Here’s this month’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
Every month a team from our fellowship at Calvary Wellington heads out to our regular fishing hole, the Naenae Market and Hillary Court shops. There we share the Gospel to those in our immediate community.
Once a month I publish a simple newsletter that is distributed to the fellowship (or for anyone else who stumbles across this website), as a way of encouragement, and as a tool to equip us to be better evangelists.
You can read the Field Report from our last outreach on 18/3/22 here.
Gone Fishin’ Monthly Newsletter – April 2022
“Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days? And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Mark 3:13-31)
If you’re like me (and I know I am), then you really love this time of year! There are two times a year when evangelising should be a lot easier – firstly, at Christ’s birth, and secondly at His death and resurrection. It’s easier because most people already know about these historical occurrences. We just need to explain the reason behind them, and connect the dots between them. So there’s not really any excuse this week to share the Good News!
There’s an interesting story in the Gospel of Mark about two travellers walking down a road. This so happened to be the same day of Christ’s resurrection. It’s a bizzare story on its’ own, but in context, makes sense.
Earlier in chapter 24 is the resurrection story itself:
the women discover Jesus’ tomb open, and were perplexed (v 1-2)
they encounter two angels, who told them not to be worried, as this was prophesised by Jesus himself (v 4-6)
they told the other 11 and the rest of the followers what had happened, but they were sceptical (v 8-11)
Peter rushes to the tomb to discover it was true (v 12).
Walkers, talkers, and a stalker
Then the scene changes completely. We are told of two of Jesus’ followers leaving Jerusalem, walking towards a town called Emmaus, a journey of about seven miles. Scholars don’t know exactly where this town was, but refer to it as a ‘spa town’.
We know they were followers because verse 13 refers to them as ‘two of them’, directly after mentioning ‘the other 11 and the rest’ (v 9). So, these two were actually eye-witnesses to what was going on. I used to think that these were just two random people. Since learning otherwise, I started reading the story in a different light.
We know that one of them was named Cleopas, but do not know the name of the other. However, later in the story they ask Jesus to ‘abide with us’ (v 29), so there’s a good chance the second person is a close family member of Cleopas, maybe even his wife
They were discussing the events that unfolded earlier that day. I can only speculate how that may have sounded:
“The tomb was empty. Do you think someone stole His body?”
“I reckon it was one of the disciples”
“But you heard what the angel said to Mary. This was prophesised by Jesus, and in the scriptures”
“I know, but what does it all mean?”
The whole turn of events must have been mind-boggling for them. They needed some clarity.
At that moment, Jesus appears out of nowhere, and walks alongside them, although His true identity was withheld from them (v 15-16).
He questions what they are talking about, and why are they so sad? (v 17). I guess they thought he was listening in from behind, but with Jesus, you never know if it was His omniscience at work.
So they ask Him if he had been walking around Jerusalem with his eyes and ears closed the last few days. They re-tell what happened, but it’s true that they thought Jesus would redeem Israel, and had not put the pieces together regarding his death and resurrection (v 19-24).
Jesus then calls them fools, then gives them a lesson in scripture-exegesis, expounding everything in the scriptures concerning Himself v 25-27).
The appeal, the meal, and the reveal
After hearing this, they drew near to Emmaus. Jesus indicated He would go further on the road. The travellers appealed and constrained him to come to their house and abide with them (v 28-29).
You would think that Jesus would have had enough of people man-handling Him over the last few days, but He agreed to go and stay with them. I’m sure they meant stay as in overnight, but things didn’t quite transpire that way.
Next, we see Jesus taking bread, blessing it, breaking it, and passing to the others for consumption (v 30).
At this point, we are told their eyes were open. I often thought why couldn’t they have worked out that it was Jesus sooner? I realise that the initial restraining would have been supernatural (v 16), but why choose now to let them see Him for who He really was?
Then something clicked.
If Jesus had revealed who He was, they would have been jumping for joy, asking Him all sorts of questions – how did it feel being on the cross, what happened in the grave, etc. They would not have listened to what Jesus taught in the scriptures concerning Himself. They would still be under the wrong assumption that Jesus was going to rescue Israel in their lifetime. And they probably never would have made it to their town to have communion with Him. When He broke bread, they would never have seen the nail scars on His hands.
So often we think we have Jesus down pat. So often we would write a different script to save mankind.
But it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t include the scarlet thread of scripture, that reveals why He came, why we need Him, and where we go.
I for one am glad that God wrote the script, and not me!
I’ll see you down at the Riverbank Market at 9.30, ready to share the good news that Jesus is indeed risen!
Witnessing Tip: The cross marks the spot!
This week is all about Christ, and what He did.
In fact, all weeks are like that, so why say anything else??!!