Our Blog

Children's Lesson: The Road to Emmaus

While we are unable to meet for Sunday School, I will post an adaptation of the children's Sunday School lesson every Monday.  Think of the lesson as a guide to discuss a story from the Bible together.  Each lesson will include some introductory material, a Scripture reading, questions for review and discussion, an activity suggestion, a short prayer, and a memory verse.  I encourage you to take just 10-15 minutes every week to actively engage your children or grandchildren in this opportunity to grow together in your faith!

Introduction:

Share some background information before reading the story together.

Just like with our story last week, today’s story takes place just after Jesus’ resurrection.  We celebrate Jesus coming back to life, his resurrection, on Easter.  In today’s story, two of Jesus’ followers are on a walk to Emmaus.  They are feeling sad, scared, and confused.  They are sad because their friend Jesus died.  They are scared because they wonder if something bad might happen to them, too.  They are confused because Jesus’ body isn’t in the place he was buried, and they have heard that an angel said that he is alive.  They don’t understand how someone who was dead could come back to life.  While they are walking to another town, they are talking about everything that has happened and trying to make sense of it all. 

Read:

Read the story of Jesus appearing to two men while walking down a road to a town called Emmaus.  You can read the story from the Bible or the simplified version of the story from the Spark Story Bible below.

Luke 24:13-35

The Story:

Three days after Jesus died, Cleopas and his friend were slowly walking down the road to Emmaus. They were walking slowly because they felt very sad. “Why did Jesus have to die?” they wondered. After a while, a stranger began to walk along with them. The stranger was really Jesus, but Cleopas and his friend didn’t know it.

“What are you talking about?” the stranger asked.

The men looked at each other, “Are you the only person in town who doesn’t know what just happened?” they asked. They told the stranger what had happened to Jesus. “Jesus was a great teacher, “Cleopas said.

“We hoped he was the one God promised would save the world, but instead he died on a cross.  We took Jesus’ body down and put it in a tomb. This morning our friends went to the tomb, but Jesus’ body was gone. They said there was an angel there instead. The angel told our friends, ‘Jesus is alive,’ but…”

“Stop being silly,” the stranger said. “How many times do you need to hear this? It was God’s plan for Jesus to die and become alive again to save the world!”

By now they were almost to Emmaus.  Cleopas invited the stranger to stay for dinner. During dinner, the stranger picked up a loaf of bread, broke it, blessed it, and gave each man a piece. All of a sudden, Cleopas and his friend recognized the stranger. It was Jesus.

But then Jesus disappeared! Cleopas and his friend jumped up, ran from the room, and went to tell the rest of Jesus’ disciples that Jesus really was alive. God kept another promise.

Review Questions:

  • Who appeared with the two friends while they are walking?
  • Did the friends know who the stranger was?
  • How were the friends feeling while they were walking?
  • When did the friends recognize that the stranger was Jesus?

Discussion Questions:

  • How do you think the friends felt when they realized the stranger was Jesus?
  • Why do you think they realized that the stranger was Jesus after he broke the bread, blessed it, and gave it to them? Many of our younger children are not with us in worship to have seen us practice communion. You might need to tell them about Jesus’ last supper with his disciples and then you can explain how we observe the Lord’s Supper. 
  • The friends realized it was Jesus because of something he did – he broke the bread, blessed it, and shared it with them. There are lots of things we can do to help other people see Jesus.  What kinds of things can you do to help others see Jesus?

Activity:

Today’s story tells us about a time that Jesus walked down a road with two friends even though they did not recognize him.  Jesus is always with us, too!  Take a walk together as a family. Share about times and ways that you have known that Jesus was with you and talk about ways you see Jesus in other people.  Think of something each of you can do this week that would show Jesus to someone else. 

Pray:

Dear God, thank you for always being with us.  Thank you for giving us family members and friends who care for us the way you care for us. Help us make choices that show your love to others. Amen.

Memory Verse:

They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed.” Luke 24:34

 

Posted by Sam Oakley

Faith in Action: An Unhindered Gospel

An Unhindered Gospel

Throughout history, we have always distrusted the stranger, the outsider, the one who isn’t a part of our group.  Even though the human family shares the same Creator, we live lives of estrangement.

This antagonism toward the stranger has often made its way into the life of the church.  That is why the early church in Acts needed a lot of help from the Holy Spirit in learning how to make room for the person who seemed strange or different to them.  As we have seen so far in our readings from the book of Acts, one of the first struggles of the Jewish church in Jerusalem was to accept Hellenist Jews who were not originally from Israel.  And just about the time they figured out how to do that, the Hellenist Jewish Christian Philip went to Samaria to preach the gospel.  You will recall that Jews despised Samaritans and would typically would not even walk through their land, their animosity was so great.

Well, while Philip was in Samaria, crowds of Samaritans believed, were baptized and joined the church.  So now the body of believers in Jesus included not only the Hellenists, but Samaritans as well.  As Philip was trying to decide how to break this news to the apostles back in Jerusalem, an angel of the Lord told him to get on the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza.  While he was traveling, he saw an Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot.  The Bible never gives us this man’s name.  We only see him as Philip saw him – he is black, he is a foreigner, and he is a eunuch.  In other words, he is not close to being an Israelite.

The eunuch was reading from the book of Isaiah.  Philip got into the chariot and began to share the good news of Jesus with him.  He had to wonder if the gospel would reach someone as different from the apostles as the eunuch was.  But it did; and the eunuch professed faith in Jesus and was baptized.  Now, Philip just had to figure out how to explain to the Christians back in Jerusalem that yet another outsider had become a believer.

All of this reminds me of a story the late Fred Craddock, preacher and teacher of preachers, told of his very first failure as a pastor.  It occurred when he was still a seminary student serving a small church in east Tennessee, twenty miles from Oak Ridge.  This is what he said:

Oak Ridge had gotten into place, the atomic energy thing was booming, and folk were coming and constructing that little town into a city.

People were coming from everywhere, in tents and trailers and little temporary carts, and all kinds of leanto’s, and they covered those beautiful little towns with temporary quarters, wash hanging out on the fences, and little kids crying through the muddy places where all these things were parked.  And my little church, aristocratic little church, white frame building, was nearby.

It was a nice little church with wonderful people, and I called the board together and said, “We need to reach out to those folk who are here.  They’ve just come in from everywhere, and they’re fairly close, and here’s our mission.”

And the chairman of the board said, “No, I don’t think so.”

And I said, “Why?”

“They won’t fit in, After all, they’re just here temporarily, living in those trailers and all.”

“Well, they’re here temporarily, but they need the gospel.  They need a church, now why don’t…”

     “Naw, I don’t think so.”

The upshot of it all was a resolution which said, “Members will be admitted to this church from families who own property in the county.”

It was unanimous, except for my vote, and I was reminded that I couldn’t vote.

     “They won’t fit in, they just won’t fit in.”

How many times have we heard that sentiment, spoken or just implied, in the church of Christ?  It had to be on Philip’s mind as he traveled back to Jerusalem.  The water of baptism had made the eunuch and him brothers in the family of Jesus, but would the people back home ever accept it?

By the way, years later Fred Craddock went back to Oak Ridge and drove by that little church.  As he came upon the parking lot, he saw it was full, BMW’s and pick-ups.  And going inside were white people and black people, poor people and rich people, landowners and folks from the trailer parks.  And over the door of the church a large sign: Barbeque Restaurant.  All You Can Eat, $6.99. Come On In.

You see, the eunuch, and you, and I all belong in the family of God.  Our names are written on the spiritual walls of the church.  It has nothing to do with our limitation, sins, and hurts.  It has nothing to do with the family we had, and it certainly has nothing to do with our own righteousness.  But it has everything to do with Jesus, the one who died and rose outside Jerusalem to make you and me and everyone who desires a part of the family of God. 

 Come on in.  All you can eat.  Everybody welcome.

Thanks be to God!

Posted by Ron Glover
in Youth

Youth Lesson: Witness!

While we are unable to meet for Sunday School, I will post an adaptation of the youth Sunday School lesson every Wednesday.  Think of the lesson as a guide to discuss a passage of Scripture as a family.  Each lesson will include some introductory material, a Scripture reading, questions for discussion, and a short prayer.  I encourage you to take just 15 minutes every week over dinner, at the end of the day, or whenever best fits your family schedule to actively engage your students in this opportunity to grow together as a family in faith. 

Introduction:

This lesson picks up halfway through the second chapter of Acts.  Big things have happened right beforehand.  This story takes place just 50 days after Easter.  In less than 2 months’ time, the disciples have watched Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross, resurrection from the dead, and ascension into Heaven. 

Our story today takes place on Pentecost. Pentecost is the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.  We will talk more about Pentecost in several weeks, but you may remember that Pentecost is the day that it looked like tongues of fire descended on the disciples and they began to speak in different languages.  The disciples were able to share the good news about Jesus to people from all over the world in their own languages.  Our story today is part of a message that Peter delivers on Pentecost. 

Read:

Acts 2:22-32

Discussion: 

  • Have each person share something from the passage that seems to be one of the most important ideas. Write each idea down.
  • Take each of these ideas and together write one sentence that states the meaning of the passage and incorporates each of the ideas.
  • Read your main idea sentence together. Have each person share something they feel that this main idea calls them to do.

 Additional Information:

Before Jesus’ death, there was a lot of disagreement about who he was.  Even his closest disciples didn’t really understand who Jesus was or what he had come to do.  After his death and resurrection, though, they were better able to see that he was the promised Messiah, the Christ.

Peter’s impromptu sermon at Pentecost proclaims the power of the resurrection to those who didn’t really know anything about Jesus as well as to those who just weren’t really sure who Jesus was.  Peter wants everyone to understand what he knows to be true – that the world changed with the wonder of Jesus’ resurrection.  Through the resurrection, Peter understands and wants everyone to know that death no longer has the final word and that in Jesus all things – including us – are made new.

 Application Questions:

  • What makes it hard to tell other people about your faith or God’s love?
  • What difference does your faith make in your life that you would want others to know?
  • What can you say or do to share your faith with others?

Prayer:

Dear God, we give you thanks for the people who have walked this faith journey ahead of us – for family, for friends, and for those whose faith stories we can only read about.  We ask you to guide us as we figure out our own paths on our journeys of faith.  Help us to bear witness to your life-changing love in what we say and in what

Posted by Sam Oakley

1234567