Steven Furtick — No More Nails
Last week, we met an interesting character. Does anyone remember his name? Yeah. Cleo. We called him Cleo. The Bible calls him Cleopas. But we're friendly with Cleo, and so we gave him a nickname. And we were surprised that we have never met him before, and he's the first one that Jesus appears to. Well, I should give you a little bit more context than that.
The women went that morning... 'cause sometimes women have more faith than men do. They have the ability to feel God in ways, you know — men — when you get men to worship, it's like a miracle. Women will lift their hands. They just don't really have a problem coming into the presence of God. And sometimes a woman will have the kind of persistence and patience with a child.
I thought y'all would back me up right here. I'm trying to give some love to the women. But they went to the tomb, remember, to anoint Jesus' body, but His body wasn't there. And in some ways, I guess, it was an indictment that they thought He would still be there when He told them, I'm getting up on the third day. They didn't really believe that.
Even though they were sentimental, they had not yet experienced that kind of supernatural resurrection power that enables you to know that even if it seems dead, was dead, is dead, it doesn't have to stay dead. That's what resurrection tells me. That's why our logo as a church is a neon logo. A neon arrow pointing upward to let you know that wherever your life is today, love can lift you.
Whatever pit you've fallen into, love can lift you. Whatever time you've lost, whatever years you've wasted, love can lift you. Whatever fear has held you down up until this point, the grave is empty. He is risen, and we're going somewhere. We're going somewhere. So the women come to anoint His body, but His body isn't there.
Ooh, I feel excited today. God is going to set somebody free. I feel it in every fiber of my being. God is going to set somebody free today. Yeah. Yeah. His body wasn't there. And okay. So His body isn't there. So He's up out of the grave. Where is He? Well, He kind of appears throughout the day, but I want to go back to where... can I pick up where I left off last week? Don't worry about it if you weren't here. I'll bring you in.
So He walks with Cleo and this unnamed companion. Some scholars speculate it could have been his wife. The text doesn't say that. The text doesn't give us the other name because sometimes it's not about you. It wasn't about revealing who the other person was. It wasn't even about Cleo.
And Jesus is sneaking up behind two travelers who are disappointed and discouraged. Because God doesn't need for you to be happy to do a work in your heart, okay? He doesn't just hang out with people who pretend like they have it all together. Cleo is not only concerned, but in many ways he is crushed because his expectation of who Jesus would be, what He would do, wasn't met when He died on the cross. It crushed Cleo.
And Jesus comes alongside the one who is crushed and his unnamed companion, and He walks with them. Away from the place where the promise will fall. Toward an unknown place — well, it's unknown today. They knew where it was at the time. But it was so insignificant in that day because God doesn't just show up in big places and appear to important people. He might show up and speak to somebody in the back of the room.
Somebody in overflow. Somebody who isn't even in the church building. They're in a hospital bed. He goes to this village called Emmaus. And along the way ... wouldn't it be awesome if Jesus himself preached to you? I mean, I know I'm pretty good, Stacey, but imagine.
So y'all are walking, and Jesus comes up. And doesn't ask if He can walk with you. He just starts talking. And He asks them a question. Okay, listen: Before God gives you the answers, sometimes He'll change your questions. Is it good?
Mighty quiet in this church today. Cena, it's mighty quiet. Cena looks good. He shaved his head. Looking like a UFC fighter. Looking like a mixed martial artist. Don't be chocking nobody, Cena. But He goes for a walk and... Hey, whatcha talkin' about? And they tell Him about their disappointment, and He can handle it. Doesn't chase Him away. They tell Him about their doubt, and He can handle it.
And that's revolutionizing me because I thought I had to have faith for God to meet with me. But I'm growing to understand that maybe... maybe God's presence is most powerful when I get honest about my doubt, get honest about my pain, and seek Him even still. Maybe that's where I learn the most... when it doesn't go the way I want it to.
The detours, the details, the dead ends. The detours. Remember we said we want to see Him in 3-D. So here's the Son of God, walking with two travelers away from the destination. I'm supposed to be on that stage right now, but we're walking the wrong way. And as we're walking, He's talking. And He explains to them all about himself.
The Bible says that He started with Moses and the prophets, and He talks about maybe... I don't know exactly what He said. The Bible just summarizes. But maybe He talks about the Passover lamb that Moses had the people prepare to celebrate and commemorate their coming out of Egypt and their forgiveness of sin.
Now they're hearing about the Passover lamb, but they don't know that they're standing with the Passover lamb. They won't recognize that right now because usually you only recognize the full extent of what God was doing in reverse. So while you're on the road, you might not see it. But they keep walking. And Jesus is just talking. And they like His teaching, and they're interested in what He's saying.
You know how I know? Because when they got to where they were going, the Bible says it was a seven-mile journey. And that's why we're calling it seven-mile miracle, and we're using it to look at the seven last statements that Jesus made on the cross that are recorded in the gospels.
But He went with them all seven miles. He went with them all the way to Emmaus. And when they got to the place where they thought they were going, okay -- because they weren't gonna stay there long. God will meet you where you are, but He won't leave you there.