Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

When you make a mistake, turn around

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Two followers of Jesus were with the disciples Easter morning, heard the reports of the empty tomb, heard that two angels said Jesus was alive, and still walked away that afternoon. Luckily, when they realized they had made a mistake, they returned to Jerusalem that night and saw the resurrected Jesus with the disciples.

Monday Luke 24:1-12 (NRSV)
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, [the women] came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Peter was willing to check out the story told by the women, but the rest of the disciples did not believe them – they thought the report of the angels was an idle tale.

What do you think about it? What else do you notice in this account of Easter morning?

Tuesday Luke 24:13 (NRSV)
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.

Two followers of Jesus were with the group when the women came with the report that two angels said Jesus was alive. But they didn’t believe that was possible. So that afternoon they left, and went to Emmaus, about seven miles away.

What are some times that you have walked away from great opportunities?
What happened?

Wednesday Luke 24:14-35 (NRSV)
While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?"

He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"

That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Jesus appeared to these two who were walking away from the miracle of Easter.

Who do you know that has walked away from the Easter story?
How will you pray for them?

Thursday Acts 22:3-8 (NRSV)
[Paul said] "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Then he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’”

Paul thought Jesus’ disciples were misleading the people and getting them to abandon the truth. So he spent his days finding followers of Jesus and bringing them to prison (or, in Stephen’s case, watching them die by stoning – see Acts 6 and 7). But one day Paul had a vision of Jesus. It changed his life, and he went on to devote himself to the spread of the gospel, enduring many persecutions that he had formerly enacted on others. He went on to write much of the New Testament.

When have you changed direction after discovering you made a mistake?
How has meeting Jesus turned your life around?

Friday 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NRSV)
I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Paul says Jesus died for our sins and was raised on the third day. How does this impact your life?

What are have you done this week because of Jesus?
What do you want to do next week because of Jesus?
What do you need help with?