"What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?" Jesus - Luke 24:17
These are the first words, Luke records, spoken by Jesus, after The Resurrection. They initiate the ultimate intervention in the life of a couple of disciples on The Road to Emmaus. They reveal the character of Jesus to anyone facing a long, downhill road of discouragement or disillusionment, in the midst of a crisis of faith. When the crisis hits, Jesus is always The First Responder.
Two people, eyewitnesses to The Crucifixion, are walking and talking their way downhill, literally and emotionally, from the city of Jerusalem. They were leaving behind what appeared to be the worst experience of their lives. Jesus had been falsely accused, secretly arrested, wickedly judged, painfully scourged, and finally executed. They were devastated by the process of the prolonged crisis, and they were heading home to try and piece their lives back together.
The biblical account states, "As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus Himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him." Luke 24:16
Jesus intervened in the middle of their conversation about their crisis. They were conversing with one another, but they were not communicating with God about what had happened to them. God has designed the human spirit to be blinded by merely talking about His Son. Insight into any crisis is only gained by talking to Him. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
Note to self: It is possible for you to hold a firm belief in the doctrine of The Resurrection and yet, effectively keep Jesus in the tomb. The devil will encourage you to invest great energy, and time studying and preaching about the concept of The Resurrection, as long as you don't access any life-giving power, from carrying on a consistent conversation with The Risen Christ. Again, TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
Since 1975, I have conducted hundreds of funerals. WARNING: Old preacher joke. "I am better at funerals than weddings. Everyone I have buried has stayed buried. Not every couple I have married has stayed married." Warned you.
There is a huge difference between a funeral eulogy, and the power of The Resurrection. One honors the dead, the other conquers death. Anyone looking for new life when they face the death of a vision or a loved one would be wise to start a conversation with Jesus. He is ready when you are.
Paul prayed, "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;" Philippians 3:10 KJV
I heard these words spoken by my father, Don Miller, as I shared a cup of coffee with him at our kitchen table on Long Island, New York in January 1975. That morning I was preparing myself to make the drive through New York City and head down the road to Fort Worth, Texas, to begin my second semester at seminary. Dad and I were having prayer together, and he shared this verse of scripture with me as his "VERSE FOR THE YEAR." It was a habit of his to begin each year with a focus on a Bible truth that he wanted God to make clear to him. I know I listened, but I was young, ambitious, and anxious to get on the road to ministry. Little did I know what was in store for my father and our family.
Not long after arriving in Fort Worth, Dad's Chairman of Deacons, Darrell Waddle, called with the news that Dad had been taken to emergency surgery and most of his colon had been removed. He promised to keep me posted. In a few hours, he alerted me that peritonitis had set in, and Dad was being rushed to surgery to save his life. The result was a rough cut procedure that left him with three colostomies, and a poor prospect of recovery. This painful process lasted for over a year, and included three more surgeries. The threat of death hung over every one of them.
Ninety days later, I returned to New York to preach on Easter Sunday for my Dad. What I saw shocked me. My father's powerful, robust 190 pound frame had reduced to less than 90 pounds in 90 days. Worse, from his wheelchair, he looked like a feeble old man ready for death. Easter morning was Dad's first day back at his church. People were stunned at what they saw. Dad sat on the front row in a wheel chair and bathrobe. He smiled. I wept. So did everyone else. As bad as it was, it was the first sign of hope we had all seen in a long time. The power of the resurrection, indeed.
Let me say, my father kept quoting Philippians 3:10 to me, and to anyone who would listen, during the entire painful process of his recovery. It was not a fool's mantra. This was the word of God, and it brought power to his prayer life as it was deepened by the fellowship of his suffering that he shared with The Risen Christ. What he suffered, he gave to Jesus, and He showed up for every step of his crisis, never leaving his side. By maintaining his consistent conversation with Jesus, every step along the way, Dad began to see how Jesus could make sense out of what didn't make sense at the beginning of the crisis. Jesus always does.
Have you recognized Jesus standing by your side? He is waiting to make sense out of your crisis. Are you still talking about it to someone else who is ill equipped to shed light on it? Invite Jesus into your conversation, and He will turn on the light. Talking just keeps you in the dark, and annoys those who are trying to act like they care. Trust me. They are tired of hearing about it.
TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!