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 15-30 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.
This week’s lesson takes place on the day of Jesus’ resurrection, or Easter Sunday. Jesus’ followers have experienced some of the highest highs and deepest lows and aren’t even sure what to think or feel at this point. They celebrated at Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem on the day we call Palm Sunday. They were there as Jesus was arrested and crucified. They are confused, scared, and grieving. They thought Jesus was going to change everything, but then he was killed by the people they thought he would rule over. They have just heard from some of the women that Jesus’ grave is empty, though; and an angel said that Jesus had come back to life. Could they possibly be right? If so, where is Jesus now? If not, what happened to his body?
- Read through the passage again in sections and think about how the friends might be feeling and what they might be thinking throughout this story. Thinking about everything that has happened up until this point, how do you think the friends are feeling in verses 13-16?
- How do you think the friends are feeling in verses 17-19 when the stranger asks them what they are talking about? Think about a time that something big has happened that affects masses of people, if not everyone (…like a pandemic). When things like that happen, there are certain things you expect everyone to talk about. These friends can’t believe that this stranger wouldn’t just expect that they were talking about all that had happened to Jesus.
- As the friends explain all that has happened in verses 19-24, what feelings do they indicate they are experiencing?
- In verses 25-29, the stranger seems to scold them for their lack of understanding. How do you think the disciples felt about the way the stranger responds to them, how do you think they might have reacted to the stranger’s explanation of all that has happened, and what do you think prompted them to invite the stranger to stay with them?
- When it becomes clear to the friends who the stranger really is in verses 30-32, how are they feeling? What do you think they said to each other?
- As the disciples return to Jerusalem in verses 33-35, how do you think they are feeling?
As the men journey to Emmaus, it is almost as if their physical journey is the embodiment of the spiritual journey they are on to know the truth. As soon as they find the truth – that Jesus is alive and continues to be with them – they turn around and share the good news.
All of this must have been such a confusing and surreal experience for the friends. They were some of Jesus’ closest followers, yet this stranger just shows up and explains all of the Scriptures to them. They’ve just lost someone they admired, loved, and had hoped would be their redemption. They not only lost him, but they are scared that their own lives may also be in danger. They hear from their good friends that an angel has told them that Jesus is alive, but that sounds absurd – completely unbelievable. How can they possibly make sense of all that has happened?
But a stranger comes upon them and seems to have answers. They don’t know this man, but they beg him to stay with them. He begins as their guest, but he becomes the host when he breaks the bread and shares it. The moment they realize that Jesus is there with them, though, he disappears. Why does Jesus disappear? It is almost as if he wants them to know that he is alive and still with them, but their job is now to go and tell others rather than just sit at his feet.
- It is in what Jesus does – the breaking, blessing, and sharing of the bread – that the friends realize who he is. What are things you can do at home, school, or work to help others recognize the love of Jesus in you?
- Who are people in your life who reveal Jesus to you? How do they reveal Jesus to you? Consider sending them a note, text message, or a phone call to let them know you appreciate them.
- There’s a quote from Mr. Rogers that often gets shared during hard times – shootings, natural disasters, or this pandemic – that goes, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” During these days that are hard on so many people, we can look for those who are being the hands and feet of Jesus. Who do you know who is being the hands and feet of Jesus for others right now? Share stories about ways that people you know or don’t know have been stepping up in big or small ways to care for others.
Dear God, we are grateful for the people in our lives who help us know you better through the words they say and in the ways they live. Help us see the ways you work in and through them and give us the desire to join in your work in this world. Give us the same passion to share the good news of your grace with others that the two friends on the road to Emmaus had. Amen.