Good News—a Helper


Do we sometimes feel all alone? Do a loss of innocence, of youth, a parent, a child, a job, or a marriage make us feel abandoned by the world around us? Here is good news! Jesus promised us a Comforter, a Helper so that we would not be alone.


God has not abandoned us.


We will look at God’s love for us, our love for Christ and God’s Helper the Holy Spirit.

Love is a Verb

In John 14:15 when Jesus states that if you love me keep my commandments, the word for love [agapaté] is a verb, not a noun. Such love is doing something not just a warm feeling inside. In fact if we love Jesus it is obvious by our doing, our keeping of his commandments. It is a mistake to think that means the Old Testament commandments. Many times Jesus said things like you have heard that it was said of old, but I say to you and he gave a new instruction. For instance, the woman caught in adultery was not stoned, but shown mercy. Jesus also did not contradict the Father in these things, but said that these new instructions were from the Father. We are to keep, watch over or hold firmly to these new commandments of Jesus.

Advocate for Whom

When we read translations of John 14:16 where the Paraclete is translated as Advocate, we might ask the question for whom is he an Advocate? In court the Advocate helps the accused. We are accused of sin and corruption. The accuser is the devil (Revelation 12:10). Who is the judge? It is Jesus (2 Timothy 4:1) who will judge on that day (Revelation 20:11-12). Is the Spirit pleading our case before a harsh God just begging for his mercy? Or is it the opposite? Has not God already shown his mercy and love for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus? Is not the Holy Spirit an Advocate who is also pleading God’s case to us, that we do not need to face death if we accept the truth of God’s love demonstrated in Easter?

Good News—a Helper

In John 14:16-17 Jesus promised another Helper, a Paraclete. The word Paraclete means a helper in court, a legal advocate who stands up in court and pleads our case before a judge, a comforter, an adviser-helper. This helper is also the Spirit of Truth. He communicates truth. He will reveal the truth about all our sins but also the truth about the penalty which has already been paid by Christ. He is not the spirit of lies and our world is filled with lies. The world cannot accept the truth. The world does not see the truth nor know it. It takes the help of the Holy Spirit living with us and in us to see and know the truth, to face our sins and to acknowledge that we have no other hope of justification before God than Jesus.

You the Orphan?

Every one of us will become an orphan, unless we die before our parents. I remember fondly the daily conversations with my mother after school. In later years my father and I delighted in lengthy conversations about life. His wisdom was always gentle but firm in the grace that he had taken a lifetime to learn. He had grown to become very much like my grandmother, emphasizing not being critical of others, but realizing that we all make mistakes and are obligated to show others grace. Many of us can relate to the hole that the absence of such conversations leaves. When Jesus left for heaven, his disciples felt abandoned. Yet he said that he would not leave his disciples orphaned (John 14:18). He will return. Therein also lies the best hope of seeing our dearly departed ones again.

Comfort in Loss

A soldier in Afghanistan stands guard as a little girl plays with a rock in her hand, or is it a grenade? She gets ready to throw it at a passing Humvee. A split second decision has to be made. Do I lose another group of soldiers to a grenade attack or am I shooting a little girl playing with a rock? The moral dilemma affects all sides making people feel abandoned by the world. The loss of innocence, of youth, a parent, a child, a job, or a marriage make us feel abandoned. In John 14:18 Jesus promises not to abandon his disciples like orphans, but send the Comforter. What have we lost? Is the Holy Spirit teaching us how we should act? Ought we come alongside one another without judgment, giving words of comfort, help and healing?

Lame Ducks

Every pastor or missionary eventually becomes a lame duck. The person who worked among the people of God moves on. The book Missionary Methods Saint Paul’s or Ours, (Roland Allen, Eerdmans, 1962) is a masterpiece on missionary work. In a sense, every pastorate is a missionary endeavor. The author challenges missionaries to get in, get on and for the sake of the developing flock to get out. Leaving is one of the best gifts a missionary or pastor can give a church. Only then will leadership develop to its fullest potential. It is with that thought in mind that a pastor leaves a much loved flock behind. Jesus said that he would not leave his disciples orphaned (John 14:20). And so it is as a missionary or pastor departs. The Holy Spirit remains behind to complete a maturing work.

How can we Disobey Jesus

How can we disobey Jesus (John 14:15, 21)? There are many ways. We can quote church literature more than Jesus. We can prefer popular opinion or political definitions of acceptable lifestyles or sinful behavior more than the teachings of Jesus. We can redefine specific sins along modern cultural lines rather than historically biblical terms. We can become so inclusive that no sin is any longer a reason for exclusion from church or kingdom. In addition to that we can add multiple rules and traditions of mere men like the Pharisees did, which so overshadow the commands of Jesus that they fade to become mere background noise. Or, we can use Jesus commands as mere springboards, given token gesture as we spring off onto our own agendas, rather than seek to plumb the depths of what he envisioned for the church.

Jesus' Commands

Jesus told his disciples if they love him to keep his commands (John 14:15, 21). Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. Come to me and learn from me. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Be perfect [spiritually mature]. Love the Lord your God. Love your neighbor as yourself. Enter through the narrow gate. Watch out for false prophets. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink. Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Go and learn the meaning of this: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Most of his commands can be found in the Gospels.


We may sometimes feel abandoned by the world around us. But there is good news! Jesus sent us a Comforter, a Helper so that we would not be alone.

How to Study the Bible

A smorgasbord of tools are available to study the Bible. Here are a few to begin a journey of discovery. 


We can take a broad brush approach and try to read it all in 3 months or one verse and meditate on it all week. Ask yourself questions as you read and write them down for later. 

Different Translations has a wide selection of translations including some of the best available all for free 

Word Studies has an excellent lexicon giving the meanings of Greek and Hebrew words 

The Text of Holy Scripture

A thought or story has a natural beginning and ending. This is called a pericope and is one of the best ways to study the Bible, a section at a time. 


This can be dangerous if mishandled because the same word in different contexts can mean very different things. With that caution in mind, a host of topics can be researched throughout the Bible — computer programs with a word search function can help 


If history fascinates you, there are many resources available which explain the cultural and historical background to the Scriptures. 

Theology has excellent sections on theology and church history. Theology is the study of God and asks important questions about our faith. 


What is a sound Christian approach to ethical topics like abortion, alcohol, contraception, dancing, gambling, sex and war? 


Bible scholars have written various kinds of commentaries ranging from very simple ones like the free classics available at to the more in-depth but also expensive ones in print such as the New International Commentary or the Word Biblical Commentary

Hebrew and Greek

There are plenty of free websites which teach Bible languages. Go deep or get a great sense of accomplishment just learning the alphabets. 

Early Christian History has thousands of books from early church history for free. You will be amazed at the incredible amount of information from the early church fathers 

Study Method

Experts agree that a healthy approach must include two simple steps: extract and apply — ask A) what was the original meaning and B) how do we apply that today? 

Steps to Study

A) Extract the meaning (the exegesis):

1) Pray and read the passage in several translations, in Greek or Hebrew with an interlinear translation if you want a real challenge 
2) Read some creditable commentaries to see what experts say — if there are several points of view, ask why 
3) Look up any words that may be unclear or interesting 
4) Explore some of the history and culture of the times around the text 
5) Ask where the good news of Jesus is in the text 

B) Apply the lesson (the hermeneutic):

6) Prayerfully look for applications in daily life 
7) Meditate on the passage all day long

Good News—a Place for You & Greater Things


Everybody needs a place to belong and a sense of accomplishment. Sin robs us of both. The consequences of breaking the Ten Commandments has been broken churches, broken families, broken careers, broken commerce and broken nations. Through the forgiveness of sin Jesus offers us a place and a task of greater things.


I want us to see how that Christians live in the most magnificent of all circumstances, a part of the Household of God.


We will examine John 14:1-14 to see where our place is and what greater things we may be involved in.

How Many Rooms in the Church

God’s house has many rooms (John 14:2) but do our churches? How do we understand a God who includes most others in churches which exclude them? Why in even somewhat inclusive churches, are not more included? Why do churches which accept gays not respect the opinions of folks who disagree? Why do churches which accept women pastors force a woman pastor on those congregations which in faith prefer a man, showing them utter contempt? Why do churches which use grape juice for communion disrespectfully force it upon those who prefer wine? Why does Rome call itself Catholic, which means universal when it really is exclusive? Why do churches which accept tongues apply so much peer pressure on non-tongues speakers to conform? Are there no rooms in the Church for those with a slightly different take on our common faith?

God’s House

After an encounter with God, Jacob dedicated the place as God’s house, the gate of heaven (Genesis 28:15-22) and it is still called Beth El (the house of God) to this day. It was at that spot 30 km (20 mi) north of Jerusalem that Jacob vowed to pay God a tenth for his providence. Later, the tabernacle and the temple in Jerusalem were called the house of God. As members of a royal dynasty like the House of Hanover, the people of God have been described as God’s house (1 Corinthians 3:8-10). True believers are also promised a place of eternal abode with God. That is also God’s house and it contains enough room for all who come to him to dwell forever (John 14:2). The road to that house is Jesus, both now and forever.

Royals Don’t Live in Castles

It may come as a surprise, but kings and queens do not usually live in castles, but in apartments within those castles. Castles are often more like grand hotels or ornate boarding houses where royal families, relatives and staff live in separate apartments. Granted, they may have the stateliest of accommodations and control of the whole facility, but their private dwelling is only a part of that castle. In John 14:2 we are promised dwellings in God’s house. Jesus had just spoken to his disciples of his impending suffering, departure and their failure. It’s part of the human condition to fail and feel like we are so far away from God. However, Jesus encouraged his disciples to not let their hearts be troubled. How do we get there where he is? Jesus is the way, the only way there.

The Real Meaning of Mansions

In the “oikia” [house, household] of God are many “monai” [lodgings, dwelling-places, rooms, mansions] (John 14:2). Jesus also called the temple his Father's house (oikos) and that he, the apostles, prophets and church would be the replacement temple. John 14:23 declares that the Father and the Son will come and “remain, abide” with anyone who loves him and obeys him. This refers not just to our eternal future, but abiding with God now. Obedient believers live in a permanent dwelling place, a union with the Father and the Son regardless of physical circumstances. God and Jesus abide with us. This is repeatedly stressed throughout the Gospels. Although images of heavenly mansions are exciting, the real dwelling is in the relationship that we share with our heavenly Father and his Son, a "place" in God's family now and forever.

Good News—a Place for Us

Growing up it is natural for us to seek a place. We look for it in marriage, career, community and nation. We may lose our sense of place as all those things disappoint. Family can hurt us. Careers can go sour and businesses can go bankrupt. Community can disappoint and national attitudes let us down. As we grow older, we can again lose contact with a sense of place as we slowly enter that last great learning experience in preparation for our eternal rest. Until we find Jesus we will always be unsettled because no place in this world is permanent. He offers us a permanent heavenly place with God for eternity (John 14:2-6). Castles of this world can often be breathtakingly beautiful, but they all are like slums in comparison to the heavenly mansions we have in God.

The Truth

Many claim to have the truth, but perhaps discount the most important ingredient. People get sidetracked on all kinds of issues and miss the truth. They believe that a particular twist of doctrine is the truth, which in reality is mere human understanding. They will insult, denigrate and vilify other people for having a different understanding as believing a lie and not the truth. Yet, all Christians agree on the truth, at least the most important element of the truth, Jesus. After all, Jesus said he is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Whatever disagreements Christians may have — forms of baptism, qualifications for ordination, formal versus informal worship formats, biblical versus traditional liturgical days, contemporary versus traditional music, Roman, Eastern and Protestant authority, tongues, church politics — we agree that what Jesus taught is still the truth.

The Life

Jesus made the bold claim that he is the life (John 14:6). How do we understand that comment? Do we allow the natural reading that Jesus is exclusively the life or do we try and rationalize our way into a more inclusive claim? How can people from religions which exclude Jesus be included? That discussion has continued for the past 2,000 years without universal agreement among Christians. In the west, Rome formulated the theory of purgatory to answer the question. In the east, Christians claimed that Latins did not understand the Greek of passages like Acts 3:21 as well as native Greek speakers do. So Eastern Orthodox Christians formulated a milder theory. It seems that some form of reconciliation with humanity from all religions is planned by God. Jesus’ audacious claim was that he is the life.

A Bigger Mission

Jesus said that his disciples would do greater works than he (John 14:12). Does that mean miracles or something different? Andrew founded the church at Constantinople and preached as far as Ukraine, Romania and Russia. Peter and Paul established the church at Antioch and traveled widely. James the Greater seems to have established Spanish Christianity. His brother John became a great Christian leader at Ephesus. Philip preached in Greece and Syria. Bartholomew (Nathaniel) went to India, Ethiopia, Mesopotamia and Armenia. Matthew went to the Caucasus, Macedonia, Persia and Parthia. Thomas went to Parthia and India. James the Less went to Lower Egypt. Judas Thaddeus visited Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. Simon the Zealot headed the Jerusalem church and traveled to Africa and Europe. It is quite clear that the Apostles’ mission was greater in territorial scope than Jesus’.

Good News—Greater Things for Us

Jesus performed incredible miracles. He healed people and spoke the wonderful words of life. Yet he said we would do greater things (John 14:12-14). This has been called the greatest promise Jesus ever made. He went to the Father. In Jesus’ death and resurrection salvation was won and he is proclaimed to all nations. Jesus equips us to do this as we pray. Our job is the same as his, to bring glory to the Father and salvation to the world. There are no greater physical miracles than those that Jesus did, reviving a man dead 4 days, healing a woman ill for 38 years, so he must have meant something else. On Pentecost 3,000 were converted in one day and since then billions have been converted and more recently crowds of hundreds of thousands have packed stadiums.


Sin robs us of a place and the ability to do truly great things. Let us get on board with Jesus. He alone is the way to a permanent place and to truly greater things.

Good News in the Sheep Pen


Is life meant to be a drudge, wandering from one unfulfilling lust to another or is it meant to be full of joy and wonderful surprises?


I want us to realize that the real joys in life are found in the things that Jesus provides.


We will see how Jesus provides every wonderful blessing in life through the metaphor of sheep in a sheep pen from John 10:1-10.

Living with Sheep

Sheep are very social, will flock together and may readily follow the first sheep to make a move. Healthy lambs feed frequently. A lamb that bleats all the time is probably hungry. Lambs remain close to their mothers but their curiosity can get them into trouble. Sheep are generally docile, but rams can be aggressive especially during breeding season. Head butting is a way for rams to dominate the hierarchy. Ewes may become aggressive after lambing to protect their young. Sheep have excellent memories and trust a shepherd who handles them gently. Unlike sheep ranchers who must drive sheep, a shepherd can train sheep to come by voice command. Like church services, various pens and barns are used to receive the sheep for close inspection and group attention. Sheep instinctively know that they are better off together (John 10:1).

The “Dumb Sheep” Myth

Some may see church-goers as just dumb sheep. Yet the idea of “dumb sheep” is just a myth. Sheep are very intelligent animals. Modern research shows that sheep can remember the faces of up to fifty other sheep and ten human faces. They can find their way out of mazes very quickly. Sheep are smarter than humans in being able to find the plants they need for herbal cures of various illnesses. Sheep in Yorkshire, England have even taught themselves to roll across cattle grids to feed on neighboring pastures. After only one feeding from a group of people, sheep remember who brought the food. Very importantly, sheep know by instinct that independent action is not the best battle strategy for defending against a predator. Instead, when threatened they flock together in a technique known as folding (John 10:4).

The Voice of Jesus

What is the voice of Jesus like? Is it harsh and authoritarian? Is it soft and effeminate? John 10:4 presents us with one picture of Jesus’ voice. It is a voice that the sheep hear. People preach and listen to the voice of all kinds of things other than Jesus’ words. Yet his is the voice that the sheep listen to. All other voices are suspect as potential robbers. Just as in a real flock of sheep, where each can be taught its name, so too does the voice Jesus call each by name. It is a personal relationship. The sheep also recognise the voice of Jesus and follow him. They will never follow another. In fact, they go the other way from the un-recognized voice of a stranger. We can all learn to recognize the voice of Jesus.

Figures of Speech in the Sheep Pen

When Jesus spoke of us being sheep and his being the gate for the sheep he was not speaking literally but figuratively (John 10:6). It is like a mother who calls her infant the most beautiful child in the world. She is speaking in what we call hyperbolic language not literal. It is wrong to pride ourselves on taking the Bible literally, when an overly literal interpretation often misses what God intended. We can all be thieves and robbers entering a church to steal the peace, kill the joy and destroy the unity. Yet the more we listen to Jesus, the more we find spiritual pasture that feeds our souls, the more fulfilled our lives are now as we experience paradise on earth in a manner not available to those who never come to church, to the sheep fold.

When a Gate is a Gate

Jesus described himself as the gate for the sheep (John 10:7). Picture a shepherd sitting or sleeping at the entrance to a sheep pen. There is no wooden gate. He is the gate. Who is a true shepherd of Jesus’ flock? Anyone who claims to be a pastor (shepherd) but does not enter by the legitimate gate is a thief and a robber. The only legitimate way is to enter via Jesus, the gate. Entry via Moses is not a legitimate gate, but neither is entry via Paul. Entry via the pope is not legitimate, but neither is entry via Luther, Calvin or Wesley. All of these people may have been wonderful servants of God, but none of them is the gate. Only Jesus is the gate. So, when is a gate a gate? When that gate is Jesus.

Good News in the Sheep Pen

John 10:8 informs us that even though thieves and robbers may sneak into our churches, there is also good news in the sheep pen. We don’t need to be concerned because as we follow the Good Shepherd we will learn to know his voice. It may be the soft words of one who does good works, letting their light shine. It may be in the words of Jesus preached in a sermon. It may be in the words of encouragement given by a spiritual mother or father in the congregation. Jesus leads us into a worship service each week and he leads us back out into the world to where we will be blessed with lush spiritual pastures. The good news is that the Great Shepherd has come that we may have life now, more than what is expected.

The Gatekeeper

Is Christianity a religion of freedom or restraint? It is both. There are times when we need protection and defense. There are also times when we need to run free. In John 10:9 Jesus talks about being the gate. We may say the gatekeeper. If we listen to the voice of the gatekeeper, he will lead us out when it is safe. If we ignore his voice, we may desire to run at the wrong time, headlong into danger. If we enter into safety through the gatekeeper, then we know that he will be watching. It is important for us to be following the right voice, the voice of the gatekeeper, Jesus. Inside the gate is freedom from harm, because the gatekeeper guards us. Outside the gate is freedom to run with protection, because the gatekeeper leads us.

Life to the Full

As the cycle of nations takes its natural course in the Anglo Zone, there is a real spiritual opportunity. The Anglo Zone (those nations that speak English) have been at the pinnacle for centuries now. First it was British and then American dominance. As power and wealth arrived, the English speaking nations slowly drifted away from Jesus Christ. Materialism tends to do that. As the delusion of material wealth took over the Anglo culture, spiritual and family destruction have increased hazardously. We have the highest divorce rates in history and the highest crime rates in the world as people have left God in droves in a hedonistic rush for power and wealth. The thief has come and stolen and killed and destroyed us. Will we return to the one who can give us life to the full (John 10:10)?


As sheep in God’s flock, we eventually learn to recognize the voice of the Great Shepherd. He sits at the door of his Church acting as gatekeeper. As we come in and go out through him we find spiritual pasture and life to the full.

Good News on the Road


Our lives are a journey to Emmaus. Along the way we meet a stranger and as we partake of the bread do we recognize who that stranger is and the good news he brings?


To introduce us to the stranger that accompanies us on our life’s journey.


We will look at Luke 24, the distraction on the road to Emmaus, the stranger who two disciples met, the sacrament of life and the good news on the road.

The Road to Emmaus

A road once led west out of Jerusalem for seven miles through an idyllic landscape of trees and fields to a warm spring and a town called Emmaus, pronounced ‘mmah-OOSS. Today a freeway takes us west of Jerusalem to a place called Emmaus Nicopolis. We take the exit called Latrun Interchange. The ruins of what Eusebius identified as Emmaus are right at the exit inside Canada Park, a national park maintained by a Canadian Jewish fund. Times have changed dramatically but many beautiful trees and fields still exist. It was along the ancient road that Jesus met with two disciples (Luke 24:13-35) and it was in that ancient town that he broke bread and their eyes were opened to recognize him. How can we recognize Jesus as we travel through life? How does Jesus challenge us on our journey?

Is Jesus a Stranger

When the two disciples met Jesus on the road to Emmaus at first they thought he was a stranger (Luke 24:13-49). Is Jesus a stranger to us? Even people who faithfully attend church every week can find that Jesus is a stranger to them. The two disciples walking to Emmaus were possibly a man and woman well-known to Jesus. Some have even speculated that they were related to Simeon the later bishop of Jerusalem and that they were also relatives of Jesus. Yet, as close as they may have been, they did not recognize Jesus. Sometimes, those who are closest to the Church also do not recognize Jesus. We are distracted by events and things that take our minds off Jesus. Yet, in the midst of it all, he is there gently teaching and reminding us of his resurrection.

Unrecognized Jesus

Why is it that Jesus seems so secretive about his involvement in our lives? He speaks to us softly on the wind that rustles in the leaves. He talks with our hearts as hear the Holy Scriptures read. He discusses issues with our consciences as we go about our daily tasks. So much of the time, just like the two disciples on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-49), we don’t recognize him. Why were those disciples kept from recognizing Jesus? Why are we kept from recognizing him today? Why does it seem as if he is an unrecognized Jesus? Perhaps the answer lies in the question of faith. Seeing is not believing. Believing is believing. Perhaps also Jesus is only fully perceived in communion with fellow believers. Perhaps until then all we have is a burning in our hearts.

Distracted, not Seeing Jesus

Have we ever been spoken to by a friend who simply does not recognize us? I was once served at a convenience store by a former colleague, who did not recognize me and simply addressed me as sir. We’ve all had similar experiences. A friend greeted us somewhere in public and yet one was totally oblivious to recognizing the other. Perhaps someone was distracted, deep in thought or simply did not focus enough. So, it was with Jesus’ two disciples on the way to the village of Warm Springs (Emmaus) in Luke 24:13-35. What could it be that distracts us so readily from acknowledging Jesus in our daily lives? Why do we so often miss the most important things of life, distracted by the mundane? God is always present even in our daily bread, yet we do not notice.

Our Emmaus Walk

How much of the time is our daily walk similar to the Emmaus walk of two of the disciples? Their journey is described in Luke 24:13-49. They walked the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus and Jesus walked with them part of the way, but they did not recognize him. He asked the disciples questions and challenged their lack of faith. As they walked their hearts burned but they did not know why until later. How much of the time is Jesus walking with us and we don’t perceive him? How often does he challenge our faith so that it will increase? Why do we not recognize him as he talks to us and opens the scriptures to our understanding? How often is it that we do not see Jesus in our lives until the communion bread is broken?

Enjoy Life's Journey

The journey to Emmaus could be seen as a metaphor for life between now and eternity with God (Luke 24:13-35). Just as Jesus was with those disciples, even though they didn’t know it, so is Jesus with us now. We don’t yet fully see him as we will then, but he is talking to us every day through his Creation, through his Word and through his Spirit. How foolish are we and slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken? Don’t our hearts burn within us as God speaks to us every day? Will Jesus not also say to us, Peace be with you? Can we take a moment on our journey to be aware of who is with us, to recognize that it is him speaking? Let’s relax and learn to experience the joy of the journey?

A Trail of Tears

The greed and injustice we see in Russia’s invasion of Crimea, Hitler’s annexation of countries in Europe and the division of Kashmir are not new to history. For native Americans the Trail of Tears recalls a dark time in American history, a time of nationally sanctioned ethnic cleansing and the theft of the territories of five sovereign nations: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole nations. Many died during that early 1800’s forced migration. Some of us have also lived lives or parts of lives that were a trail of tears. The road to heaven is not always a nice chat while strolling along the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Remember, that though the road to Emmaus may sometimes be a trail of tears, even through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with us (Psalm 23).

All of Life is a Sacrament

An original and ancient definition of the word sacrament was simple. It meant “a visible sign of an invisible grace" (Augustine of Hippo) or as Quakers still teach today, “all of life is a sacrament.” Western Christians tend to limit sacraments to seven or two rites of the church. Eastern Christians do not limit the number but refer to the seven as the major sacraments or mysteries of God’s grace in the church. When Protestants object to the seven of the Catholic Church, they are not objecting to the original definition but later, narrower definitions claiming that Jesus personally instituted all seven. If explained using the original definition, most Protestants would certainly not object. Unlike the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), let us pray to see God’s invisible grace in the visible things around us.

Good News on the Road

As two disciples of Jesus walked towards Emmaus there was good news that they at first did not recognize (Luke 24:13-35). They reasoned about a mighty prophet who had been killed and their heart burned within them as the scriptures were expounded but could not see the good news right in front of their eyes, that their own prophets had predicted for fifteen hundred years. It was prophesied long ago that the Messiah should suffer and die but then enter glory. The good news is that their eyes were opened at the breaking of bread. The good news also accompanies us on life’s journey, but we don’t always recognize it. The communion bread is more than a mere symbol. It is a sacrament, a visible sign of an invisible grace through which Jesus the Messiah is revealed to us.


Our lives are a journey to Emmaus. Along the way we meet a stranger who walks with us the rest of the way and then as we partake of the bread do we recognize who that stranger is and the good news he brings?