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Weekly Worship Resources and Bible Study Notes

Easter 3


Around the world we hear news of deaths which are heartbreaking. Some of those who have lived sacrificial lives caring for others on the front line are the hardest hit. We hear a lot about post traumatic stress, when people suffer from a great shock or witness a terrible event. Two of Jesus followers were in such a state when they set off on the seven mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They had seen their hopes in Jesus shattered and they had seen him cruelly put to death on the cross. Those who have lost somebody they love will know something of the pain and distress of bereavement, the shock is real and no amount of expectation can prepare us for the separation which follows.

It was at that time, when all optimism was lost, that Jesus spoke to these disciples. As Jesus spoke to them they realised who he was and through their confusion and loss they had hope reawakened.

All of those who seek reassurance and encouragement should read this story and perhaps discover afresh the sense of anticipation which those disciples found, that all would be well.

Opening Verse of Scripture 1 Peter 1:18

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Collect Prayer for the Day — Before we read we pray

Almighty Father, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of his presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

Risen Christ, you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope: strengthen us to proclaim your risen life and fill us with your peace, to the glory of God the Father. CW

First Bible Reading  Acts 2: 14a, 36-41

On the day of Pentecost, Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd, ‘Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added to their number. NRSV

Second Reading  1 Peter 1: 17-23

If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. NRSV

Gospel Reading Luke 24: 13-35

On that same day, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ Jesus asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see Jesus.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. NRSV

Post Communion Sentence

Living God, your Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in all his redeeming work; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. NRSV


Luke’s Gospel was written towards the end of the first century and Luke is writing to people who had not seen Jesus in the flesh. However Luke makes plain through this story that Jesus is not just a real historical person, he is also a living presence. He tells his readers through this story that Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to his followers and significantly he was made known to these two followers when he broke bread. This moved the minds of his readers to how Jesus could become alive to all people as they too partook of the sacred meal of the Holy Communion or Eucharist.

It is a great spiritual truth that we are all on a journey through life, a movement or progression of our faith. The concept of the ‘Way’ is important in the gospels, the early Christians were called 'followers of the way.’ God walks with us on this journey, or pilgrimage and today we read about Jesus being alongside Cleopas and his companion who are also on a journey. We don’t know much about who they were. Cleopas is a man not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament and it has been speculated that the companion was his wife, as they offered hospitality to Jesus jointly as would a couple. They were not of the inner apostles but part of the larger group of disciples of Jesus. They are walking to a place called Emmaus. We can only speculate today where that place was but we are told it was about 60 stadia from Jerusalem which equates to seven miles. They are clearly in a state of grief and disappointment at dashed hopes. They had expected and hoped for so much from Jesus and their deepest longings had come to nothing. Cleopas tells that Jesus was of ‘Nazareth’ and a ‘prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people’. This is true. Jesus is a prophet and spoke of himself as such in 4:24 and 13:33. Luke records the first words of Jesus are read from the prophet Isaiah. Likewise when Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son from the dead (7:16) the people exclaimed ’A great prophet has risen among us.’ Cleopas tells ‘we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.’ Luke has used word ‘redeem’ as what Anna had foretold about Jesus as a baby in the Temple. 'At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child  to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.'
Cleopas continues 'chief priests and our rulers delivered (Jesus) up to be condemned to death, and crucified him'. It is interesting that no mention is made of the Roman authorities or crowds. Luke clearly holds the Jewish leaders responsible for the death of Jesus.

All of the hope which they had shared now seemed to Cleopas to have turned into wishful thinking, the murder of Jesus and the terrible nature of his death was not something which they had reckoned with. The words are full of sadness, hope is used in the past tense ‘we were hoping’ now all hope is gone. Today we can look back with hindsight and we see the death of Jesus as a part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. We have to somehow place ourselves into the shoes of those first believers who could not come to terms with the notion that the Messiah could ever come to such a despicable end, it was completely contrary to everything which they had come to expect.

Jesus reprimands the two for failing to believe the scriptures. Jesus clearly believed that in the Jewish scripture there was sufficient clue as to what God was doing in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. We don’t know which scriptures Jesus used from the Old Testament but if you wanted a taste you could look up the following - Deuteronomy 18:15; Psalm 2:7; 16:10; 110:1; 118:21-23; Isaiah 53; Daniel 7:13-15; Hosea 6:2; and Amos 9:11.

When they arrive at the village, which was perhaps their own home, Cleopas and his companion prevail upon Jesus not to travel on but to stay with them. It was customary that such hospitality would be offered, and declined unless it was insisted upon and this is what takes place. When they eat we are told that Jesus ‘took’, ‘blessed’, ‘broke’ and ‘gave’ bread. These are very particular actions which are clearly intended to be Eucharistic, this is the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. These are almost exactly the words that Luke used to describe Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper (22:19) and nearly identical words are also used in the stories of the feeding of the 5000. Normally, the host would perform these actions in a home and the celebrant would perform them in a worship service. Jesus, the guest, however becomes both the host and celebrant at the meal.  

Then we are told 'Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.' This recalls the first meal in the book of Genesis where Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.  In that case too, 'their eyes were opened' and they knew that they were naked.  In this instance however 'their eyes were opened' and they recognized Jesus. We are being told that this meal of Jesus, this eucharist, reverses a sin as old as time. From creation and the crime of Eden, humanity has dwelt in sin, until now when new creation takes place. This is the meal of new creation. We are told that their awareness had been increasing throughout their time with Jesus as the scriptures were opened to them. They reflected how their hearts had been burning as Jesus was opening the scriptures to them on the journey. So the story becomes a testimony to the power of the God's Word and the sacrament to the Christian community. The message of Luke is clear, read the scriptures, share in God’s sacrament and you will feed on the grace and strength of God.

It is when they recognise Jesus that he disappears from their sight and the two return to Jerusalem, presumably by night, to tell Jesus disciples of what had happened 'on the road.' They find only the 11 disciples, because Judas has repented of his actions and gone off and killed himself. They discover that Jesus has also appeared to Simon who has clearly been forgiven by Jesus following his denial and repentance. Charles Royden



Scallop shell christian symbol pilgrimsThe scallop shell has a long history in Christian thought. Saint Augustine (354-430)is said to have spoken with a child trying to fill a hole in the sand with the ocean using a scallop shell. It is the symbol for St James and a sign used by pilgrims on the Camino in Spain. Like many churches we used one recently at St Mark’s in the administration of the sacrament of Baptism as a means to pour water on a baby at the start of their Christian pilgrimage through life.
The scallop shell has been used by ecumenical Christians and its many grooved lines lead from the outer rim to a meeting point at the base which I find a great illustration of our variety and unity.  Who knows the reason why Caravaggio choose to include this one Christians symbol, but it surely illustrates that we are all one in the risen Lord Jesus Christ.   


This story is one which tells the story of Cleopas and his friend but that friend can be you and I or anybody. This story sets out the pattern of the Christian life. we are all on a journey, a pilgrimage, we are questioning and seeking answers and if we allow him to do so, Jesus joins with us in that searching. Cleopas is honest in saying that he has dashed hopes and that frankly they had felt let down and disappointed by God. It is in that honesty and depth of despair that Jesus meets with those at the bottom of a dark pit and shows hope and new life. Charles Royden

‘A walk with God.’ God seeks to walk with us and console us in many ways, sadly we so often fail to recognize his presence. We are so caught up in the past, sp pre-occupied with ourselves that we fail to see God alongside us in our need.

Pope John Paul II said "Before God, each human being is always unique and unrepeatable, somebody thought of and chosen from eternity."



Easter 3 hymn Sheet

  1. I Know that my Redeemer lives (Tune Church Triumphant)

  2. Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks

  3. I heard the voice of Jesus say (Tune Kingsfold)

  4. It is a thing most wonderful (Tune Heronsgate)

  5. We have a gospel to proclaim (Tune Fulda)


Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Christ our friend, you ask for our love in spite of our betrayal. Give us courage to embrace forgiveness, know you again, and trust ourselves in you; we pray in your name. Amen Methodist Worship.

Lord Jesus, you led the two disciples on the Emmaus Road from the known to the unknown. You walked with them in their grief and the despair. You listened to them and understood their needs. You gently guided them through the scriptures helping them to understand what was going on in the world

Lord Jesus you used the usual to reveal the unusual. The stranger remained a stranger until dinnertime.
Then you took bread and blessed it. You took the cup and gave thanks. You transformed an ordinary meal into holy time that transformed their weak hearts into burning hearts. Help us so to find our ordinary situations transformed by your incredible presence.

Lord Jesus be our companion on the road which we travel. Use us to bless the lives of others and to be a part of your revolutionary movement to transform the world.
May we too be your disciples, ready to follow and willing to lead others to a relationship with you.


Additional Material


Collect Prayer for the Day—Before we read we pray

Almighty Father, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of his presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

Post Communion Prayer

Living God, your Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in all his redeeming work; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. Amen


Our reading today from Luke tells the story of two otherwise unknown disciples who are making the seven mile walk away from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The two disciples have left Jerusalem after Jesus' bloody Passover death. They perhaps heard about the women's report and Peter's account of the empty tomb (24: 1-10); but they do not feel convinced enough by the rumours and so they depart for home. On their journey, in which they must have felt despondent, they meet a stranger. How they could walk for seven miles with Jesus and not know who he was is a mystery to us, however to ask the question is perhaps to miss the point. Remember Luke is a writer and he tells his story to make his points like all writers do. Even some preachers today have been known sometimes to stretch things a bit in order to make a point! Of course the message of Luke is clear, Jesus' appearance has changed and that recognising him requires more than physical sight. No matter what doubts they have had about Jesus, when he broke the bread there could be no mistaking that they were in the presence of the risen Lord.

So it was that the early church gathered regularly to share together in breaking bread, this was at the heart of what it meant to belong to the church (Acts 2:42). Of course the Emmaus story guides us to learn that Jesus is still revealed and met as we Christians gather together and break bread.

However this story should not be seen as an attempt to explain away the physical resurrection of Jesus and replace it with a challenge to recognise a spiritual Christ of faith alive in our hearts. The risen Jesus is not a ghost, he was not only seen by the disciples, he confronted the unbelieving, he ate bread with those from Emmaus and he was able to expound the scriptures. The Gnostic heretics who were later to claim that Jesus never possessed a physical body, would find passages such as this from Luke very hard to deal with. Charles Royden


Bishops and scientists have expressed their shared concerns about science teaching in faith schools. They argue that the theory of evolution is not a “faith position”, as some schools maintain, and call for the respective disciplines of science and religious studies to be properly respected. Some schools sponsored by conservative Evangelical groups teach that evolution is only a theory competing with creationism. They believe that the world is only a few thousand years old and was created in six days at a period of fairly recent history. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Richard Harries, said that “young-earth” creationists brought Christianity into disrepute.“ You may like to reflect yourself on your own response to those who claim that the Bible gives us a literal history of a world which is only a few thousands years old. Those who hold to a view that the world has been millions of years in the making, perhaps with species evolving over time, would nevertheless want to say that behind all this there is a loving and purposeful God.


  1. I know that my redeemer lives
  2. Led like a lamb to the slaughter
  3. I know not why
  4. Jesus the Lord said ‘I am the bread.’
  5.  To God be the glory

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Be light to my eyes, O Lord, and music to my ears. Be to me sweetness of taste and contentment of heart. Be sunshine to me in the day, food at my table and repose in the night. I give to you, O Lord, my body and my soul, all that I have and all that I am; my fame, my friends, my liberty and my life. Dispose of me according to your gracious will and the glory of your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen. John Cosin, 1594-1672