Luke 24:44-45 Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,
The story of Easter is a story of being surprised by joy. The problem with saying that is 2 fold, most people only like surprises that make us look good, and second, we really don't know what joy is. The world certainly doesn't know what joy is, because the world would much rather be happy, we are happy when we get what we want, and when things go our way - but there is not much in the bible about being happy, while there is lots in the Bible about joy and rejoicing. Joy is about a contented peace and a feeling of well being, but taken to the max. Itís the difference between being pleased and being absolutely delighted. And its that kind of overwhelming joy that is really what Easter is about. The tomb is empty, Jesus is risen, death has been conquered - and that sadness that was once there, has vanished. It may begin with us not being able to believe our eyes, but the sight of the risen Jesus is a transforming experience, we see, and we are changed.
On the road to Emmaus, the disciples eyes were not opened, Jesus walked with them, and talked with them, but they did not see who he was until the breaking of the bread - then they were transformed, they were filled with joy - so much so that they run back to Jerusalem to tell the good news, Jesus has risen, we have seen him. After this, Jesus appears to the frightened disciples, he asks them, why are you troubled, in the eating their eyes are opened, they are transformed, and they are so overjoyed, they can't believe it.
And while these are nice and inspiring stories, it may be that they really don't touch us. There must be some way that we can experience the joy of Easter, and there is. Our experience of Easter also happens in the meal, that is, in the Lord's Supper.
I want to ask you, how do you know you are ready to go to the Lord's Supper?
Do you go because you have strong faith, so that others can see your strong faith?
Do you go so you can show others how good you are?
No, we go because our faith is weak, we go because we are poor miserable sinners, we go because we sin much daily, we go, not confessing how great we are, but we go confessing our sins and asking God to forgive us, and to strengthen our weak faith. We go, we eat, we drink, and we are changed. We too are filled with joy, the joy that comes from our sins forgiven, the joy that comes from peace with God, the joy that comes from the promise of eternal life, the joy that comes because sin death and the devil have been conquered, the joy that comes because we are children of God - all this is the joy that is ours because Jesus is risen.
How often can this joy be ours - once a lifetime? Once a year? Once a week? It is ours whenever we eat his body and drink his blood and remember his death for our sins, and his victorious resurrection, and each time we are again surprised by joy. It is then that Jesus opens our minds to understand the scriptures, and as we see the breadth and depth of God's love for us, and the lengths he went to, to bring us salvation, we are overwhelmed with the flood of peace and well being that comes from being in the hands of such a loving God, who forgives us, redeems us, and fills our lives with good things, for Jesus sake.