Luke 24:13-35 May the Faith Be With You
Luke 24:13-35 May the Faith Be with You is a sermon in which Star Wars is used to compare to what Jesus said was important in life – to have faith, and the security in knowing that God will be with you.
This week has been abuzz in the air about Star Wars. The legendary science fiction series of movies will continue soon with Episode 7. We know this because a picture was released showing everyone who will be in the new movie.
Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford will all return. Chewbacca, C3PO, and R2D2 will also return with the original people playing their voices. Andy Serkis – the guy who played Golem in Lord of the Rings will be there. There will be some new people. Max Von Sydow (who played Jesus in the 1960s film The Greatest Story Ever Told) will be in this film as well.
Today is May 4th. It is the official holiday of Star Wars. The legendary slogan is: “May the Force be with you.” So today is “May-the-Fourth-Be-With-You.” However, I would submit to you that the Bible teaches us:
Big Idea: May the Faith Be With You
At its core, Star Wars is a faith story. Yes, there are aliens, light-sabers, strange new worlds, and machines. However, there is an evil Empire (like the Roman Empire). There are evil people. There are good people. There is a story of redemption and faith.
The Force is talked about in the movies and it is the plot device which allows the Jedi Knights (the religious order in the movie) to influence other people. With the Force, the Jedis can sense other people in danger, they can read people’s thoughts and change them. They can be empowered to do great things if they trust this Force.
Christianity, in contrast, teaches that we trust a faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit who Jesus has sent as a Counselor and Helper – who teaches us and leads us to all things Jesus wants us to do – can be compared to the Force. However, we trust not in an impersonal force, but a personal faith in Jesus Christ. That is why I say: “May the Faith be with you.” It is a faith with a capital F because we are trusting in the One Person who can help us. Faith is trusting a personal God.
So let’s set the scene:
Like the Star Wars saga, the story begins with two people walking down the road. No, they are not the robots C3PO and R2D2. However, they, like these two robots, were witnesses to everything that has happened in this saga about Jesus the Messiah. They witnessed the Man who came as a Prophet to point people to God.
They saw the miracles. They witnessed the healing of people. They also saw Jesus being crucified and watched as he was buried. Let’ read the way they report their account (Luke 24:13-20).
SCENE 1: THE REPORT OF THE DRAMA (24:13-20)
“Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. But they were prevented from recognizing Him. Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged. The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” “What things?” He asked them. So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him.” (Luke 24:13–20, HCSB)
Like those rebels in a galaxy far, far away, they were expressing a faith in a Man who would save them from the Empire. They were looking to a Jedi Knight (or as the Jews would call Him – the One who was about to redeem Israel.)
They were hoping that “the faith would be with them.” (24:21)
“But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened.” (Luke 24:21, HCSB)
Others said: May the Faith Be with You – because Jesus has risen from the dead. (24:22-24)
“Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said 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 didn’t see Him.”” (Luke 24:22-24, HCSB)
Other people were also looking forward to salvation. They watched as Jesus died on the cross and now He was not in the tomb. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, angels came in a vision to tell some people that Jesus was alive.
SCENE 2: THE PROPHECY FROM THE SCRIPTURES
In the first movie of the prequels to the Star Wars series, Qui-Gon Jinn, one of the Jedi Knights remind the people that there is a prophecy of the “One who will bring balance to the Force.” It is never shown where this prophecy comes from. We never hear about a book where these prophecies are written. However, they mention that this prophecy says that there will be One (as they call Him) – or a Savior – to save the people.
As Christians, we have a set of Scriptures which God handed down to reveal to us about His Son Jesus Christ – One Who would not “bring balance to the Force”, but “restore the Kingdom of God.” Like the Force which seems to be unbalanced, we live in a world unbalanced by sin. Sin has kept us from God. Sin prevents us from living the life God intended. God, therefore, sent His Son to “restore” us or reconcile us to God – or to use Star Wars language – “bring balance to God’s people with Himself.”
Jesus was saying to them: May the faith be with you. (24:25-27)
Jesus talks about faith. He starts with the Bible. He started with where the Bible talks about our faith – in Genesis. He moved through the prophecies that spoke about Him. Obviously, He talked about Isaiah 53. He probably shared about the prophecies in Genesis 3 and Deuteronomy 18 as well as many other Scriptures.
“He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?””Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:25-27, HCSB)
The FAITH in which Jesus was telling them to place was in Himself. As Christians, we don’t trust a force that moves all things. We don’t trust in an impersonal, invisible energy, which ultimately is in me. I alone cannot save me. I alone cannot save others. My faith has to be in Someone who is bigger and stronger than me who can save me. This is Who Moses and the Prophets spoke about.
At this point, you need to see that even though they were spiritual, they did not see Jesus just yet. In the same way, there are many people who know that the Force from Star Wars is a religious idea. Many people see that and can understand that it is spiritual. What I want you to see, and what you need to be able to do is take that religious idea and point a person to Jesus Christ. We can take a song, a movie, a television show and use it as a conversation piece to point to Christ. Paul did this in Athens when he used an idol to what was called an unknown god.
“For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:23, HCSB)
Many Christians have not been taught how to point others to Christ using objects, songs, movies, TV series, books, or some other medium. As American Christians in this part of the country, we have been trained to see that these things are evil. Avoid these movies, go to the “Christian” movies, and stay away. Yes, there are some films we should not see. It doesn’t encourage us or lift us up. It brings us closer to evil. However in today’s world, just because it is based on a Christian story, that does not mean that the film will point people to the Bible or to Jesus Christ. Take the new film, Noah for example. That movie proclaims to be based on the biblical story. However, it doesn’t teach the same message. Someone going in to see that film will not walk away thinking that they can place their faith and trust in a powerful and loving God. Instead, it teaches just the opposite. So we have to be smart about what we watch and encourage other people to watch. However, I am telling you that if you want to reach the digital generation, you need to use their way of interpreting culture. In today’s American culture, that means movies and television.
Marshall McLuhan was famous for saying: “The medium is the message.” He meant that the medium (television and movies) can be just as life-changing as the message it carries. The medium affects the message it carries. One gets influenced by the message because one is influenced by the technology that transmits or carries the message. The medium is the communication tool which can be used to transmit an idea, a philosophy, and change a society. He’s right because every one of us has a television at home. Every one of us has a radio in the car. We are affected by the medium which we use to see something.
So if we are going to change people’s minds and hearts, we need to go where they are spiritually and engage in their conversation. Instead of ignoring it, we need to go to it. That means in today’s world, your kids and grandkids are going to start talking about Star Wars. They’ve been reading and watching other cultural films – Iron Man, Spider-Man, Twilight, Harry Potter, Frozen, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Skyfall. If you are going to reach out to people, you need to speak their language. One of those languages is the medium of the movies.
SCENE THREE: REMINDER TO SHARE THE FAITH WITH OTHERS
Sometimes, just reading the Word of God isn’t enough for someone to come to Jesus Christ. Many times, we need an experience with Jesus Christ that brings us closer to God. God uses His Word, and His people, in partnership with an experience in order to show us our need for Jesus Christ.
This is experience part of the story. They have heard about the historical events, and they have read the prophecies. Now, it is time for them to experience God through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.
In this section, Jesus gives these two witnesses the impression that He is going further for the sole purpose of making them invite Him in.
“They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.” (Luke 24:28-29, HCSB)
God does that in our lives. He puts us in situations that force us to choose Him, to trust Him, to make us place our faith in Him. Whether it is coming to follow Christ for the first time, or growing in our faith, Jesus walks with us, and then makes us see that we need Him.
“It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” (Luke 24:30, HCSB)
This scene is a reminder of the Lord’s Supper, as well as the miracle of the feeding of the thousands of people. This scene reminds us that we don’t need cool objects, special effects, or a special light show to experience Jesus. We don’t need cool lightsaber fights (although they are cool), we don’t need special events to experience Jesus.
We just need genuine community. Just as those rebels in the Star Wars saga are strengthened in their resolve to overcome the Empire when they come together and regroup, even when they have to move from planet to planet, the Christian community is strengthened when we come together. We experience “the life of the body” and we remind ourselves “May the Faith Be with Us.”
“Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24:31, HCSB)
They were, and we all should be reminded: May the Faith Be with You
“So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”” (Luke 24:32, HCSB)
“That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, who said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!””Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Luke 24:33-35, HCSB)
These two people recalled to others how “the faith was with them.” We need to be just as excited as these two people about the experiences of faith we have with Jesus. You and I need to be like these two witnesses along the road who tell others: “May the Faith (the Christian Faith) be with you.”