Years ago while I was serving as pastor, there was a man in the church who was what we might call a straight-talking guy. Let’s just say he was not given to much encouragement. But one Sunday he came out of church, shook my hand and said, “Good sermon.”
That was unusual for him. He could tell I was a little surprised. He said, “I think everyone needs an ‘atta-boy’ every now and then.”
He was right; we all need an “atta-boy” occasionally. We need assurance and encouragement.
In Luke 24, we read of the events that took place the day after Jesus’ resurrection. Two men were walking to a village called Emmaus, near Jerusalem. News had spread that Jesus was risen from the dead and these two were discussing His life, the crucifixion and the reported resurrection.
Just then, Jesus approached them, but the Bible says their eyes were closed and they were prevented from recognizing Him. Jesus listened to their conversation and then asked, “What are you saying to one another?”
One of them, named Cleopas, asked, “Are you the only one in the area that doesn’t know what’s happened?”
Jesus asked them to elaborate, so they told Him the story. Still not knowing Who He was, the men asked Jesus to stay with them that evening. They finally recognized they had been talking with Jesus all along.
He had proven to the men He was indeed the Messiah. He had risen from the grave. They were given assurance.
Unknowingly walking with Jesus, two disciples engaged Him in conversation, telling Him about the death, burial and empty tomb, as reported by the women and others who saw it. These men discovered the truth about Jesus. That is the purpose of the church today — to help people understand the truth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus remained unidentified and rebuked the two travelers for their failure to recognize the teachings of the prophets about the Messiah. Jesus then explained from the Scriptures about Himself. Like these men, many people have questions about Jesus. Our purpose as Christians is to help them understand Who He is.
After arriving at a village, the two men encouraged Jesus to remain with them. When He blessed and served bread, the two disciples immediately recognized Him. Then He disappeared from their sight.
The Holy Spirit is still drawing people to Christ today, inviting them to recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior. Maybe there is someone for whom you have been praying who needs to understand Who the Messiah is. Continue to pray for that person to gain salvation and the assurance of eternity with Christ.
Maybe you have questions yourself, and answers seem elusive. Don’t give up! Allow the Holy Spirit to encourage you as you search the Scripture for answers.
By Gregg Potts, D. Min.
Potts served as a pastor for more than 30 years in Mississippi and Georgia.