The Nearness of an Awakening

Title: The Nearness of an Awakening

Bible Book: Luke 24 : 13-35

Author: Jerry N. Watts

Subject: Awakening; Revival; Jesus, Nearness of; Easter; Risen Lord



The deep, deep desire of my heart is for God to send His Spirit to us in such a manifest way that people walking by on the street would sense His presence and be drawn to Him. How often have I heard stories by men of God that someone was simply driving down the street in front of their building and, loaded down with the cares of this world, have sensed they needed to stop, go inside, and find help? “Hear my prayer, O Lord.”

We are now over half-way to our target weekend. Along the way we have been praying for God to so awaken us to Him, His spirit, His power, and His will, that we can become the clay in His hands to be used at His desire.

The question is this: How close are we to a Spiritual Awakening? How near is it? Let?s answer that question with the Bible story about the Emmaus road.

(Read Text)

As I read this story today, seeking God, trying to find the nugget for us tonight; I was amazed at all the gold found in this story. [This could, and probably should, be a sermon series.]

The first thing that grabs me is verse 15, “While they were discussing and arguing, Jesus HIMSELF came near and began to walk with them.” Think about it, when they thought Jesus was nowhere to be found, He was walking with them.

Gordon Jensen wrote these words, “At the very thought of Jesus, His presence can be found. He’s as close as the mention of His name. There is never any distance between my Lord and me. He’s as close as the mention of His name.”

I believe an awakening is as close as Jesus. Seems to me that Jesus comes when we don’t think He’s coming. He is present when we don’t think He’s around, and He’s our companion even when we don’t recognize Him. Seems to me that He waiting for us to get so desperate that, like these two, we become an open book of honesty into which He can write His words.

Here’s the picture: Jesus had been crucified. The disciples had scattered, running for their lives. The tomb was discovered to be open and empty, and the ladies said that the angels told them (or they had actually seen) that Jesus is alive. Candidly, most of them were confused.

Now these two men were making the seven-mile walk home, probably to the house of Cleopas which was located in Emmaus, and were discussing the events of the last week. They remembered the previous Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey to the sound of the crowd’s cheers. They were probably reflecting on how quickly those cheers turned to jeers and ultimately to a call to “Crucify Him.” How did things get so bad so quickly? The emotion of having their leader gone was probably more than they could take. As they journeyed they were feeling alone, vulnerable, and probably hopeless. This brings about discussion and even a

disagreement. Jesus showed up, however, and at the end of the day their hearts burned, their eyes were opened, and their lives were changed.

Let’s identify three or four times in our lives when Jesus comes near and an Awakening is close;

I. He comes to the Debating Heart

Look at how the hurt of these men began to emerge. Verse 14 says, „they discussed? while verse 15 raises the level to “they discussed and argued”. Other translations say things like “talking and discussing” or “conversed and reasoned” but the truth is that they were having a debate about the things surrounding Jesus. Yes, they seem to have differences of opinions (after all, to come back to life would be difficult to believe).

The key is that they were honestly debating and seeking the divine answer. They desired the truth about Jesus. I sense this was a „crisis of belief? as they were trying to sort out all the events. It is into just such an open heart like this that Jesus shows up.

II. He comes to the Discouraged Heart

When Jesus came to them – divinely (not sure all that this means), they were not allowed to recognize Him. So Jesus asked them a question. Frequently Jesus seems to ask me questions in my spirit. Afterwards I come to understand that He is trying to reveal „me to me.? That is, what is in the deep recesses of my heart? He asks them what they are disputing (discussing, debating)? At this point, the scripture says they looked discouraged. To think, after all that had happened and all they had been through, somebody didn’t know what was going on?

Reading verses 19-24 gives us insight into the hearts of these men. Verse 21 says, “We were hoping HE was the one” – and it reveals their discouragement. Their discouragement leads to a couple of things. On the negative side, it leads to doubt. Their message ends with „but they didn’t see Him? and lends itself to hearing the doubt in their tone.

However, their honesty and openness was shining like a light. Jesus knew their hearts and knew they were struggling, so He began speaking the words of life.

Verse 27 is a great verse. He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself! What it would have been like to be one of these two! This was a Master’s class on Jesus by Jesus.

At this point, consider a couple of applications from the story. To the honest heart (both debating and discouraged), Jesus says, “I’m here, I’m available, and watching over you. Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy ladened and I will give you rest. I will come to you if you would like.” Jesus responds to the call of His Children.

III. He comes to the Desiring Heart

As the story progresses, they arrive at the house and Jesus gives them the impression that He is going somewhere else, but they desired Him, invited Him, and even encouraged Him to stay with them. Right now my heart sings these words, “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry; While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” They had heard enough from this stranger to know they wanted more. Have you heard enough from Jesus to know you want more? In true Jewish tradition these two men extended hospitality to a stranger, but when Jesus relaxed and reclined as an invited guest, He revealed Himself to them and their eyes were opened. They experienced an awakening.


So how near or close is an Awakening? The answer is this: It is just as close as Jesus.

At the beginning I used the first verse of that Gordon Jensen song. Here’s the last verse and chorus:

“In my hour of struggle – so many times I’ve found
He’s as close as the mention of His name.
Just to breath the name, Jesus can turn everything around,
He’s as close as the mention of His name.”

If Jesus is close, Awakening is near.

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