Posts From April, 2020

The Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

Dr. Niveen Sarras

Luke 24:13-35—The Road to Emmaus

April 26, 2020


Grace and peace to you from God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Savior.

I invite you to close your eyes for a moment and picture Jesus in your mind. Take a moment to ponder on his image. (Pause). What does Jesus look like? I believe that some of you picture him wearing a knee-length tunic and a chiton. You might imagine him on the cross or imagine his resurrection and ascension. You might imagine him teaching people, performing miracles, or holding a lamb in his arms. We are accustomed to envisaging Jesus doing extraordinary things. I assume that many of you believe that Jesus is in the miracle business. Therefore, we crave for sensational spirituality by asking him to do miracles in our lives.


Christ is always present in our lives, even though we do not see astonishing miracles. He operates in our ordinary life, bigger than a sensational miracle. A good example is the narrative of the road to Emmaus. Let us see how the evangelist Luke describes the presence of Jesus in the ordinary life of the two disciples.


Our Lord Jesus appears in the text as a stranger and companion. He walks with Cleopas and his anonymous companion (who might be his wife) and joins them on the journey to Emmaus. They could not recognize Jesus, maybe because they were sad and grieving his death (v. 17). Cleopas and his anonymous companion were discussing the crucifixion of Jesus and the women’s vision of angels declaring the resurrection of Jesus. They discredited the women’s testimony about Jesus’ resurrection; otherwise, they would not be sad. Discounting the women’s testimony might be the reason behind Jesus approaching and engaging in conversation with them. The two disciples were disbelieving of Jesus’s ignorance of the most current events in Jerusalem. They asked him, “ Who doesn’t know what has been happening in Jerusalem these days?” In our context, it seems that the execution of Jesus was a hot topic all over the news; it was a trending topic on social media! Exactly like coronavirus is a trending topic on the media.


Jesus engages and relates to the two disciples’ ordinary life and everyday concerns. He does not distance himself from their grief and sorrow but offers them a company on their journey. Our Lord Jesus takes a further step to comfort Cleopas and his anonymous companion. He used the Torah and the prophets to explain to them the necessity for the Messiah to suffer, die, and be resurrected (vv. 26-27). Jesus met the two disciples where they were at and gently, and without argument, he explains Scripture to them.


 Our Lord Jesus also humbly accepts Cleopas and his anonymous companion’s hospitality. He meets the two disciples at the ordinary meal table. He does not meet them at a fancy banquet or an extraordinary event. Our Lord Jesus meets the two disciples and us as we gather around our daily food. “Once he is at the table, Jesus’ role shifts. He is no longer the honored guest but the host of the meal, and it is in this role that he distributes the bread.”[1] Breaking of the bread is reminiscent of Jesus' similar actions in the account of feeding the multitudes in Luke 9:16, which helped the two disciples to recognize him.



Cleopas and his anonymous companion represent all of us. We are busy with our daily life and our problems to an extent we do not see Jesus’ presence in our ordinary life. When we live our ordinary life ignoring his presence, we become like that two disciples who discounted the women’s testimony. This kind of life becomes a testimony that our Lord Jesus is still among the dead.


God meets you in your ordinary life and your daily routine; we just do not tend to look there. We tend to look for miracles and sensational spirituality. An Anglican preacher Steve Griffiths rightly explains this point:

            We have ordinary responsibilities, ordinary tasks to complete - and we need to live in the ordinariness of life. And if that is where we need to live, then we need to learn to find God there. But how do we do that? How do we find God in the ordinary? We need to understand that, by nature, God is with us in our everyday lives… Our God is not a remote God, who leaves us to struggle through the pains of our lives. Instead, God comes off the mountain and into the valley of our lives and gets his hands dirty to bring us healing and wholeness of life.[2]


Dear church, I hope the next time you close your eyes and picture Jesus in your mind, that you imagine him washing dishes with you, working on the computer with you, dining with you. I hope you see him, feeding the hungry, speaking up against injustices, comforting the afflicted, and those who mourn. I hope you also imagine him working with the healthcare workers who are at the frontlines battling the coronavirus disease.


[1] Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans publishing company, 1997), 849.

[2] Steve Griffiths ‎, “Luke 9: 28-43 - God Meets Us in the 'ordinary' of Life,” St. Andrew's Enfield, accessed April 21, 2020,

Ifyou have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the church office. Pleaselet us know if you are interested in making masks or donating materials.

Rev. Dr. Niveen Sarras

Easter message-- John 20:1-18

April 12, 2020


Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!


Yes! Christ is risen indeed. This Sunday is different than the other Easter Sundays we have celebrated in the past. Due to the coronavirus, all Easter celebrations, including worship services, have been canceled. We are hunkered down in an unexpected quiet. We are not gathered together to sing Easter hymns and to greet each other, saying, “Christ is risen!” We are locked down and afraid to be infected by the coronavirus. We are saddened and anxious. We are sorrowful, and some of us are mourning a loved one who became a victim of COVID-19. Our situation is somehow like the first Easter.


The disciples, according to the gospel of John, locked themselves in the upper room because they were afraid, not of the coronavirus, but of the Jewish leaders who wanted to arrest them (John 28:19). In the early morning and while it was still dark (John 20:1), Mary Magdalene came to the tomb to anoint Jesus. Mary, coming to Jesus’ tomb before the sun rises, emphasizes her sorrow and grief over losing her Lord and teacher. I remember very well after my family buried my younger sister, my mother left our house before the sunrise and went to my sister’s tomb weeping. The grief that Mary Magdalene had in her heart overcame her to the point that she thought that somebody had stolen Jesus’ body. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb (v.1), and without looking inside the tomb, she assumed somebody took Jesus’ body. “Unfortunately, such acts were well-known in antiquity, so much so that tomb robbery was listed as a heinous crime in rhetorical handbooks and was a trademark of pirates in ancient novels.”[1]


Mary runs to Simon Peter and Beloved Disciple to notify them about the robbery. Both ran to the tomb, went into the tomb and saw it empty, but these two disciples said nothing. The evangelist John tells us that they returned to their homes. They did not believe that Jesus has risen from the dead (v. 9-10). They were afraid and worried. They might find themselves hopeless. They could not comprehend the whole event. It seems that Peter and the Beloved Disciple believed  Mary’s assumption of Jesus’ body being stolen rather than believing in the resurrection. So, they said nothing to Mary and went back home.


But Mary refuses to go back home. She insists on finding Jesus’ body. Mary finds herself again alone at the tomb weeping. Finally, she bends over to look into the tomb and sees two angels, who asked her why she was weeping. At that moment, Mary still believed that Jesus’ body was stolen. When she saw Jesus, she thought that he was the gardener, and she assumed that he took Jesus’ body. Mary was overcome by her sorrow. It did not cross her mind that Jesus had risen from the dead.


Jesus acknowledges her blinding pain and asks her, “woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” (v15). Finally, her sorrow turned into joy when she recognized the resurrected Jesus Christ. Mary was over rejoiced and wanted to hold onto Jesus. She didn’t want to lose him again. But the Lord asked her to be the first person in history to announce the good news that Jesus has risen from the dead.


In many ways, we can relate to Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple. In this pandemic, we have experienced sorrow, fear, and anxiety. These troubled emotions have blinded our pain. We become like Mary looking for something to ease our pain and to calm down our anxiety. Our blinding pain scares, and overwhelms. We find ourselves only concentrating on how to pay our bills and provide for our families. This blinding pain makes us fear the uncertainty, and above all, it makes us overlook the resurrected Jesus.


Our resurrected Lord acknowledges your blinding pain. He asks you the same questions he asked Mary, “why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Are you looking to get financial help, looking for a job, find masks and hand sanitizer? These things are essential. But the most important thing is standing before you. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who arose from the dead, is standing before you to offer his comfort and strength. He is standing before you to tell you that he is there for you. He will provide for you in times of need. He defeated the powers of evil, and he will give you victory over Satan’s evil power.


My beloved church, do not let the coronavirus and your blinding pain to overlook the risen Lord. You need to believe in his power to sustain you in this pandemic. Our Lord, who defeated evil, will help you to overcome your fear and sorrow. Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4-8). I encourage you to call each other and spread the good news. Let your neighbors hear your shout of joy that our Lord Jesus Christ is no longer among the dead, but he has risen.


[1] Alicia D. Myers, ‎, “Commentary On John 20: 1-18‎,” Working Preacher, April 10, 2020, ‎.