Luke 24:13-35 (ESV)
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
On the day of the resurrection these two were walking from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus.
As they were walking, they were talking to each other about all the things that had taken place; that is, about Jesus’ crucifixion and the report of some women that had been to the tomb, had found it empty, and had received a message from “angels, who affirmed that he was alive” (verse 23).
15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Suddenly, footsteps. Did Christ look different or where they divinely unable to see?
17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. (VARIANT)
The stranger has intruded upon a discussion. He did not ask due to a lack of knowledge but in order to have an opportunity to start a conversation.
When they heard the question, it stopped them. What an unexpected question. Their hearts were full of sorrow from the last few days. They were filled with disappointment.
18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
Imagine the scene of an embarrassing pause. Cleopas finally speaks: Are you the only person who was in Jerusalem that managed to remain uninformed about what just happened there during the Passover?!
19 What things? he asked.
With marvelous tact Jesus gives Cleopas a full opportunity to unburden himself.
Continued: And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
Note that this is the historic confession of the Gospel. It is a historical event. Jesus was from a real town, a town with no reputation. He came to His own and was a mighty prophet in deed and word before God and all the people. He work was public and verifiable. This same Jesus was delivered up by His own and condemned and crucified.
All part of the Gospel.
But something is missing.
This is not good news to these disciples.
The speech continued: 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.
Hold the phone.
They had hoped He would redeem Israel?
Not in their mind.
The story ends for them in Christ’s death.
What had they hoped for?
What did they believe Christ was going to redeem them from?
The Cross wasn’t even in their view as part of redemption.
They were hoping for something but now their hope had almost been extinguished as they continue:
They were hoping, but the flame of hope had almost been extinguished, as is clear from the continuation: Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
As if to say: “After we saw Him die, we had some hope that God might intervene and deliver us but it did not happen. Not on the first or the second and now it is the third day and still…nothing.”
A tiny flicker of hope has begun to drive away the darkness and despair.
22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
The report of the women had been spreading. This news is startling but, after all, it’s a report from women. Startling news. Who can believe such a report?
Continued: Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
The two men were probably thinking of Peter and John.
So now, on that first day when the Lord was raised, despair and bewilderment was the scene.
The Eleven were in deep mourning.
They had pinned their hopes and dreams on a redemption that had not come.
Peter was overcome with remorse at betraying Jesus.
John was tenderly caring for His mother.
The cross has blasted their hopes.
The grave has buried them forever.
Not one of The Eleven or the disciples expected Jesus to arise from the grave.
Jesus was dead.
He was gone!
Those happy days of close fellowship and intimate association with the Great Prophet of Nazareth would never return.
These two disciples that are talking to Jesus are on their way home…from a funeral.
A dear one has been buried – Jesus of Nazareth.
“Stranger, we hoped He was the One who would redeem Israel.”
We HOPED, past tense.
That hope is gone!
All hope is gone.
Beloved, if that is the truth of the matter, then all hope IS gone.
But enough of this unbelief!
25, 26. And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
Two things to focus on: ALL and NECESSARY.
The problem with religious expectation in Jesus’ day was that those who read the Old Testament focused only on the glory and victory of the Messiah.
They did not discern that the path to these blessings was the way of suffering.
They would even go so far as to read Isaiah 52-53 and apply the glory to the Messiah and the suffering to Israel.
In other words, they applied the suffering that the Servant of the Lord would endure to themselves but missed that the key to the Servant’s redemption was His suffering.
And there was absolutely no excuse for this.
They not only had the Old Testament.
They also had Jesus in their midst.
He was constantly interpreting the Old Testament by what He was, what He did, and what He taught.
Had He not repeatedly told them He would suffer and die and rise again?
Had they not missed this point and at every turn only thought of the glory they would enjoy with Him?
He had interpreted Psalm 118 for them that He was the rejected stone that becomes the cornerstone. The path of suffering leads to glory.
He had taught in Luke 22:37 that Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering servant referred to Him.
On the Cross, as Jesus gasped for breath, He taught of Himself by quoting from the Old Testament.
All this proves that the two men on their way to Emmaus deserved to be called foolish for failing to believe what Christ had taught.
It proves that every man, Jew or Gentile, who failed then or fails now to believe what Christ taught of the Old Testament concerning Himself is a fool.
27. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for this exposition.
What is clear from this, however, is that the man or woman who misses that Jesus is the point of the Scriptures is blind to its message.
It is not about finding solutions to daily felt needs.
It’s not about learning to love ourselves.
It’s not about finding moral stories that are worthy of imitation.
It’s not about reading God’s manual so we can unlock life’s secrets.
It’s not about raising G-rated kids in an X-rated world.
It’s not about justifying legislation to take back our nation from unrighteous persons.
All of these things may be important in themselves but if we mine the Scriptures for everything else and don’t see Jesus then we are lost.
We are blind to its message.
We are left with self-help when we need help from above.
We are left to rescue ourselves from the avenging wrath of a Holy God.
The Scriptures begin with a benediction at how good and glorious Creation is.
Man is created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
And, immediately, Genesis 3 happens and we are shipwrecked.
We are ruined!
But God promises things like this throughout Redemptive History:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”” (Genesis 3:15, ESV)
“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”” (Genesis 12:3, ESV)
“and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”” (Genesis 22:18, ESV)
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10, ESV)
“The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13, ESV)
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.” (Numbers 24:17, ESV)
““The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—” (Deuteronomy 18:15, ESV)
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12–13, ESV)
“You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.” (Psalm 68:18, ESV)
“The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”” (Psalm 110:1, ESV)
“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4, ESV)
“As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—” (Isaiah 52:14, ESV)
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5, ESV)
“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.” (Isaiah 54:5, ESV)
“He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.” (Isaiah 59:16, ESV)
““Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5, ESV)
“Thus says the Lord God: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.” (Ezekiel 17:22, ESV)
““I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13–14, ESV)
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2, ESV)
“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.” (Zechariah 3:8, ESV)
““Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1, ESV)
But the picture of the Messiah is not confined to this representative list of passages. From beginning to end everything in Scripture converges at Bethlehem and the Cross – the historical, typological, psychological, and prophetical. The whole nature of the Old Testament points to Christ.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
When Christ had first intruded upon them, they might have found him a nuisance but now they cannot bear for him to depart and so they invited him into their home and even give him the honor of performing the duties of a host.
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
What was it in the breaking of the bread? I don’t think we need to speculate.
It states that their eyes were opened.
This was not their act.
It was something that happened to them.
They were made able to see and they recognized him and then he vanished.
Before they had time to fully realize what had happened he was gone.
32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
Do you see what caused them excitement?
What caused their hearts to burn?
It was how the Scriptures were opened up to them.
The Lord’s explanation had filled them with light.
Their hopes had revived.
This man was no longer a stranger but had explained to them what they never understood.
The women had been right after all.
The women had not been talking nonsense but were telling a glorious truth!
The Savior was alive!
How kind of Christ to walk 7 miles with men who had left Jerusalem in disappointment.
It’s as if He left the 99 to go after the one or two straying sheep.
These two are now filled with news that cannot be kept to themselves.
They’ve walked seven miles from Jerusalm.
Was it dark and dangerous to return?
This news is so electrifying and reassuring.
The other disciples must know what happened!
Not tomorrow but tonight.
33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Some news is too wonderful to keep bottled up.
Unbelief had given way to faith.
Darkness had been driven away by light.
Beloved, here is the question?
Who was seeking it?
By this I mean, find me the disciple that was convinced of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead.
Find me the one person who stood fast.
Find me the one disciple that understood Jesus’ ministry.
Find me the believer in Israel that, on his own steam, searched the Scriptures and understood Christ’s ministry.
He’s nowhere to be found.
But we’re more clever than they, aren’t we?
We don’t need any help to understand the Scriptures.
After all, nobody today ever studies the Scriptures and comes to false conclusions.
Consider the Jews today who pour over the Old Testament Scriptures. They have a veil over their eyes so that they can’t see the One Person that it all points to.
Consider the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons or the Roman Catholics.
Every one of them studies the Scriptures. Their scholars study them intently.
Surely it cannot be the case that, like the followers in Jesus’ day, they could read the Scriptures and not find Christ clearly plastered all over them.
Oh yes it is very possible.
Surely it cannot be the case that anyone in this room has sat under the Preaching of the Word for 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years and could completely miss Christ?
Oh yes. It is very possible.
It’s not only possible but very common that people seek a kind of redemption from Christ except what He offers.
Is it not a fearful thing to consider the rebuke of Christ someday: “You foolish one. You not only had the Old Testament but the New Testament that clearly proclaimed Me as Crucified. How many times did I plead through the ministers of the Gospel but you would not hear. How often was the Word before you but you would not read.”
Remember that these things were written by Luke to Theophulis that he might have certainty concerning the things taught.
This entire vignette about the Road to Emmaus didn’t end up here by accident.
Luke is intentionally inviting the reader to consider the importance of what has happened.
Do you see it?
Do you have eyes to see?
This Jesus of Nazareth was a man mighty in deeds and words before God and men.
He came into His own and His own rejected Him and put Him to death on a Cross.
But that’s not the end.
As Christ speaks through the Word let our hearts burn within us.
The sin and death that we all deserved was placed upon the Son.
It was necessary that the Messiah should suffer for US!
He redeemed us from the Curse of sin and death.
He rose again, on the third day, in fulfillment of Scriptures.
With Him, all who believe in Him rise with Him.
If this News does nothing for you then I’m sad for you.
If it merely amounts to the stories of gullible men and women then I weep for you.
If you think you are a Christian but consider such things inconsequential then I am fearful for you.
But, Beloved, if your hearts are burning within you at this News then why wait?
Who cares about dangers or troubles?
Who can keep such News to himself.