Through the eyes of a child, what’s the difference between their parents loving them and their parents caring about them?  There isn’t a difference, but a child might not always see it that way.  His parents give him food and clothes.  If he gets sick, his parents take him to the doctor.  They tuck him in at night.  If he’s naughty, they discipline him.  All of that is love, and deep down every child knows it.  But sometimes a child might wonder if his parents also care about him.  To him it may seem his parents never have time to do fun things with him.  Or, maybe they say “no” to the simplest thing he really, really wants.  And then if he whines a little, a parent might say, “Stop your crying right now, or I’ll give you something to cry about.”  Remember that line?  Ever use it on your children?   
 
We, parents, do love our children.  But some of us have to work hard.  We get tired.  If we have more than one child, it’s like they take turns being naughty, or there’s always someone who’s sick.  We get it why our children might sometimes think we don’t care what they’re feeling, and sometimes we don’t care.  We’re parents.  They got to learn.   
 
In our text this morning we meet two disciples, who had just gone through the worst days of their life. They saw Jesus die on the cross.  They were devastated.  Nothing made sense to them.  They wondered where God’s love and power was to let this happen?  One of the disciples name was Cleopas.  The Bible doesn’t tell us the name of the other.  Maybe that’s so each of us can put our own name into the story, because haven’t we all at times felt like those two disciples did?  Anyway in our text this morning Jesus proved how much He loved them by showing how much He cared about them.  1.  He walked with them.  2.  He gently pointed them to the Bible.  3.  He let them have the joy of telling others.  
 
1.  Jesus walked with them.
 
We read our text:  Now, on that same day, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about all of these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing this, Jesus himself approached and began to walk along with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” Saddened, they stopped.  One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  “What things?” he asked them. – Luke 24:13-18   This is a long story, and it’s slow in getting to the point.  There’s a reason for that.  If a friend looses a loved, there’s nothing quick we can say to make it all better.  Now, I’m not denying the power of God’s Word.  But when a person is grieving it takes time to work through all his feelings, and questions, and even doubts.  But this is why Jesus took the time to walk with His two friends.  He of course knew what they needed to hear, but first Jesus lets them vent.   
 
We read on: They replied, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.  The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be condemned to death. And they crucified him.  But we were hoping that he was going to redeem Israel.” – Luke 24:19-21   When we hear the word “redeem”, we right away think of Jesus dying on the cross to pay for our sins, and we’re correct in that.  But unlike those two disciples, we have had the privilege of seeing the big picture.  This includes Jesus’ Easter appearances, His Ascension into heaven, and His outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Also, by faith we’re looking forward to His return in glory and making all things new again.  On Easter afternoon these two disciples were only focused on Jesus making all things new again, and had skipped over everything else leading up to it.  As a result Jesus’ death made no sense to them.  In fact they thought that His death meant He was NOT going to make all things new, and that everyone would be stuck here on this sinful, dying world just the way it is.  
 
Sometimes that’s our problem too.  We forget the big picture.  Peter would later say, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” – Acts 14:22   We don’t want the hardships.  We want everything to be like we sang in Psalm 67.  But when that’s not the way things are, we too may get confused or have doubts about God’s love.  Nevertheless Jesus is also walking with us.  Sometimes He even carries us (footsteps in the sand).  But whether Jesus is walking with us or carrying us, He is always kind, patient, and compassionate toward us, and doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve.  In addition, just as He listened to His two disciples Easter afternoon, Jesus keeps listening to our soul’s complaints.  For how long?  For as long as we keep complaining.  So, are you feeling it yet?  Jesus not only loves us, He cares about us!  And when the time is right, He will lifts us out of our confusion and doubt, and point us to the Bible.  
 
2.  He gently pointed them to the Bible
 
We read in our text: He said to them, “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. – Luke 24:25-27  What expression do you think was on Jesus’ face as He said, “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe”?  What hand jesters might He have used?  Was He wagging His guilt finger at them?  Was the tone of His voice angry or condescending?  No, Jesus said this with a twinkle of love in his eyes, and with a smile in His voice, and with His hands open to invite and welcome. But why did Jesus point to the Bible that Easter afternoon?  Why didn’t He just point to Himself – “Here I am!  I’ve risen!”  Jesus didn’t do that, because God doesn’t give faith through seeing.  God gives us faith, and sustains our faith, and works in us fruits of faith through HEARING His Word.   
 
Now, one of the things God’s Word does for us is it shows us how absolutely consistent and reliable God is.  There is not one contradiction in the entire Bible.  Yes, there are so-called  contradictions in the Bible.  You hear them all the time on the History Channel and so forth.  But the fact is, when we read the Bible in its context, its meaning is clear.  Also, the Bible is not open to one’s private interpretation, because everything it tells us, it tells in multiple places in multiple styles, so that everything can be cross referenced and compared.  As a result there’s no reason for anyone to have confusion or doubt over how God feels about us, and what He’s done to save us.   
 
And what has He done?  You know!  He so loved the world that He gave His only Son to suffer death in our place.  Then on the third day, His Son, our Redeemer, physically rose from the dead to prove that His death had paid for sins.  And now add to this the fact, that every prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled, except for the one about Jesus returning in glory.  So, how can we doubt that God cares about us?  His caring about us isn’t based on a whim.  God’s caring about us, His walking with us, and His gently pointing us to the Word is all based upon His love for us.  And His love for us is based upon Jesus’ death and resurrection, which God had planned even before He created the world.
 
Are you getting all this?  You may be going through a very difficult time, and your heart may be broken with grief and loneliness.  Nevertheless, Jesus gently points us to His Word, because it’s through His Word, we realize that He is walking with us and that we are His, and He is ours!  The two disciples in our text put it this way: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was speaking to us along the road and while he was explaining the Scriptures to us?” – Luke 24:32   Is this also what you’re experiencing in your relationship with God?  If it isn’t, here’s what Jesus has to say to you with twinkle of love in His eyes and His hands open wide in invitation: “How foolish you are, and how slow to make my word the priority of your life.”  May we respond to Jesus’ invitation the same way the disciples did, by begging Jesus to stay with us, and to cleanse our hearts day after day, but not until He vanishes.  Until we see Him with our own physical eyes!  In meanwhile what are we be doing with our life?  Just sit around and revel in knowing that Jesus as our Savior.  That’s not what these two disciples did, for the third way Jesus showed how much He cared about them was He let them have the joy of telling others.  
 
3.  He let them have the joy of telling others.
 
Our text reads:  They got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those who were with them assembled together. They were saying, “The Lord really has been raised! He has appeared to Simon.” They themselves described what had happened along the road, and how they recognized him when he broke the bread. – Luke 24:33-35  They had just walked 7 miles to get from Jerusalem to where they were staying.  Now they run 7 miles back to Jerusalem.  How could they have that much energy?  In one word – joy! The Good News about Jesus gives us joy.  Sharing the Good News because of that joy, gives us even more joy.  I know.  I’m a pastor.  And every time I feel like I’m running out of juice, Jesus lets me share the Gospel with someone else, and through that I’m the one being blessed.  Well, I pray the other person is being blessed too.  And this is a joy God wants all of you to have too, as you share the Gospel through personal witness and with your offerings.
 
In a few moments we will have the installation of our Giving Thanks 2017 directors.  Giving Thanks 2017 is about rejoicing in all the ways God is blessing us, and then in response to that joy, growing in our first fruits giving, and then God promises to multiply our joy and increases our faith all over again, and on top of that, through us bring many more yet to the joy of His salvation.  And why does God in His Word urge us to do this?  Because He not only loves us, He cares about us!  And so, in everything God calls us to do, let’s count on this:  Jesus will be walking with us.  He will keep gently pointing us to His Word.  And more and more He will let us have the joy of sharing Him with others.  And what can we say in response to that, but God be praised!  Amen.   

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