking of the bread revealed Jesus’ resurrection – life that is the last word. We do not emerge into life that is the last word without walking with Jesus through the story of the cross.

What if you read this story from Luke 24 out loud a few times, imagining that you are the ‘other disciple’ on that road with Jesus and Cleopas. What if you tell the stranger next to you all that has happened in the past seven weeks of this virus – rehearse the whole story to Jesus, the way he invited this on that road to Emmaus, invited a story he knew first hand. Tell it in your way – what has surprised or frightened you? What hopes have you lost? Then listen in prayer – allow Jesus to tell the story back to you through the Scriptures. Allow the Holy Spirit of Jesus bring to your mind the stories of God’s people in the Bible – the words of the prophets – the sayings from the Lord. If it helps, read today’s Psalms and Proverbs at this point (Pslams 96-100 and Proverbs 20). Pray for the grace to hear your story – our story – retold within the larger story of God in Jesus.

Lord Jesus, we long for our hearts to burn with the insight you bring to us in the Scriptures – with the full knowledge of your suffering – with the hope of your resurrection. Please walk with us today, giving us the grace to recognize you. 
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