13. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
17. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
19. And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
25. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
33. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
As we try to recount the experience of these disciples on the road to Emmaus, I want you to see three different scenes in this episode. One, they are walking away from Jerusalem. They are walking in a sense away from Christ. They are walking apart from the Lord, talking to themselves. But there is part of the journey where they are walking with Christ and what an experience that turned out to be. Then, we see them finally as they are walking for Christ.
That outline sort of sets the outline for the Christian life because there is a time when we walk apart from Christ and where we need to walk with Him more closely and have things revealed to us, and then that automatically brings to our hearts the idea or determination to live for Him and walk for Him and His glory.
Let’s look at that experience for just a minute. As they are walking apart from Christ, we note that they have saddened hearts and they are discussing, sort of a theological discussion and reasoning that is going on, and it leads to sadness and disappointment and even disillusionment to their hearts. There are some things you simply cannot figure out in your own reason. That is the problem with a lot of people in this world and their acceptance of the gospel because the claims of the gospel, the glorious good news and truth has to be accepted on faith in Jesus Christ, not human reasoning. There are so many things that are unreasonable about the Bible that we cannot comprehend with the natural mind, with our natural selves. It takes faith in the Word of God for us to understand and receive divine revelation. Some things we never understand until the Holy Spirit and there is indeed divine revelation through the Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is one reason why we can have a world filled with theologians who reason among themselves and perhaps do not an experience with the living Lord and they come up with sadness and disappointment and can sometimes go to the extreme as some did in Atlanta, Georgia a few years ago to say that God is dead. They started out perhaps with a fairly good commentary by saying that the way Christians are acting and living in the world, it’s as if God is dead. They don’t seem to pay Him any attention anymore. They don’t pray with Him anymore. They don’t walk with Him much anymore. It looks as if God died. But they went on in a process of theological reasoning and came up with the absurd idea that God Himself was dead. Some of you remember what all we went through, and the testimonies that came forth and it built a fire under most of us and we began to see slogans and bumper stickers ‘My God is not dead. I talked to Him this morning.’ And the first thing you know that sounding out of human reasoning caused us to become more intimate with our Lord and to build up the experience and a wonderful relationship with Him.
Just trying to figure things out in their minds, they could not comprehend. They couldn’t understand the ways of the Lord and the ways of the Word. They were not yet rooted and grounded and founded in the Word as it related to Jesus Christ. They probably were familiar with the Word, the Law and the prophets to some extent, but were not able at that time to connect it with Jesus. As they were talking and reasoning together, then Jesus joined them. They were unaware that He was even approaching, that He was close by. When He joined them, they didn’t know who He was. Let me ask you a question. Has the Lord ever come to you in a special time and you didn’t even recognize Him? Has He talked to you and you didn’t know who He was at first? You weren’t sure who the voice was or you weren’t sure what was happening to you. It’s my opinion that we perhaps miss some of the greatest moments of communion with Him, which would be moments of enlightenment, if we could just recognize Him when He approaches and welcome Him and spend some time in communion walking with Him.
Some of the greatest experiences I have ever had as a Christian and as a minister of the gospel were when I earnestly sought out those times to draw close to the Lord and prayed long enough and stayed with Him and the Word long enough until He would begin to disclose Himself, reveal Himself to me and make known His will and speak to my own heart. Those are the most treasured experiences of our lives when the Lord has revealed Himself to us. Especially if you were desperate and you needed to know God’s will and you needed an answer to prayer and suddenly, He moved in and answered it sooner than you expected. Have you ever been surprised at how quickly the Lord answered one of your prayers? That is a wonderful experience when the Lord surprises you with how quickly He moves on the scene and moves in your behalf.
As Jesus began to talk with them and walk with them, He began to ask them questions. What is this communications that you’ve got going together with you that’s leaving you so sad? Now that is a whole point to preach right there because I think that somehow or another we need a renewal of our experience with the Lord and the power of the Holy Ghost. Somehow it erases some of the sadness from our countenance, especially when we are thinking in terms of our Lord and Savior and our salvation. It ought to bring joy, absolutely, pure heavenly joy to our hearts. I think sometimes we miss these experiences of great joy. The Bible talks about joy in a lot of different dimensions, about six different ways. It talks about plain joy, then more joy, great joy, full joy, exceeding great joy and it just keeps on. In other words, when the gospel writers begin writing about the joy that we can have, they just describe it in different dimensions and different amounts, so to speak, and when you are walking with Christ and when you are in His Word and you are communing with Him, it is a source of divine joy that can erase the sad countenance and put a smile on our faces.
So many people are uptight and frustrated that they are not leaning on the joy of the Lord to give them strength. Oh God, help us to somehow when we are talking about Jesus, to radiate a countenance that is filled with the joy of the Lord instead of sadness.
They expressed their disappointment. They said he was supposed, and we had thought (verse 21) we had even trusted that He was the One who would redeem Israel. What all they meant by redeeming Israel, well, it may not be exactly what we think about it, but I’m sure like other disciples, they were disappointed that He did not deliver Israel from the hand of the Romans. That’s what the disciples were so interested in. We saw it earlier, even on the night that Jesus ate the Last Passover with them and instituted the Lord’s Supper. They were arguing over a literal kingdom and who would be the greatest. They wanted Jesus to come and overthrow the Roman government. As He established His kingdom on earth, to include them in the arrangements of who would sit on His right and on His left and be the greatest.
It was hard thing for people to get their minds away from a kingdom of this world. And it still is. It is still difficult for us to keep in mind that we are citizens of another world. This world is not our home. We are passing through here. We belong to a different kingdom and our King is not visible on this earth yet, but He soon will be. Soon, He will come in clouds of glory. Soon He will return and every eye will see Him when He comes in glory. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. That is the kind of faith and idea to keep burning in your heart as you live out our days in these last days because many people have no hope, have no joy, they have no living experience with our Lord Jesus Christ.
They expressed their disappointment and then Jesus rebuked them. It was a gentle rebuke. It doesn’t sound like it from the way the King James translates it, but He is almost saying to them – not what we ordinarily think of as fool – but foolishness as children may have. He is saying slow of heart to believe, all that the prophets have spoken.
Does the devil ever come to challenge you about your faith and what the Scriptures have said about your salvation, about eternal life? Is there ever a time when he comes and says ‘Oh, what’s all this you believe?’ These men were slow in their hearts to believe what the Bible said. Some of you would agree and testify the same way that the more you go back to this Word, the more it comes alive and the more it builds faith and the more heaven becomes real and the blood of Jesus Christ becomes powerful and the power of the Holy Spirit becomes more real the more you live and dwell in this Word. After awhile it’s not hard to believe what the Scripture says. It’s not hard for you to believe what the prophets have said. I’m glad that Jesus is so loving and so kind that He would take the time with two disciples and He will take the time with you and me, too. In the times of our sadness, in the times of our disappointments, in the time of our lack of faith, our failure to believe fully and completely, He will take the time to erase the doubts and push back the clouds if we will just walk with Him. You stay with Him awhile and the longer you stay with Him the more clouds of doubt roll away because He took the time.
I hope you notice what I read in verse 27, ‘And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.’ Can you imagine how long that took? I don’t know how far their journey was to the place, but it sounds to me like they had quite a good walk and it must have been that Jesus talked to them. They probably stopped once in awhile and Jesus must have talked to them for hours. If He covered all the prophets and the Law beginning in Genesis with the Pentateuch and all the prophets, my goodness, He pinpointed in all those passages, and that thrills me, too, to know that Luke says that there are passages beginning with Genesis, through all the Law, and all the prophets in the Scriptures, there are passages that refer directly to Jesus. If you want a Bible study that will keep you busy for awhile and be exciting, why don’t you read the Bible through and somehow make note of every passage that deals with our Lord Jesus Christ, prophetic of His first coming and His second coming and whatever? I tell you for sure here is one of the fundamental foundations that the apostles will stand on for years to come. They will stand on the Word and they will go to the Scriptures again and again to explain about Jesus, His life and death. In fact, there are some translations of Scripture, like the New American Standard in particular, that every time there is a quotation from the Old Testament, it is written in capital letters in the New Testament. It’s amazing when you start thumbing through that particular translation to see at the many, many, many different references that are in the New Testament that are coming our of the Old Testament about many things. Many of them are about Jesus Christ.
The greatest experience you can have in this world is to walk with Jesus and have Him teach you from the Word of God. What a wonderful experience it is when you’ve prayed up against a wall and there’s no way to see through it and all of a sudden, the Lord opens a door and you see what a beautiful entrance right there all the time you just couldn’t see it. There is life, transforming power, it is quick and powerful in this Word. When God gets in the arrangements to show you this Word and let it reveal to your heart and you begin to see it through the power of the Holy Spirit. It starts breathing life into your very being.
I’m talking about when you’re with Jesus and you’re in the Spirit, and you’re in the Word and He lets you see things you’ve never seen and He opens up your understanding, Ah! That is the richest treasure and the richest experience you can ever have in this world. He talked a long time. Their hearts were burning. You cannot be in the presence of the Lord without something happening to you. When you are communing and talking to Him and He is talking to you, your heart is going to burn and there is going to be a dynamic move of the Holy Spirit reaching into your very soul.
Then they got to the place where they were supposed to stay. Jesus made as if He would just go on. Still, like a stranger, He is still like a stranger to them. They had not recognized Him yet. But they constrained Him. They began to just simply press on Him, ‘No, you must come in. You must come by.’ Here’s what He did. When they sat down to eat, He took bread and He broke it. He blessed it and broke it and gave to them to eat. Hallelujah! If you want divine revelation, if you want spiritual understanding, sit at the table with Jesus and let Him break the bread of life with you and bless it and give it to you. Your eyes will be opened. Your understanding will be opened. The Bible says in verse 31 ‘their eyes were opened, and they knew him;’ What an experience with a living Lord that they have not recognized Him before, but now when they see His hands blessing bread and breaking it. They know that is His pattern. That’s the way He always did. That’s the way He did on the day of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. He blessed it first and then he broke it. That’s the way He works with you and me. When He gets ready to give us out like bread, the first thing He does is bless us real good and then He starts this breaking process. He doesn’t break us first. If He did, we couldn’t stand it. But He blesses us first and then He starts breaking and we can handle it then.
If you’ve come from heaven’s blessings upon your life, then when the hand puts the squeeze on your life to break your will, you don’t mind it nearly as much. You’re in a lot better attitude then. That is one reason why some people never get broken. They won’t let God bless them. You talk about quenching the Spirit, I think there is a spirit in the world in these days that somehow gets hold of people that they don’t want God to really bless them. I am hungry to see the Holy Spirit fall on people and them forget about where they are and allow God to work in our hearts. So He blessed it, broke it, and gave it, and their eyes were opened. If there is something you are having a hard time seeing, sit down and sup with Jesus. Jesus knocked on the door and He is knocking on the door of the Church in the Book of the Revelation and He said ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock and if any man hear my voice and will open the door, I will come into him and sup with him and he with me. We will eat together.’ In that process, there will be divine revelation and divine experience that changes your life. It did them. It sent them with gladdened hearts walking for Jesus, going back to Jerusalem with a new vision, a new understanding. They left Jerusalem in sadness, with questions and disappointment, and human reasoning. But they are returning with gladdened hearts burning with the power of the Holy Spirit. They had moved from saddened hearts to burning hearts to gladdened hearts and now they are walking for Him back to Jerusalem in renewed faith and renewed joy and power.
This kind of experience inspires us to be His witness in any and everything that we do for His glory. I would dare say this that none of us are ready to do that very well until we have had such a life-transforming experience with the resurrected living Lord. Like those disciples, we may not can see Him and recognize Him with the natural eye tonight, but we can listen to Him and His Word and look at all that the Scriptures have said about Him and let our hearts burn with the living truth until indeed He is revealed to us in a most gracious way.
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