Between can be a difficult place to be. With it can come uncertainty, anxiety, feelings of
being alone, and being out of control. Sometimes you’re pressed between and sometimes
stretched between. Between jobs, between relationships, between meds, between homes,
between appointments and late, between pastors, between churches. Each of these represents
some sort of change – sometimes willful and desired and other times not of our choosing. There
is another sense of between – between the way life should be/could be and the way it is. This is
true on a personal level but also throughout creation. We see hunger and suffering. We see
cancer. We see families in Ukraine, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan asking – why? We see
threats of nuclear war. We see drug addictions and little respect for human life. We see terror in
mass shootings. We see these things and whether you know Jesus or not, you know this isn’t
the way life should be, could be.
Here at Cornerstone we are between in both of those senses. We’re between pastors
and we’re between expectations/hopes for what Cornerstone could be and where we are. This
morning I’d like for us to look to the story the road to Emaus for some encouragement. I think
some of the feelings we can have are very similar to what the disciples experienced on a
Saturday 2000 years ago. There isn’t anything about that Saturday between Jesus’s death and
His resurrection recorded in the gospels, but we get a good sense of the disciples’ mindset
when we read the account in Luke 24.
Those disciples who followed Jesus were not people who would have made history
otherwise. But they had hitched their wagons to Jesus – they left their jobs and put their families
second. He was the Messiah. He would change it all. He would answer the prophecies and
the promises of generation upon generation upon generation handed down since man and
woman first trod the earth and quickly chose themselves over relationship with God. These
disciples saw three years of Jesus’s ministry and the challenges, eye-opening, life giving,
life-changing miracles, of parables that didn’t make a lot of sense, of an ethic that called you to
love your enemy, of questions not answered, but a more important answer given. And more
recently of a donkey ridden into Jerusalem during Passover week to great celebration. And then
boom. The Answer. Your Answer. He is dead. He rode in on a donkey to great acclaim, to
palm branches, to Hosanna – to hanging on a cross between criminals. The place where
murderers die. Where the worst go to serve their sentence. 24:21 but we had hoped (trusted)
that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since
all this took place. These disciples had received word that Jesus was alive – but they weren’t
so sure and they had not connected the dots between what Jesus taught them and what had
Can you imagine how the disciples felt on Saturday? What do we do now? Where will
we go? Would they stick together? Why should they? Who would be their leader? The
disciples were between the darkness of the crucifixion and glory of the resurrection. In many
ways, that’s the way life is for us. We’re between Jesus’s resurrection and a new kingdom
where things are restored to the way they were supposed to be. We’re between a pastor who
planted and loved this church and the next pastor that will be called to shepherd and nurture
So what can we take away from this story to help us as we go forward?
Go back to scripture – 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them
what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Jesus was the promised one to redeem
Israel – but their understanding, seemingly most everyone’s understanding of what redeeming
Israel meant was not what God intended. The disciples in the scripture today believed, trusted
Jesus was going to redeem Israel in a particular way. If we don’t know what God has already
told and promised us and what He hasn’t, it’s easy for us to make up what we think He should
promise us, to pick out scriptures convenient for our situation. And chances are, when we start
suggesting what God has promised us it will be to my advantage or probably not cost me very
much. Through Jesus’s instruction these disciples finally saw that the promise about redeeming
Israel was NOT about territorial sovereignty or personal rights, but about a Kingdom that breaks
out in small ways when things are made right and grows when someone submits their heart to
Jesus, but a Kingdom not fully realized until He returns. Let’s go back to scripture to make sure
we have the right perspective and priorities and to draw encouragement from the way God has
been faithful and worked in times past. In a time of change and uncertainty, we can count on
God’s word to be a light unto our path as Psalm 119 says to light the way. But just like a lamp
from the period of the Psalms would only illuminate several feet in front of us, so we should not
expect to see a clear path to some final point. But rather to continue moving forward in the light
that is provided faithfully moving forward guided by the promises, character and faithfulness of
When we are in that between place facing uncertainty, we need to be grounded in the character,
promises, and faithfulness of God. Because while the world about us may be chaotic and
upside down – God is constant and we need that rock to cling to.
Fellowship with the Spirit – burning within us. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts
burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
We can’t physically walk and talk with Jesus today, but we do have Holy Spirit to open our
hearts to the scripture, to commune with us as we seek God in prayer – in times of listening.
For the disciples in this story, having their hearts burn was an affirmation of what they learned
through the scripture. We are heart, mind, body and soul – and we are made to love Him with
each of these aspects. Loving God isn’t just a head knowledge and appreciation of Him, but
there is an experiential aspect to our relationship with God. Communing with God should be
something we experience and feel as well. So, what does that look like? How do we do it?
Well, I think there are several elements we can point to, but I can’t say if you mix these 4 things
together in this ratio and heat for so many hours, you’ll have this kind of experience. But I do
know, if you don’t try something different, you’ll probably get the same result. 1) Identify and
confess idols in your life and ask God to help you see them and put them in their proper place.
2) Ask God to open your heart and ears as you read scripture – to help you understand and
hear from Him. Scripture is alive and breathing, sharper than two edge sword – it’s not a book
report. 3) Make time to listen. Set aside time free of distraction, confess those things that are
occupying your thoughts, and ask God to speak to you. Ask Him a question, but be willing to
hear an answer not specific to the question you’ve asked – it may even be about or for someone
else. 4) Spend time reflecting on God’s greatness, his mercy, his love. 5) Share what you’re
learning and hearing – perhaps get affirmation that it’s consistent with God’s character and the
scripture, perhaps its an encouragement to someone else, perhaps they add to the beauty of
what you’re hearing and learning. Our walk is to be shared.
When we are in that between place – we benefit from the reality of God’s presence with us as we
feel alone or anxious.
United in a gospel mission bigger than ourselves – 33 They got up and returned at once to
Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and
saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what
had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
These two disciples didn’t just sit back and enjoy the afterglow of their experience with Jesus.
They had to go now. Not the next day, not after they heard from Peter – what they now
understood about Jesus, His redeeming work and the reality and power of His resurrection
compelled them to walk 7 miles back the way they just came. As the full company of disciples
received this also, they would go on to carry the Hope, Faith, and Love to Jerusalem, Judea,
Samaria and the ends of the earth. Fueled not by a great launch plan, amazing speakers, the
possibility of prestige or financial gain, but Holy Spirit and the reality and power of the
While we are in these between places it helps to remember that it isn’t a pastor or world peace
or plans worked to perfection or even every chair filled on a Sunday morning that leads our
mission, but the same Holy Spirit, the same reality and the same power of the resurrection of
Jesus Christ. Because when we are in those between places it’s too easy to get so inwardly
focused that we forget God calls us to represent Him and give a reason for the Hope we have
no matter where we are or what our circumstances are.
The between places are not the end of the story. As we’re between pastors or whether you’re in
a difficult season of between or as we look out at the world around us-
1) we need to be grounded in the character, promises, and faithfulness of God. Because
while the world about us may be chaotic and upside down – God is constant and we
need that rock to cling to.
2) We need to spend time with God to benefit from the reality of His presence with us as we
feel alone or anxious.
3) We need to remember the same Holy Spirit, the same reality and the same power of the
resurrection of Jesus Christ that launched the early church is still true today. Because
when we are in those between places it’s too easy to get so inwardly focused that we
forget God calls us to be faithfully present and represent Him and give a reason for the
Hope we have no matter where we are or what our circumstances are.
The good news is a story of that place between. Where Jesus stood in that between place for
me and you. He stood between the Father’s wrath against sin and us. Jesus took the brunt of
the most awful between so that you and I could enjoy fellowship with God forever. Sometimes
God uses these between times to call us to Him for the very first time. I invite you to hear from
Jesus and open your heart and mind to the life changing hope we have because of the love and
resurrection of Jesus. The cross is where God’s wrath met our sin, but the resurrection is what
we need to not fear life between
We all have these between places and times in our lives and they will continue to exist in the
world around us until Jesus returns. The question then is, what do we do? I encourage us all to
remember the Road to Emmaus, the hope and power of the resurrection, and to continue to be
faithful to what God has called us to.
Icebreaker: Who are two people currently alive you’d like to sit between at lunch?
V15-16 Why do you think Jesus did not reveal Himself to the Emmaus Road disciples at the
beginning? Are there other times God has done something similar? What does this say about
Is there a between time in your life where God clearly taught you or reminded you of something
that you’d like to share?
What are some ways we can avoid becoming too inwardly focused individually or collectively
during Cornerstone’s between time and stay focused on what God has called our church to?
Prayer: Are you in a between time now and how can we pray for you?