Two Wandering Sheep but One Good Shepherd

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My sermon manuscript from Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Union Hill Baptist Church. The outline numbers changed when I copied and pasted it into this publisher. Sorry about that. They aren’t changed easily.

  1. Introduction
    1. All of us get on the wrong path, sometimes. The context of this story is proving to us again that the resurrection of Christ is real. We have days when we doubt. We begin to live for ourselves and not for Jesus and others. I think that some believe in the resurrection in a way that makes them prone to suspicion.
      1. For example, if you would say something like the historical facts don’t matter because I believe this in my heart.
      2. I don’t know about you, but my heart can be very fickle at times. I’d prefer something more sure than my heart.
    2. I mean, someone coming back to life after three days is hard to believe. We feel like we must believe in this truth by faith without any reasonable proof.
    3. Yet, history is full of facts that we believe without having seen it for ourselves. Was George Washington the first president of the United States? Well, yeah. Were you there? No. But all the various documented facts we have makes it reasonable to believe the validity of that truth claim.
    4. Have you considered the amount of eyewitness evidence we have that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reasonable truth claim?
      1. This story we are looking at today is proof.
      2. The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are witnesses.
      3. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15 that over 500 people saw the risen Lord Jesus.
      4. While that is enough for a reasonable faith in the resurrection, have you considered the book of Acts? These men do not risk and lay down their lives for a dead Jesus. If Jesus had not been alive, they would have gone back to fishing.
    5. The resurrection matters everyday of our lives. It frees you to live for Jesus now with certain hope of eternal life with Christ someday! Life is but a vapor. Let’s not waste it.
  2. Main Point
    1. The Risen Lord Jesus pursues two wandering disciples so that they might believe!
  3. Outline
    1. Lost Hope (13-24)
    2. Jesus, the Good Shepherd (25-26)
      1. Though I will not elaborate on this, I do hope you see this: We presume Jesus would give up on us and that he is repulsed by our wandering wicked heart but Jesus surprises us and moves towards us.
    3. A Seven Mile Bible Conference (27-30)
    4. Hope Restored (31-35)
    5. Conclusion/Assignment
  4. Exposition
    1. The Setting
      1. It’s Sunday. The Passover week has just ended. Jesus died on Friday. A Holy Sabbath followed. No one did anything on the Sabbath in Jerusalem. That’s why the women mentioned in this text, waited until Sunday to anoint Jesus’s dead body. And that’s why these two traveling to Emmaus have delayed going home until now.
      2. So who are these two travelers? It says in v. 13 “two of them.” I think Luke intends for us to understand them to be disciples of Jesus but they are not part of the Eleven.
        1. Back in verse 9 it says, (Lk. 24:9)  9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
        2. As you walk through the Gospel Story, we notice a growing number of followers building in the company.
        3. These two travelers are of “all the rest.”
        4. And I think it is significant and encouraging that Jesus appears to these who are not of the Eleven! Though one is named, they are really unknown and that’s encouraging.
    2. Now, let’s explore this first point: Lost Hope
      1. The title of the sermon is “Two Wandering Sheep but One Good Shepherd.” I see that most clearly in their actions of leaving Jerusalem on the third day since the crucifixion and from their own statement in verse 21—”But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” The evidence of their actions and their statement clearly say that they do not believe in the resurrection.
      1. They have lost hope. I suppose many have thought, if they had just been there to see the ministry and death of Jesus then they would have believed. But the Gospels tell the story that everyone abandoned Jesus.
      1. Peter and his friends go fishing. And these two disciples head home.
      1. What hope do any of us have? Seriously?
      1. While these two disciples walk home to Emmaus, the most hopeful thing happens.
      1. The Good Shepherd finds his sheep. Listen to these glorious words!
        1. (Lk. 24:15) 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
        1. Jesus comes to them! That fills my heart with an abundance of hope! And it’s supposed to. It will tune your heart to sing his praise (as we will sing at the end).
        1. Have you lost hope? Jesus the Good Shepherd comes to you.
          1. We should see this story as what really happens to us when we wander off.
          1. I hope to explain in brief how Jesus does this before we end.
    1. These two disciples are discouraged and sadness is written on their faces. This is the mood of this text.
      1. Jesus questions them but they do not recognize him. And it must be noted that “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” Do you hear the passive of this statement? We must understand that God kept them from seeing Jesus for good reason.
      1. Jesus is seen at various places in the Gospels of drawing out what the disciples needed. I recall the man whose son had an unclean spirit. The disciples had attempted to cast out the spirit but were unable to do it. Jesus comes along and this man tells him what was going on and the man says…if you can…to which Jesus replies with a question…if I can? The man says, “I believe, help my unbelief.”
      1. Jesus questions these saddened, wandering disciples to help them, not harm them.
      1. Listen to how they respond: (Lk. 24:19-20) And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
        1. Do you recall Jesus telling his disciples verbatim what these two say?
        1. Back in Luke 9:22 Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
        1. In other words, everything has happened exactly like Jesus said it would so far but they do not believe the last part…on the third day be raised.
        1. Without the resurrection, none of the rest matters.
        1. Notice what else they say: Luke 24:21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
          1. You would think that they would have at least waited around all day on Sunday and headed home on Monday.
          1. But isn’t this just like us? We are so prone to giving up too quickly. Our patience is thin!
      1. And if having not waited through the third day was not enough, there was more evidence that should have giving them pause.
        1. (Lk. 24:22-24) 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,  23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.  24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
        1. This last part is hilarious to us who are reading this story. We know some things they don’t. When they say…him they did not see…we should laugh out loud. He’s standing right in front of them and they don’t see him either!!!
        1. They didn’t wait through the third day. Women from their group found the tomb empty. Angels tell the ladies that Jesus is alive. But they are headed home!
        1. Do you suppose any of us would have acted differently?
        1. Do you laugh at Thomas when he demands to put his finger in nail scarred hands and pierced side?
        1. They were not push overs. Being gullible is not a firm foundation to stand on.
      1. Brothers and sisters, make certain that your faith is built on the Rock and not sand. Because when the winds of doubt and despair blow, you need to know that your faith is secure.
        1. We are all prone to wander…to leave the God we love. May we help each other walk faithfully to the end together, knowing the Good Shepherd will love us to the end and he will finish what he began in us.
  5. I think it is very clear these two disciples were in danger of unbelief. The evidence against them…indeed all of the disciples…makes that certain. But that’s not the end of the story. Two wandering sheep BUT One Good Shepherd remains…praise God!
    1. He asked questions…he listened…now it’s time to respond…indeed call them to repent and believe!
      1. (Lk. 24:25-26) 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
      1. Jesus admonishes these two disciples. He loves them and his love compels him to speak rather forthright.
        1. I can remember while in seminary experiencing this for the first time in my life. I had brothers who genuinely loved me and therefore corrected me.
        1. I grew more in those days than I ever had before. Hearing the truth in love is powerful to change us. Maybe that’s why it seems the church isn’t growing spiritually.
          1. You either have someone being a jerk and laying down the law or someone avoiding a necessary conversation.
      1. Jesus is perfect. He never sinned. His response to these two wandering disciples was perfect. It’s what they needed most because their most desperate need is trusting in Jesus.
        1. They suspect their greatest need is liberation from Rome but their greatest enemy is not Rome but their own sin. That’s what Christ came to do—to pay the penalty for our sin.
        1. Sin leads to death. That’s why Christ had to suffer. No death; no salvation.
        1. Jesus wasn’t coming to rule by might though he could have. But if he did there would be no one to shepherd because no one is righteous. No not one.
        1. He speaks truth to them. O foolish ones, and slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken.
        1. He calls them out and teaches them the truth.
      1. I think it’s appropriate to ask—are you being foolish and slow to believe all that prophets have spoken?
        1. How do we diagnose that? What are the symptoms?
          1. Giving up? Impatience? Not listening to reasonable facts? Not giving oneself to the reading and study of all the Scriptures? Prayerlessness (though we cannot discern this from the text, it usually will accompany the others)?
          1. At some point in our lives, that describes us.
          1. Brothers and sisters, we have hope because Christ is a good Shepherd who continually rescues his sheep.
  6. I’ve often wondered what all Jesus shared with them on the 7 mile walk. I’m glad it’s not written here because I think we need to go dig for it ourselves.
    1. You can take sure confidence in the OT Scriptures because Jesus affirms them clearly here. He appeals to them. He teaches them.
    1. (Lk. 24:27)  27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
      1. Let’s take a brief journey through the OT. You should think of the OT as promises made and the NT as promises fulfilled.
      1. God promises that a child would come to crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).
      1. God calls Abram out of Ur and promises to make him the father of many nations (Abraham) THROUGH his seed (Gen. 12:2-3).
      1. God promises that this child who will be a son of Abraham will be a King from the line of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12; Numbers 24:15-19).
      1. God promises that this one will be a prophet from among his people (Dt. 18:15-18).
      1. As well as a King (Psalm 72).
      1. Job asked for a mediator (Job 33:23-28).
      1. This King is also understood to be the Messiah or Christ—the anointed One to which God will exalt and strengthen (1 Sam 2:1-10).
      1. Not only will this Promised One come from the tribe of Judah, he will be a Son of David who will have the Kingdom and throne forever (2 Sam 7; 1 Chron 17).
        1. And more details about this Davidic King are given in Psalm 132.
      1. He will be rejected (Psalm 118).
      1. Betrayed (Psalms 69, 109).
      1. Die and be raised (Psalms 22, 110).
      1. He will be the LORD’s Anointed and Ruler of the world (Psalms 2, 110).
      1. He will be a triumphant King (Psalms 68, 72).
      1. He will be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14)
      1. His birthplace will be in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
      1. John the Baptist, this Elijah like figure will be his forerunner (Isa. 40:3-5; Mal. 3:1).
      1. He will come riding on a donkey as the crowd shouts Hosanna (Zech. 9:9-10; Ps 118:25-26).
      1. He will be betrayed by one of his disciples (Ps 69:25).
      1. His side will be pierced (Zech 12:10).
      1. He will be the suffering servant who dies for the sins of wicked people (Isa 53).
      1. This messiah will return a second time but he will be riding a warhorse this time (Dan 7:13).
      1. He will rule the city of David as King of kings with no more war (Isa 2:3-4).
    1. This is only a partial list. The Gospel of Matthew is filled with these things. He will often say: (Matt. 1:21-23) 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
      1. Just go look for every time he uses “fulfilled.”
  7. Hope lost. The Good Shepherd. The Seven Mile Bible Conference. And now hope restored.
    1. Many of the appearances of the risen Lord Jesus are centered around a meal. Though he has been with them, they have not yet recognized him. However, Jesus is recognized in the breaking of bread.
    1. God is not into knowing what he looks like. You shouldn’t be concerned with knowing what Jesus looked like. He doesn’t want you to carry around a photo of him in your wallet or purse—or hang his picture on the fridge.
    1. He wants you to know him by all the ways the Bible describes him. Do you know Jesus well enough to have recognized him? His own people did not recognize him.
      1. Do you remember at the end of John when the risen Lord Jesus comes walking along the beach, starts a charcoal fire, calls out to his disciples who are fishing but have caught nothing and he says let down your net on the right side? When they caught an enormous amount of fish, John said…it is the Lord and Peter jumps out of the boat and swam to shore.
    1. After he admonishes them and teaches them all that the scriptures had to say about him, then he opened their eyes!
    1. But before they even recognized him, God’s word was already at work on them.
      1. (Lk. 24:32)  32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
      1. Brothers and sisters, while you might want Jesus to come to you in bodily form—and he will someday—you can sit down with him and know him in the Word—indeed he is the Word. And he has given us the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of Christ.
    1. Is hope restored? Their actions reveal it is–(Lk. 24:33-35) 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,  34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
  8. Conclusion
    1. We are prone to wander.
    1. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
    1. We need to believe and Jesus sees to that personally.
    1. We need to know all that the Scriptures say concerning Jesus. They are readily available to us.
    1. Our actions usually reveal our hearts. Evaluate the evidence in your life to see if you are in the faith. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ.
  9. Assignment
    1. Make a point this week to see Jesus in God’s Word. And it’s not just for you. Share these things with others!
    1. Believe that Jesus Christ is risen!
    2. Live differently in light of it.

About Jason and Kimberly

Jason is the pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church in Goodlettsville, TN. Kimberly homeschools our three awesome kids. We enjoy being together as a family in wherever so long as we are together! Grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus Christ! If you have any questions or would like to chat you can contact me at pastor@unionhillbaptistchurch.com. View all posts by Jason and Kimberly

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