by Christopher Harbin

Heartfelt Response
Christopher B. Harbin
Psalm 116; Luke 24:13-35; Acts 2:36-41; 1 Peter 1:17-23

How do we respond to important news? When spinach had been found contaminated, local restaurants pulled fresh spinach from their salad options. When certain airplanes were found to display certain safety irregularity, flights were cancelled by the FAA for inspection. When Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, many responded with aid in very creative ways. Relief efforts are still underway, close to three years later. How do our lives evidence a response to the news of Jesus' resurrection?

When we first meet Cleopas on the road to Emmaus, he is struggling with response. Along with his fellow traveler, he did not know what to make of reports concerning Jesus and an empty tomb. In so many ways, he was in the position of Thomas, not yet having seen Jesus for himself.

Cleopas' wife had been there at Jesus' crucifixion. Doubtless, he knew well what had transpired. As he reports, it was the talk of the town, even among all the pilgrims swelling the Jerusalem walls for the festivals of Passover and Pentecost. He had been one of those devastated by the fact of Jesus' death. Jesus' death, however, had become reality in his mind. What he had not been able to process was the news pointing to the resurrection.

Oh, he knew the stories. It was still resurrection Sunday, but word had gotten to him of the early morning visit to an empty tomb. He had heard the news of angels saying Jesus was risen. He had received confirmation by other disciples that Jesus was indeed absent from the tomb. He was stuck on one point, however. The men had not seen Jesus, just the empty tomb.

It seems somewhat incredible, perhaps, that they were discussing the greatest news of all time, yet they were sad. The message they had received should have given them renewed hope, a fresh outlook, a vision of new possibilities and God's immediate care for a greater redemption than they had ...

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