THE RESURRECTION: ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

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 the only one visiting Jerusalem who does 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. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if He were going farther. But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.

When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. 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?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” – Luke 24:13-34

INTRODUCTION

The resurrection of Christ is the supreme miracle. Let’s accept it, and we can accept all the others. It is unique, unlike all other miracles – even the raising of Jairus’s daughter, the widow’s son, and Lazarus. The evidence for the resurrection miracle here is twofold: the empty tomb and His presence with His doubting friends. The body of Jesus, though recognizable by faith, was not bound by time and space. The two travelers to Emmaus could not recognize Him immediately. He then “disappeared from their sight”. From Emmaus they returned to the Eleven in Jerusalem, and Jesus appeared suddenly in their midst. The resurrection miracle fulfilled Scripture and Jesus’s own predictions. It is the strongest evidence Jesus is the Messiah promised Israel and the Saviour given to the world.

Today we will study some of the verses of the resurrection story in Luke chapter 24:13-34.

LUKE 24:13 – The two followers returning to Emmaus at first missed the significance of history’s greatest event because they were too focused on their disappointment and problems. In fact, they didn’t recognize Jesus when He was walking beside them. To compound the problem, they were walking in the wrong direction – away from the fellowship of the believers in Jerusalem. We are likely to miss Jesus and withdraw from the strength found in other believers when we become preoccupied with our dashed hopes and frustrated plans. Only when we are looking for Jesus in our midst will we experience the power and help He can bring.

LUKE 24:21 – These followers from Emmaus had been counting on Jesus to redeem Israel, that is, to rescue the nation from its enemies. Most Jews believed that the Old Testament prophecies pointed to a military and political Messiah; they didn’t realize that the Messiah had come to redeem people from slavery to sin. When Jesus died they lost all hope. They didn’t understand that Jesus’ death offered the greatest hope possible.

LUKE 24:24 – These followers knew that the tomb was empty but didn’t understand that Jesus had risen, and they were filled with sadness. Despite the women’s witness, which was verified by some of the disciples, and despite the biblical prophecies of this very event, they still didn’t believe. Today the Resurrection still catches people by surprise. In spite of 2,000 years of evidence and witness, many people refuse to believe. What more will it take? For these disciples it took the living Jesus in their midst. For many people today, it takes the presence of alive Christians.

LUKE 24:25 – Even though these Jewish men knew the biblical prophecies well, they failed to understand that Christ’s suffering was His path to glory. They could not understand why God had not intervened to save Jesus from the cross. They were so caught up in the world’s admiration for political power and military might that they were blind to God’s kingdom values – the last will be first, and that life grows out of death. The world has not changed its values. The suffering servant is no more popular today than He was 2,000 years ago. But we have not only the witness of the Old Testament prophets; we also have the witness of the New Testament apostles and the history of the Christian church testifying to Jesus’ victory over death. Will we confront the values of our culture and put our faith in Jesus? Or will we foolishly continue to ignore this Good News.

LUKE 24:25-27 – After the two followers had explained their sadness and confusion. Jesus responded by going to scripture and applying it to His ministry. When we are puzzled by questions or problems, we too, can go to Scripture and find authoritative help.

JESUS OPENS OUR EYES 

The journey to Emmaus is both a literal and a spiritual journey. On one hand it recounts the story of two disciples who, after the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord, walk seven miles from Jerusalem to their village of Emmaus. On the other hand, it outlines for us the journey that we all take from not recognizing Jesus, to understanding what the Scripture says about Him, to recognizing Him for who He is, and finally to our giving witness of what we have experienced.

There were several reasons they did not recognize Jesus:

A. GOD DID NOT WANT THEM TO RECOGNIZE HIM

The original language conveys the sense that they were kept from recognizing Him because God had a purpose in blinding their eyes from reality. His gradual revelation of Himself allows them to learn certain lessons about trusting God’s promises. The disciples had been told about these events many times, but they had not believed.

B. EVENTS HAD NOT HAPPENED AS EXPECTED

They had a preconceived idea of who Jesus was, what He had come to do, and how He should do it. But when things did not turn out like they thought they should, they dismissed the whole thing as a mere failure, as misplaced hope and trust.

While God always has a plan, we are not always privy to that plan. When things don’t turn out like we expect, instead of giving up and admitting defeat, perhaps we would be wise to see things differently, to see if maybe God is up to something we simply do not understand.

C. THEY HAD LITTLE FAITH

They had heard the reports of the women who went to the tomb and yet they had not believed.

We need to be careful not to make the same mistake, to discount what God has done simply because we cannot explain it or understand it. While God often uses natural things to accomplish His will, He also does things we can neither explain nor understand. These two disciples knew something had happened, but it was beyond their level of faith to see things as they truly were.

Just because they knew about Jesus does not mean they knew Him. Just because they could see Him does not mean they could see who He was. Many people today know who Jesus is. They have heard about Him, read about Him, use His name, and many even claim to know Him. They would not recognized Him if they saw Him. Their eyes have not been opened. Knowing about Him and knowing Him are two different things.

CONCLUSION

God prevented these two disciples from recognizing Jesus to convey a deep truth: Even if we were to see, we might still not believe. We must trust the testimony of Scripture.

Jesus tells us that we must have the scriptural truth to understand who He is. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Outside of the word of God there is no reliable witness to who Jesus really is.

The Scripture tells us the truth about Jesus.

SOURCE: Life Application Study Bible

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