Following his first message on dealing with life’s interruptions, Pastor Wu Yuzhuang continued on the theme, this time exploring what happens when Jesus interrupts the life of a Christian.
“We don’t like interruptions,” declared Wu Yuzhuang, pastor of City Harvest Church as he began his sermon of Jan 8 and 9. “But still, God allows interruption so that He can bring us into the next chapter of our lives.”
In the second instalment of his two-part series on life’s interruption, Pastor Zhuang showed from the Bible how Jesus brought change to people’s journeys to lead them on the right path.
One example was Jesus interrupting Saul on the road to Damascus. Another was when Jesus stopped two disciples on the road to Emmaus. It was out of this second instance that Pastor Zhuang preached his message.
The story begins in Luke 24:32, where the Bible describes two disciples—not part of the 12—travelling to Emmaus, a village outside of Jerusalem after Jesus died on the Cross.
Explaining the events surrounding the departure of these two disciples from Jerusalem, Pastor Zhuang said that the disciples were afraid when Jesus was crucified. They hid in the Upper Room while a few women went to the tomb to tend to Jesus’ body. There, they found an angel who told them that Jesus had resurrected, and they hurried back to inform the disciples.
WHAT CHRIST’S INTERRUPTION LOOKS LIKE
While all this was happening, two disciples had set foot for Emmaus. “While most of the disciples stayed behind in Jerusalem, these two disciples felt an urge to run away from Jerusalem,” the pastor said.
“Have you ever experienced something in your life that made you just want to run away?” asked Pastor Zhuang “Emmaus represents a place we go to, to forget our pain and disappointment.” It was at this point, he noted, that Jesus drew near to them.
The Bible mentioned that one of these two disciples was Cleopas, while the other remain unnamed. The pastor suggested that this second man could be “anyone of us. Jesus wants to meet us at our Emmaus, a place we retreat to when life gets too difficult.”
He went on to list five identifiers of an interruption by Christ in our lives.
1. Jesus Walked With Them
“If you want to be a follower of Jesus, you must be a walker,” said the pastor, noting that throughout Scripture, Jesus walked.
Bringing the church to Isaiah 40:31, Pastor Zhuang noted that the verses speak of three seasons of a person’s life—the soaring season, the running season and the walking season. When one is on “wings of an eagle”, he is soaring in life, and everything is going well. When he “runs and not be weary”, he is busy and successful.
“People cheer for those who soar and for those who run, but not for those who walk,” Pastor Zhuang noted. “Because walking is boring.”
However, walking is necessary for health, particularly heart health. The pastor explained that what is true of the physical heart is also true of one’s spiritual state: “The condition of your heart reflects the consistency of your walk.” When believers meet Jesus one day, He will check the state of their hearts. More than the soaring and running seasons, Jesus is more concerned about a Christian’s walk with Him.
“If you walk with Jesus, your heart will be strong. When temptations come, your heart can overcome it,” he preached.
The two disciples were walking away from Jerusalem because they were disappointed by his death—they had gone to Jerusalem to see Jesus at the feast of the Passover but when Jesus died, they saw no reason to stay. “A man who loses his sense of purpose always goes back to his past,” the pastor noted. Jesus drew near to them intentionally, to direct them to the right path. He wants to do the same for believers today.
2. Jesus Gave Them What They Needed, Not What They Wanted
Pastor Zhuang highlighted that the disciples could not recognise Jesus. He suggested that it was because they were not expecting to see Him.
At times when one is going through discouraging situations, he can focus so much on his problems that, like the disciples, he fails to see Jesus standing next to him.
The pastor noted in verses 19 and 20 that the disciples no longer acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, but instead, referred to him as a prophet. In v21, the disciples admitted that they had lost hope in Jesus.
“Disappointment comes from unmet expectations,” the pastor defined. The disciples were expecting Jesus to be a King, but He came as a servant; they expected Him to give them justice, but He gave them grace instead.
“While God doesn’t always give you what you want, but He will always give you what you need,” Pastor Zhuang assured. “He knows what you need, and sometimes, what you need is more important than what you want.”
3. Jesus Revealed Himself Through The Word
As Jesus walked alongside the two disciples, He began to show them what the Bible said concerning Him (Lk 24:25-26). Pastor Zhuang deduced that one of the best ways to get close to Jesus is to read and meditate on the Word of God.
Jesus began to show them that the Messiah did not come to do what they expected Him to do—instead, He achieved His victory through suffering. Pastor Zhuang reminded the church that suffering is a prerequisite for glory.
“So, when you go through a tough time, be encouraged because the suffering is your glory, the burden is your blessing,” he encouraged.
4. Jesus Stayed With Them When They Invited Him
After the teaching Jesus gave them, the two disciples gained new understanding. In Lk 24:28-30, they had to make the decision whether or not to invite Jesus to stay with them. Similarly, every Christian has to decide if he only wants to hear about Jesus once in a while or does he want to experience His presence and explore His heart?
The two disciples made the decision to invite Jesus to stay. Pastor Zhuang urged the church to do the same. “This year, some of us may need to stay closer to Jesus—to go back to doing quiet time, pray more, worship God at home. Some of us may need to read the Bible more,” he suggested.
The disciples’ eyes were opened when Jesus broke bread with them (Lk 24:30-31). Pastor Zhuang drew a parallel with the church experience—when believers lose sight of Jesus amidst their busy day-to-day life, they find Him again when they gather in church to worship Jesus and fellowship with one another.
5. Jesus Restored Their Hearts And Their Purpose
“Something powerful happened when Jesus stayed with them,” the pastor declared as he read Lk 24:32 to 35. “Their eyes were opened; their hearts were burning within them. Jesus restored their faith and Jesus restored their heart and their purpose.”
The two disciples had felt hopeless, thinking that God had forsaken them as they journeyed to Emmaus. The revelation that Jesus was alive and had been with them all along changed their lives. They immediately went back to Jerusalem, not considering the long journey they had already taken, the late hour and the fact that the Romans were persecuting Jesus’ followers. They had no time to lose because they wanted to tell the rest of the disciples that Jesus was alive.
“Maybe some of you are on the road to Emmaus, on the road of disappointment and despair,” the pastor said, as he close his message. “Today, Jesus is here. He wants to interrupt our lives.”
He ended by encouraging the church to seek Jesus and to return to where God wants them to be.