2 Liverpool shirts… £90.
2 Champion League tickets… £120.
Flights to Istanbul… £350.
Watching Liverpool win the Champions League… Priceless!!!
But at half time things were far from priceless! Things looked terrible! 100-1 no hopers! Its was time to tear up your tickets and go home! That’s exactly what 2 fans did. They’d watched 3 goals go past Dudek - and it was painful! 3 nil down at half time! They could see no way back for the red team they loved so much. So they decided to head back to the hotel and drown their sorrows with a few pints.
Just as they were approaching the hotel, they heard the 2nd half commentary coming from a pub window… “Gerrard for Liverpool – Goal!” 54minutes, 3-1. Then “Smicer – Goal! 3-2, 56mins. “Alonso- Goal!” 3-3!!! “Could you believe it?! Liverpool had come back from the dead and were back in the hunt for the Champions League! The two fans turned right around and ran back towards the stadium! The dream was now alive again! Liverpool were on their way to becoming Kings of Europe!
What joy! What a turn around! They had moved being from disappointment to excitement! Disbelief to belief! Back to the match to cheer on the Pool!
It’s marvellous when situations are turned right around, when people are turned right around, isn’t it?!
This evening’s reading from Luke’s Gospel tells us of two peoples lives that are turned around. They had followed Jesus during his ministry, and just recently watched as he was put to death on the cross. On the day that Mary Magdalene had met Jesus risen from the dead, they were on their way back to Emmaus, away from Jerusalem. They were talking about the things that had happened. No doubt how Jesus was arrested, and unfairly sentenced to death. How he hung on the cross and died an horrible death. As they talked about these things, the risen Jesus came up and walked alongside them. To them he was a stranger. They didn’t recognise who he was. And as he asked them what they were talking about, we discover that the two disciples were disappointed with Jesus.
What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do 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. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but 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. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."
Faces downcast. Disappointed with Jesus! Oh yes Jesus was definitely a prophet. There is no doubt about it. Everyone witnessed how he was powerful in word and deed. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you he spoke for God. The religious leaders rejected him and handed him over to be put to death. And die he did! They crucified him. Hung him on a cross with two criminals. Everything looked so promising. We had hoped he was the one! The promised king of the Old Testament, the Christ, the one to give people a relationship with God. But alas no! He’s dead and things haven’t changed one bit. It’s now the third day since his death. Some women amazed us. They had found the tomb empty and said that Jesus was alive. But no, our friends went to the tomb and they didn’t see him.
The 2 disciples were disappointed with Jesus. They believed he was a prophet. But he was nothing more. They had hoped he was the one to bring people into relationship with God but no. He was just like the other prophets who had spoken God’s word and then been killed. They didn’t believe Jesus was the Redeemer. They had heard reports that Mary had discovered the tomb empty and had met the risen Lord. But Mary was a woman. You didn’t believe a woman’s word in their day. And anyway the men had gone up to investigate and yes the tomb was empty but there was no sign of Jesus. Did they stop to think about why the tomb was empty? And wait around to see if Jesus turned up? No. They had had enough. They were on their way back to Emmaus. They had given up on the man Jesus.
They were just like the two Liverpool supporters who had watched Liverpool be humiliated in the first half. The reds fans were so disappointed with the players and Benitez. They had such high hopes that Liverpool would win and be the toast of Europe. They could rub it in the face of the Red Devils, the Gunners and more importantly the Toffees! But no! Liverpool were down and out! They were a good team but they weren’t the Kings of Europe!
Maybe you see Jesus as just a prophet. A man who spoke from God and made an impact on the world. You might believe that Jesus did exist but that he was no more than a popular religious leader. He was put to death on a cross. But there is no way he rose from the dead! The tomb might have been empty but that doesn’t prove anything. Sure the disciples could have removed his body and made up the story of his resurrection. Or maybe the body was stolen by the religious leaders, or even the Romans. No Jesus isn’t who those Christians claim he his. He was just a man who caused a stir, nothing more. He’s not alive. He’s dead. What does Jesus say to you? Well lets look at what he said to the disciples as we reconsider Jesus from scripture.
25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
How did the disciples respond to Jesus explanation of his death and the empty tomb? Listen to the end of this account. Seeing Jesus as the Risen Lord.
Thank you that Jesus died for our sins and in three days rose from the dead. We thank you that he is the one who was promised by the prophets of old. We thank you that you have opened our eyes to see Jesus as our Rescuer and the Risen Lord. For those of us who are slow to believe help us to know Jesus through the Scriptures and set our hearts on fire.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.