About Me

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Knoxville, TN, United States
Interim Pastor of Evergreen Presbyterian Church (USA), Dothan, AL.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

On the Road Again

2017-04-30 Luke 24:13-35 On the Road Again


On the road again.

Just can't wait to get on the road again.

The life I love is making music with my friends.

And I can't wait to get on the road again.


Question: What do Willie Nelson and Jesus have in common?

They both just can't wait to get on the road again.

Also, long hair and beards.

Maybe some problems rendering unto Caesar.

But it's their shared love of the road that concerns us today.


You see, Jesus not only has the road in common with Willie, he also shares the highway with us.

Sometimes we get that.

We wave through the windows when he pulls up alongside.

Do that "steering wheel finger hey" when he passes going the other way.

But a lot of the time we're so obsessed with getting to a destination that Jesus is the last thing we see.

Just like these guys in the Bible.

Who are, on the road again.




Road construction.


I am amazed at the amount of dirt being moved on Alcoa Highway.

My favorite is watching the monster trucks going near-vertical up the hill at Montlake Drive.

Those drivers really have to have faith.

Enough to move a mountain.

They go up to get the dirt from on high.

And then bring the dirt down low.

Moving dirt.

That's progress for ya.

It is amazing how much change takes place every day along the 1.7 miles from Woodson Drive to Maloney Road.


From Jerusalem to Emmaus it's a seven mile stretch of road.

Not that far.

But it's amazing how much change takes place along that highway.

It's not dirt that's being moved – it's the hearts and minds of Cleopas and his friend.


Cleopas knows more than you do.

He gets Breaking News alerts on his phone.

He's up on current events.

You can hear it in how he talks to dumb-old Jesus.


"Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?"


"Like, it's going viral.

"Even the President's tweeting about it."


"Are you the ONLY one who does not know?"


Cleopas. Cleopas. Cleopas.

Digging himself into a hole of biblical proportions.


I'm more like Cleopas than I'd like to admit.

But I don't think I'm alone.

We see the things that are taking place these days (and I love the way Luke puts that) –

we see the things that are taking place these days –

the trucks going up and down, the barrels moving in and moving out,

but we lack the vision of the big picture.

I've seen the TDOT maps.

I've looked at the computer models.

But for the life of me, I can't figure out how what I see along the road now is going to get to how it's supposed to look then.

Someday, when the highway is finished, if I'm still breathing, I'll see the finished product and go,

"Ohhhh. So that's why I couldn't get into CVS."

I know the plan, but it's hard to see beyond the things that are taking place these days.


And obviously, Cleopas and his buddy were not ignorant of the plan.

They were smart.

They knew scriptures.

They knew prophesy.

They were not blind to the news of the world.

They had been there for Palm Sunday and Holy Week and Easter.

But they weren't far enough down the road to fit all the parts into a big picture.

They were here, but they weren't there, not yet.

But they were on the road.

That's progress.

They were getting there.

But is there where they needed to be?

It's like Jesus is showing them one of those signs that says, "You are here."

Wouldn't it be great if they had signs that said, "Jesus is here"?

And then you could go from here to there?

On the road again?


We call this story The Road to Emmaus, but it turns out it's not really the road to Emmaus.

Those guys thought they were going seven literal, earth miles.

They thought they were going from the map's here to the map's there.

Like Dora the Explorer.

But without the exploring.

They had no idea what road they were really on.

Sometimes the road surprises us, too.




Road ways.


In the Gospel According to John, Jesus says,

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6.)


Jesus says, "I am the way."

Did you know… that before Christianity was Christianity it was called, "The Way"?

Believers were adherents of, "The Way."

The name, Christians, hadn't been invented yet.

They were followers of, "The Way."


OK, I'm going to go full seminary, here.

Sorry. But this is worth knowing.

The Greek word for "way" was Hodos, and you Game of Thrones fans have got to love that (Hodos, Hodor, hold the door, yeah. I've never seen it, but I hear good things).


Hodos means "way."

But it could also mean, journey, or path, or road.

So when Jesus says, "I am the hodos," he could just as likely be saying,

"I am the journey."

"I am the path.

Or, he could be saying (wait for it),

"I am the road."


"I am the road."


I hope that's blowing your mind just a little.


If you were born and raised in Emmaus, I apologize – but Emmaus – is unimportant.

Just some dot on a map Cleopas and friend thought they were going to.

It could be anywhere.


Rocky Top.


Because it's not the destination… it's the road.

It's Jesus.

And not only is he is on the road.

He IS the road.


You know all those Facebook posts that say, "It's not the destination, it's the journey"?

Or, "It's not the destination, it's the ride"?

Harley-Davidson is right.


Emmaus was never their destination.

It's just a quick rest stop.

Jesus was their destination – and their journey.

Jesus was their road.

And once they saw the big picture, they went way farther than seven measly miles.




The road calls.


If you're headed out to the highway after church, you'll probably have to dodge a few cones.

The other day they even put a stoplight on Maloney Road.

A stoplight.

God forbid we put one on Alcoa Highway.

But on Maloney?

Wonders never cease.


And then, if we're running a little late – which we are, thanks, preacher –

you'll have to stop again for the Baptists, to let their people go.

So many people.


Being on the road is frustrating.

Because there's always someone else on it, too.


There are always stop signs, stop lights, detours and directors, traffic tangles and horn-tooting twits.

The road's never exactly what we expect.


What road are you on?

Where is it taking you?

Are you sure about that?

That's the problem with roads: they take turns you're not expecting.

Illness. Babies. Jobs. Arguments about the dumbest things.


As soon as Cleopas and his friend's eyes are opened and they recognize Jesus, what happens?

He vanishes from their sight. Poof!

You'd think he could stay around a minute.

But then again, the road calls.


Remember what the disciples said next?


"Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road…?"


So. Do we meet Jesus on the road, but recognize him by his taillights?

Should we hang a U-eee and go back?

Should we keep going and hope he shows up again?

That's turning Jesus into a destination.

Jesus is not a stopping point.

Jesus is the road.

The road calls. Calls you. Calls us.


We come to church to meet Jesus and what do we do?

We sit down.

We sit still.

We tell the kids, "Shh! Be still!"

"You'll wake up your father!"

Jesus is not a bench.

Jesus is a hodos.

And a hodos is a path.

And we have a walking path.

What if instead of sitting down still in here, we all walked the path together?


Some of us would have trouble walking that far.

We'd have to have assistance from someone else.


Some of us would see the swing set and run away, run away, run away.

Mom or papaw chasing and calling our name.


Some of us would say, "Oh boy, walking!" and switch into powerwalk mode because life is not only a journey, it's a competition.


But whatever we did, I'll bet we'd talk to each other, as we walked, on the way.

We'd talk about how we were feeling.

How the knee replacement's fitting.

How if we knew the preacher was going to make us walk we would have worn comfortable shoes.

(Obviously, he's never walked 0.3 miles in heels, which is true.)

We'd talk about the kids, talk about the parents, talk about all the things that are taking place in these days.

We might even talk to those strangers from way on the other side of the sanctuary.

("Who ARE you people?")


I wonder, later on, if we might not think,

"Were not our hearts burning within us as we were talking on the path?

"On the road?

"On the way, the truth, and the life?"


Jesus calls.

And he just can't wait to get on the road again.

With you.

With us.

Where will we go?

If Jesus is with us, does it matter?


Let's stand up.

And let's sing.

Because the life we love is making music with our friends.

Let's all get up and on the road again.