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You remember the story: It was the Sunday morning after the crucifixion of Jesus and the women (note) had gone to the tomb to find the body of Jesus. They had taken spices and were going to anoint the body of Jesus and make it smell better. But it wasn’t in the tomb and two angels appeared to the women and asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24.5b-6a).


The same day two followers of Jesus were walking on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus and, as they walked along, they were discussing what had happened in town. They were intent on their conversation and did not notice when Jesus began walking with them, thinking it was just another man. Jesus asked them what they were discussing, and they were incredulous that he did not know what had been happening. They explained how this very morning women had found that the body of Jesus was missing and, furthermore, angels said he was alive.


Jesus then chided them for their ignorance of the Scripture and reviewed the writings of Moses and the prophets and how they pointed to the Messiah. They did not know it was him and by the time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey, Jesus acted as if he was leaving them. it was getting late, so the two men invited Jesus to stay the night with him.


He went into their house and, when eating with them, took bread, blessed it, broke it into pieces and gave some to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they knew it was Jesus.


Jesus had tested how intently they wanted to know him by acting like he was leaving them. Sometimes he may do that to us as well. He may act like he is not hearing our prayer just to see how intent we are about continuing to ask him for the answer.


I am glad Joice did not act like she was not interested when I ask her to marry me. I think I would have kept trying because love is like that. Sometimes acting is necessary to get someone’s attention, but not in my case.


Sometimes our kids would act like they couldn’t hear us when we asked them to do something. I have been like that with the Holy spirit. I have been prompted to talk to someone, write a letter, make a phone call, or in some other way make myself available to help someone, and I have acted like I was too busy.


Sometimes my wife would ask me to do something, and I would also act like I had something more important to do. I missed a chance to be a loving and responding husband.


We can also act like we will do something and then not do it. That is probably even worse because someone is depending on us to keep our word and we don’t. We have “meant to”, but not completely. We got sidetracked and our words were empty.


Peter and the disciples who went with Jesus to the garden of Gethsemane intended to wait and pray with him, but they fell asleep. The agreed verbally and acted as if they would pray with Jesus, but they couldn’t stay awake. I know the feeling!


What if Jesus had simply acted like he was going to bear the sins of humanity by going to the inquisition, then at the last moment decided that it was too much to bear? That would not be hard for us to understand because that would probably be our nature. But Jesus was determined to carry through with what the Father’s instructions.


The lesson for me: It is not enough to act like I am following Jesus if at the same time I am sinning willfully in some way.


Spouses may be cheating, the financial officer may be stealing money, or members of a church may be arguing over some point of Scripture, but more likely about whose turn it was to bring the donuts. But are they are acting like Christians?


If there is acting going on in a church, it is probably not with the good intentions Jesus had on the road to Emmaus. He acted like he was going to leave the two men, but he didn’t. 

I don’t want to claim to be a Christian, then act as if I am not.


Karl Franklin


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