7747 - Road to Emmaus


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After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to many people, each bearing witness that Jesus was no longer dead.

In our study through the book of Luke we are now in the last chapter. Jesus has been crucified, but he has risen. No one has yet seen him, but angels have told the women that he has risen.

Peter and John have visited the empty tomb, and came to believe that Jesus was resurrected. His body was not stolen although this rumor was launched by the religious leaders.

The gospels tell us that on this Sunday of the resurrection Jesus appeared on five separate occasions to people who knew him before his death.

Today let’s look in on one of these scenes, which occurred as two disciples were on the road to Emmaus, a village about seven miles north-west of Jerusalem. Luke gives good insight into the troubled souls of those who surrounded Jesus in life, in the midst of all the reports and rumors.

I’ll read Luke 24:13-21a:

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"

"What things?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”

We can imagine the many things these two were talking about as they walked along. It seems they were present when some of the things occurred. Although these were not apostles they apparently had been among the disciples around Jesus before his death.

As they walked along, a third party joined them. The passage tells us they were kept from recognizing Jesus initially. Later their eyes were opened and they recognized him.

Notice they refer to Jesus as a prophet. We see that Jesus was patient with them, but he reproved them for two errors, which prevailed among those who had followed Jesus.

First: they did not have a good grasp of the Scripture; thus, they did not know what the prophets had said would take place.

Secondly: they were slow to believe the truth.

They expressly state that they had hoped that Jesus was the one who was to redeem Israel. They knew enough to know about the second advent of Jesus, which is yet in the future, when he will redeem Israel and will establish his kingdom. But they had missed the suffering Messiah. It’s in the Scripture, but they missed the significance of what was taking place.

Beginning with Moses and throughout the Prophets Jesus explained to them the full scope of his place in Scripture.

After Jesus left the two, they talked together about how their hearts burned within them as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them. What a blessing they received from his teaching.

The passage continues to tell us that after they arrived at Emmaus they insisted that Jesus spend the night with them. He joined them for a period of time.

We will talk more about what happened that evening at a later time.

These two were not so different from the other people who had followed Jesus. There were many Jews who hoped that Jesus was the one to redeem Israel, and get rid of the Roman presence in the promised land.

It is a difficult task to separate the first and second advents of the Messiah Jesus in Scripture. I’m not so sure we would have been much different if we had been present back then.

And the concept of Jesus serving as the atoning sacrifice, of the resurrection, and the introduction of a new age in man’s relationship to God — these all required time and God’s grace to understand. But God was in charge, and He made no mistakes.