Greetings again my Brethren.  Last month I asked the question, who would ever think conflict to be a teacher? God would that is who.  One of the main tools God uses to fashion us into His image as we behold His glory and answer His call is conflict, doubt, and confusion out from His private teaching. As a backdrop let us look at the three men on the road to Emmaus. After the death of Jesus on the cross the Christians were on the run for their lives, what a time of doubt and confusion many faced.  They saw Jesus do mighty miracles and hear His calming words, but now He was dead what lay ahead for them?  So too in our lives God will use doubt and confusion to call us along the way He has for us to go and then personally teach us what He wants us to know.  In the Gospel of Luke we find two such men on their way to Emmaus from Jerusalem only 60 stadia (12 km or four miles) taking roughly 40 minutes to walk.  Luke shares with us, “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.”  (Luke 24:13-16)

Amazingly the person they were talking about they did not recognize.  I wonder how often this happens with us when we miss Jesus? Then Jesus speaks, “And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?(Luke 24:17) Cleopas relies, “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.”  (Luke 24:18-24) The two men saw Christ as only a “mighty prophet indeed and word before God and the people.” They were confused they doubted that Jesus was the Son of God not a prophet. You know it matters how you see God?  Many today see God as a big sugar daddy with a magic wand to give us whatsoever we need while others see God as a mean old grandfather wanting to discipline us, but in truth God is a loving father who wants to teach us obedience to His ways and will use whatever means it requires to get the job done.  The hope of the two men was not in an eternal abiding with Him, but the one who would “redeem Israel” and not all of humanity. Their thinking was earthly and not eternal.  And they doubted the physical resurrection Mary proclaimed. They were conflicted and confused they doubted what they once believed, but then Jesus opened up His heart to them “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight32And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?  (Luke 24:25-32)  They did not understand the Scriptures until Jesus opened them and what a powerful time of personal private teaching! Before then the two men did not recognized Jesus they were confused the conflict in their lives drove out the faith God had spoken to them. Verses 30 and 31 says, “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him.” Apparently this was not the first time they broke bread with Jesus.  So to in our lives, we often are conflicted, confused, and doubtful when Jesus comes on the scene and opens the Scriptures to us, when He opens our eyes of understanding, when He opens up the answers to our questions the confusion, doubt, and conflict is all done away with.  God uses these tools of doubt, conflict, and confusion (the point they can become our servants if we have the wherewithal to know how to use them) very effectively in our lives and when it is all said and done like the two men on their way to Emmaus we too can say, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Next month we will begin a new section and see how “the call of the Apostles” was made in divine sovereignty.  Our service to God is also built on the shoulders of the Apostles and all who has come before us. Do you hear Him now?