The Road to Somewhere

 

Last Sunday, my friend and brother in Christ Pastor Brett Miller from Southeast Christian Church in Minneapolis posted a 23-minute sermon on You Tube titled “The Road to Somewhere.” In my humble opinion, I think its on par with the preaching and teaching you’d find on Kinship Christian Radio, so I’d like to share it with you.

 

But first, a little background on Pastor Brett Miller:

 

I met Pastor Brett a couple of years ago at MANCAMP in northern Minnesota. I’ve been on two mission trips where he has served in a leadership role. He is simultaneously level-headed and passionate about Jesus. He is also a Chaplain with the Minneapolis Police Department. I have nothing but respect for him.

 

Very shortly after churches could no longer meet in their physical buildings, Pastor Brett started video recording his Sunday sermons –as did an enormous number of pastors all over the world. But Pastor Brett changes the location each time. One was done from inside his garage and another from inside a completely empty Target Field. He has connections.

 

And he manages to do this without making it look like we are viewing “Bin Laden cave videos.” (His words.)

 

Anyway, “The Road to Somewhere” was filmed in downtown Minneapolis by a road with buses and bicycles going by in the background. Pastor Brett talks about those two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus on Resurrection Sunday as they talked about what had just happened in Jerusalem. (Luke 24: 13-24)

 

Pastor Brett says, “Those two disciples had watched Jesus minister in Jerusalem, they watched him teach, they watched him perform miracles, and they watched the rulers fan the flames of hate into an inferno, handing over Jesus to be sentenced to death by crucifixion. They watched Jesus carry the cross through the streets of Jerusalem to Golgotha. They watched him being nailed to the cross, lifted high. Cursed. And all that they’d hoped for, the hope that God’s glory would return, the dream that God’s people would be set free, it was all gone in an instant –beaten beyond recognition and crucified with Jesus. 

 

“And so, they left.”… The road they were on was not just away from Jerusalem, it was not just away physically, it was away spiritually. It was away from their faith. They were walking away, and as they walked, they talked, they reinforced one another’s distress. Everything they had hoped for, they were walking away hopeless.”

 

“They talked about what might have been, what could have been, what they saw happen, what didn’t happen, what they knew was supposed to happen and didn’t, and they were angry and they were sad, and they were depressed, and maybe they even said to themselves, “We will never be fooled again. I’m never gonna dream again, not like that. I’m not going to let my hopes get up, only to be crushed.”

 

“Despair is a dangerous place,” Pastor Brett continued. “If you’ve been there, you know. There’s a kind of momentum to it. There’s a power that pulls you deep, deep and then you think that’s all the deeper you can go, but then it goes deeper yet. It’s overwhelming.”

 

“And they had reason. What would you do? I don’t know what I would have done. If my perception would have been that all hope was lost, that everything was taken away, you know, I might have done, you might have done, what they did. You might take the first road out of town and talk and talk some more and not even see the destination or where you’re headed or how dark its going to get deeper and deeper and deeper…and deeper into the hole of despair.”

 

“And despair was all they could see.”

 

“They heard differently. They were there in Jerusalem. They had heard the reports. Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. Women they knew, women they trusted, women they had believed so long now they could not believe. They told them the angels had announced that Jesus was alive. They heard it but they couldn’t believe it. Their hope was crushed.”

 

“And the one thing, the most important thing of all –that Jesus was alive– they could not see.”

 

“Despair is a deadly disease and we need to be clear-eyed about it. America is in a very vulnerable place right now. It’s not just a virus, it’s not just in our isolation…it’s also in the dramatic increases in unemployment. If history is a teacher, despair will be a serious problem for hundreds of thousands of Americans in the coming weeks and months. It’s a dark road, a scary road.”

 

And then Pastor Brett starts talking about those two disciples when Jesus started walking with them on the road to Emmaus but they didn’t recognize him. They are astounded, even incredulous, that this stranger is seemingly the only person in the world who doesn’t know what just happened in Jerusalem.

 

“The one they had put all their hopes in was right there in front of them, but in their despair, they could not see.” Pastor Brett says that in the Greek, they acted like Jesus was the one who was in some kind of bubble, cut off from reality. 

 

“Isn’t that an interesting deal? They were the ones who didn’t know what had happened in Jerusalem, but they were convinced that they did. Despair can play a wicked game. It can twist reality. It can tell God that we know what’s going on more than God know what’s going on. And they believed in their despair…the way any of us are capable when we feel isolated and we feel alone and despair starts calling the shots.”

 

“Ever been there when you think you know better than God, where you’ve experienced something that God knows nothing about, if he’s even there at all? But in his grace, Jesus understands.”

 

And while they think they know all about what really happened, Jesus asks them to tell him about it.

 

“And so they did. They tell him everything except the one thing that changed everything, the one thing that was standing right there with them but they didn’t know. They even tell him, ‘It’s the third day now and we were paying attention. We know about the sign of Jonah, we know this. And its the third day and we’re alone.’ And they knew so much, they were experts at so much –except for the thing that mattered the most. The hope of the world. The Lamb of God, Jesus was right there with them.

 

He’s with us too, in our isolation, in our despair. And sometimes, we need some help remembering that. We’re all like that. 

 

Then Pastor Brett reminds us how Jesus showed those two disciples (and us) that we might be missing something, “And he went back to Moses and he walked through Moses, and he walked through all of the prophets and all of the scriptures that were pointing directly at Jesus and their hearts began to reawaken and they started coming up out of the pit of despair –they were reviving, they were resurrecting!”

 

“And they wanted to keep on visiting. they wanted to keep on talking, they pleaded with Jesus to stop with them at the end of their road. And in another one of those understated verses of Luke’s, ‘And so he stayed.'”

 

“Did you know that? Did you know if you ask Jesus to stay with you, he will stay with you? He won’t leave you. He won’t orphan you, he won’t abandon you. It might feel like it. The road might feel cold. It might feel dark. And you know what? It might be cold and dark. But that won’t stop Jesus. The cross couldn’t stop him. The grave wouldn’t stop him. Whatever you feel, whatever your pain, whatever your hurt, whatever your doubt, he will walk with you and he will stay with you.”

 

“In the end, it’s that moment at the table, that moment when Jesus breaks the bread and shares it with those two disciples when their eyes are opened and they suddenly realize that it is Jesus who has been with them all this time on this road of despair. It was not on the road, but at the table of fellowship and communion when Jesus gave thanks for the bread that their eyes were opened! And they ran back to Jerusalem to confess that they were wrong, that He had risen indeed! He is alive!” 

 

And the stories we share around that table about things that happened in our family, “Or that time we didn’t get to meet together because of a thing called the coronavirus, but that somehow, in the breaking of the bread, there was Jesus. “

 

“Whatever road we are on –apart for now as we may be– there’s a table waiting, and there’s a conversation that’s going to happen somewhere on the other side of the Jordan… you understand?”

 

“We are writing that conversation right now,” said Pastor Brett.

 

Today’s Praise

And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them,

Luke 24:33 (NLT)

 

 

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