I’ve come to love the story in Luke 24 of the disciples going to Emmaus — struggling with the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection. In a sense this is a story of you and me, still trying to understand how to best respond to a risen (and now reigning) Christ. As we re-tell his story ... are we getting it right?
As Luke relates, Jesus joins the men and patiently and tenderly opens their minds to understand Scripture. They don’t recognize him. Jesus declares to the men, and us: “Don’t you see that it had to go like that? Was it not written? Isn’t it what all the Scriptures are about from end to end? Don’t you understand that the Christ had to suffer and so enter into his glory?”
As with the two men, when a resurrected Christ appears, we discover that we have to jettison our small plans because the Father’s plans are unthinkably greater and more wonderful.
I’ve had the opportunity to see what the Father is doing in India through the careful distribution of simple, paper tracts. The numbers are so vast, they can only be believed when I recognize the immense power of God to use a low-caste slum dweller with a Gospel tract to bring a Hindu to faith in Jesus. In our wildest strategic planning with the Board we never envisioned 8,082 new Christians being baptized last year s — or 92 new house churches! Most American churches are thrilled to have baptized 10 new believers last year. Over 3,000 American churches closed their doors in the 12 months God was doing this work in India.
When Christ revealed himself to the men, they went on their way rejoicing. I do the same. I find again that God’s love and his plans for us exceed all that we deserve or even desire.
What are God’s plans for the church in North America? When I look around I feel like Peter walking on a rough sea. Clinging to Jesus is a good response. Let’s bring his faithful presence into a hurting world. Use a tract if you must because nothing you do in the name of Christ is wasted.