Jesus has resurrected already. News has gotten out that His tomb is empty. But there is still disappointed and discouragement in the air.
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
- Threescore furlongs is about 11km. Two people had left Jerusalem. They were walking towards Emmaus. It is about half a days journey depending on the speed that you go of course.
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?
- They were talking about what had happened. The crucifixion. The missing body of Jesus.
- Jesus then connects Himself with them but they don’t know that it is Him. And asks why they are so sad. So obviously their conversation and countenances would show that they were not happy. Their eyes were holden and could not discern the presence of Christ because they focused so much on their disappointment and grief.
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.
- Jesus had pretended to not know what was going on. They thought He must have been a stranger. And then they describe what had happened.
- Jesus of Nazareth. They all thought He was a prophet. That’s the problem, they just thought He was a prophet and nothing else.
- Jesus throughout His ministry had given evidence that He was more than a prophet, that He was the Son of God. He had made those claims all the time. To people that He healed. To people that He conversed with.
- To the woman at the well:
- John 4:25-26
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
- John 4:25-26
- To crowds that He taught:
- John 6:48, 51, 65-66
48 I am that bread of life. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
- John 6:48, 51, 65-66
- He fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. And yet people still thought that He was just a prophet. And on top of that, the general feeling was as these 2 men expressed it. They thought that Jesus was redeem Israel. Not redeem them from the bondage of sin – because He did do that! But they thought that Jesus would really become their earthly king and come and redeem them from the Roman rulers!
- In a time when the whole world should have been rejoicing, they were all still sad! Jesus had already resurrected! He was standing right next to them! Their misunderstanding of scriptures had blinded them and robbed them of the faith and hope and joy that they should have had.
You know, sometimes we are like that. We have expectations. Expectations about what our life should be like after we accept Christ. We expect things to get better all of a sudden because God is with us! We wonder why things get worse when we accept Jesus and not get better. We get discouraged and disappointed because things did not turn out the way that we wanted it to turn out. And so we focus on all the negatives, all the discouragements, not realizing that God allowed all of that to happen for a reason. We misunderstand who God is and how He works. We don’t understand His will! And in the midst of all our wrong focus, we don’t see Jesus actually standing there right next to us and guiding us.
These men along with the whole of the Jewish nation had totally misunderstood the mission of Christ and the purpose of the Messiah. Their focus was so wrong, that what should have been good news was bad news to them.
- Luke 24:22-24
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.
- Jesus’ body was missing. Women were first there, it was Mary, and she had seen a vision of angels. News that should have been uplifting did not even move a needle in their heart. The mention of angels coming should have been good news. Did they not believe that these women had seen angels! They probably thought they were seeing wrong things, or taking men as angels, or just deluded in what they had seen!
- Good news was nothing to them! That’s how disappointed they were. In their disappointment they forgot that Jesus said He would resurrect after 3 days. He had told them!
- Matthew 12:40
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
- But you know even those that hated Jesus remembered.
- Matthew 27:62-64
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
- Even Christ’s enemies remembered what He had said. But His disciples? They all forgot! And instead of listening even to the women that came to the tomb first and who saw angels, they clung to their wrong understanding of scripture, and they clung to their disappointed hopes.
- You know they say that misery likes company. And these men were determined to stay in their rut of disappointment.
Once again I ask – how do you react when Christ does not answer your prayer the way that you want it to be answered?
- Stop focusing on the disappointment. Trust the scriptures knowing that God loves you! Look, you do something wrong, against God’s will and it doesn’t work out, it’s simple – you repent! You try to rob a bank and you get caught, don’t be disappointed, be remorseful and weep for your sins and ask God to forgive you. You don’t study and you fail your exam, don’t be disappointed and angry at God, be remorseful of your laziness and ask God to forgive you and change you!
- But so often we are disappointed because we want God to bless us financially and He doesn’t and we get upset, we focus on our disappointments when in actual fact we have misunderstood His will for us.
And so Christ draws close to His disciples seeing them in the valley of despondency, wanting to comfort them and offer them some words of cheer.
- Luke 24:25-27
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.
- What does Christ do? He calls them out for their ignorance. Slow to believe all the prophets that have spoken. And He begins to give them a Bible study on the signs of the Messiah! He begins to show them how Christ has fulfilled every specification of prophecy from the Old Testament. The New Testament wasn’t written yet.
- He started with Moses and went all the way to Malachi! This really shows us the importance of the Old Testament. You know, the light that was shining from the Old Testament wasn’t some sort of dim light. What Moses wrote back then is just as clear in revealing Christ as what Paul has written. The problem was, they had just simply misunderstood the scriptures concerning the coming of the Messiah, His work and what would happen to Him.
- Christ could have just revealed Himself to them right there without any explanation of scriptures and they would have probably just accepted Him on the spot and worshipped. But He wanted to establish their faith as He wouldn’t always be there in the flesh for them. He wanted to point them back to the importance of the word and not on any miraculous sign or wonder.
- They had looked at the death of Jesus as the destruction of all their hopes, but now He wanted to show from the prophets that they was to be the very strongest evidence for their faith!
I think we misunderstand the scriptures to that extent today as well. We look at the Old Testament and we see selectively the rich men and women there.
- We see Job – richest man in the east at the time probably. We see Solomon, God gave him so much wisdom and so much gold! We see queen Esther! We see Abraham with his 400 trained servants! We see Joseph as a Prime Minister of Egypt and Daniel as the Prime Minister of Babylon! And then we come to this conclusion that God wants to bless us with riches and make us the next Bill Gates or the next Elon Musk or the next founder of Amazon! That’s what we aspire to be like!
- We misunderstand the scriptures because we forget other portions that give us a whole picture. Noah put everything that he had into the ark. Moses gave up everything in Egypt to lead the children of Israel out from there. Joseph was in prison. Esther fasted and prayed and was there as queen to save the her people. We forget that God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son. We forget Jeremiah sinking in a pit because of the hatred of his own country men. We are selective in the portions of scripture that we choose to remember or see. And as a result, we misunderstand what God desires for us and from us.
- And because we come in with this expectation, it blinds us! Just like how the Jews were expecting Messiah to be the deliverer of Israel from Roman bondage. Job’s friends misunderstood God and ended up persecuting Job instead of comforting him! We expect Christ to bless us and we get upset when He doesn’t.
- And so Christ points His disciples back to the scriptures. He helps them to see the reality of what the scriptures actually say. They’ve been looking at the Bible with a skewed perspective all this time! The expectations were misplaced.
- This 11 km walk flies by but in a moment. A walk for at least 3 hours just disappears but finally they reach their destination.
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.
- Why did Jesus make it seem as if He was going to continue? He wanted to test their sincerity and desire for the truth. He wanted to see how much they desired a blessing. Christ never forces His company on anyone. He only interests Himself with those who need Him, who desire His presence.
- The Bible tells us in Acts:
- Acts 20:35
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Acts 20:35
- Abraham received the blessing from God when he stopped to entertain 3 men passing along the way. Lot similarly received blessing from God as well when he housed the 2 men that came into Sodom. And these 2 men would be blessed as they press for Jesus to stay on.
- Truly the Bible speaks true in Hebrews 13.
- Hebrews 13:2
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
- Many have met with loss simply because they did not ask Christ to abide with them just a while longer.
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.
- Jesus was only revealed to them as they sat to eat. It wasn’t as they were having a Bible study while they were walking. It was as they sat there and communed with each other, as they broke bread together. That’s what you call a relationship.
- A person is not a friend until you sit around with them at the dinner table – isn’t that so true? People at church you see each week can remain acquaintances for many years. And we can be like that with Christ. Until the Bible is assimilated into my heart and life, until it becomes bread for the hungry soul and water for the thirsty, it will only remain head knowledge.
- But now they recognize Christ. Could it be that as He stretched out His hands to receive the bread from them that they saw the scars the nails had left behind that they realized it was Christ? The Bible does not say. But their eyes are opened and He vanishes out of their sight.
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?
- Then they realise now why the scriptures burned within their hearts while He was opening to them the scriptures. The Son of God, author of His word, had come to explain to them the very words that they had misunderstood. Christ had led them to rely on the Word of God and not any outward evidence. Their last exclamation was the effect of the Word of God upon their hearts.
- Christ’s focus was His word!
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.
Remember, it was an 11 km journey back to Jerusalem. But that didn’t deter them. This is the effect of seeing Jesus in His word! This is what happens when the word burns within our hearts!
I can imagine as they recounted the whole scene to the disciples. It wasn’t just about Christ rising from the dead. They would also share of the readjustment that needed to be made in their understanding upon the prophecies from the Old Testament! This would establish them on the sure foundation, to prepare them to carry the greatest message ever given to the world! It wasn’t built on sign and wonders and miracles – although that is what would accompany them. But it was built on the foundation of the Word of God and nothing else. Sola sciptura! The Bible and the Bible only as our rule of faith.
And so today, we need to have that experience of the word of God burning in our hearts. So that God can write His law in there. So that our hunger can be filled. And so that we can give the most important message ever given to man to the whole world! May each of us experience that burning sensation in our hearts today as a result of spending time with Jesus in His word!