26 April 2020

The initial reaction of the disciples to Jesus death must have been one of despair, disillusionment, shattered dreams and fear. This was exemplified in the account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. We are looking at this story in our live services this week. Cleopas says, his voice laden with pathos, “we thought that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” The expectation of a Messianic deliverer dominated Jewish thinking at that time. Jesus words “My kingdom is not of this world” were perhaps long forgotten. Yet the resurrection changed all that! Out of what looked like defeat and failure would come Good News for the world and the building of a kingdom, as the New Testament puts it” that cannot be shaken”.

On the night of December 9th 1914, Edison Industries was destroyed by fire. The loss exceeded $2 million along with the majority of Thomas Edison’s work. He was insured for only $238 because the buildings were constructed of concrete which was thought to be fireproof. At 67 years of age, the great inventor watched his life’s work go up in flames. The next morning after firefighters had brought the inferno under control, he surveyed his charred dreams and his crushed hopes. He looked at the scene and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew”. Three weeks after the fire, Edison produced one of the world’s great inventions – the first phonograph – the progenitor of the technology that has undergirded music and entertainment for over a century.

The disciples gave up and ran away on Jesus’s arrest and betrayal. Only Peter followed at a distance and he would, as you know, deny Jesus 3 times. We do not know where they went – perhaps they were too convicted to go home and too confused to go on. But they did return, walking the dark streets of Jerusalem to find themselves in the Upper Room. Perhaps there was a collective licking of their wounds. Or perhaps there was solace in the presence of others. We have all walked the dark streets of our Jerusalem. To change the metaphor we may have found the sand castles of our faith swept aside by waves of panic and insecurity. And yet when the gloom is thick and hope seems lost, a familiar face walks through the wall!

This Easter there is an invitation to come out of the shadows. To recognise as Thomas Edison put it, that all our mistakes, and we would add sin, have been burned up. A repentant heart is enough to summon the Son of God to walk through our walls of sin and shame and bring forgiveness, hope and new life with a new beginning. Here is a prayer from the American writer Max Lucado “Father thank you that you have no problem walking through the walls that I sometimes hide behind. I welcome you to come with your forgiveness and shed your light and joy into my life, In Jesus name Amen”