I am the worlds worst at giving and following directions. Lost is my favorite TV show. I argue with my GPS. My wife tells me I am the only person she knows who can get lost in my own driveway. I once got lost because I took a shortcut while I was taking a shortcut. When someone asks me for directions I usually tell them they would be better off getting lost on their own.
Sometimes getting lost can be a major inconvenience. A good friend of mine, who is at least as clueless as I am about directions, let his wife go to sleep while he drove them to their vacation destination. He had been driving for three hours when his wife woke up and realized they had been heading in the opposite direction from their destination and were over 200 miles off course!
Sometimes getting lost can lead to confusion and disaster. During the Battle of the Bulge, the last desperate attempt of the German army to divide Allied forces during World War II, German soldiers switched the road signs that led to Ambleve and Malmedy. The resulting confusion slowed Allied reinforcements giving the German army time to advance and drag out the battle.
Sometimes getting lost can lead to eternal destruction. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of two ways…one that would lead to life and the other that would lead to destruction. "Enter through the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matt. 7:13-14, NASV). But we are not left to find the narrow way of life on our own. When Thomas complained that the disciples did not know where Jesus was going and therefore did not know the way, Jesus responded, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
This Sunday, Christians all over the world will celebrate the risen Christ. Where death reigned, life now reigns supreme. Where darkness and despair choked the light of life now light and hope give new meaning to life. Jesus Christ lives and because He lives, the future is filled with the promise of life everlasting for all who believe.
How can we know the road to the risen Lord? Luke 24:13-35 tells the story of two disciples who found the road to the risen Lord while walking on the road to a village named Emmaus. In a face-to- face encounter with the risen Christ they learned four things about the road that would lead them to Him.
First, the road to the risen Lord goes through the cross. The way to life for a lost and dying world had to be opened by a death. It was the humiliation, suffering, and death of Jesus, His shed blood, which opened the way to a living relationship with God. The two disciples were talking about the crucifixion when Jesus began walking with them. They described how the one they believed to be the Messiah had been delivered to the chief priests and rulers and had been sentenced to death. Following Christ means believing before there can be a resurrection there must be the pain, suffering, and death of the cross. Paul said it best in Galatians 6:14, "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, though which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
Second, the road to the risen Lord has Christ as a traveling companion. Just as Jesus walked with his disciples on the dusty roads of Judea during His earthly life, He walks with them still as the risen Lord, always encouraging them and teaching them to stay on the right road. We need Christ the traveling Companion. We need His presence in our lives as we walk along life's road. He guides us through the maze of trials, the multitude of tears, and the mundane sameness that can settle over us like a cloud. He celebrates our triumphs when we are careful to give Him the glory and He guides us past the shadow of death into the light of eternal life.
Third, the road to the risen Lord is uncovered by His Word. Verse 27 of Luke 24 says, "Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." The disciple's eyes were opened after hearing the Word of God. It was the Word that caused the disciples to want Jesus to stay with them. His teaching created a hunger that made them want to know more. God's Word is like that…it draws us in and leads us to the truth about who Jesus is.
Finally, the road to the risen Lord turns cooling into courage. When Jesus met the two disciples they were "standing still and looking sad." But when they realized it was Jesus, the risen Lord who had been teaching them, they said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road" (Luke 24:32a)? Verse 33 tells us that they "got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem" so they could relate their experiences. Despondency gave way to rejoicing and despair gave way to courage.
When we look at the state of the world today we are often tempted to stand still and mourn. But we must remember our mourning is turned to joy when we find ourselves on the road to the risen Lord! He is risen, indeed!