Today’s passage, commonly referred to as “The Road to Emmaus,” describes the experience of two disciples on that very first resurrection Sunday. These disciples were on a seven-mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus and they took the time to process all that had been going on over the last couple of days…and there was plenty to talk about.
In the midst of their discussion, Jesus, in the guise of a stranger, drew near and engaged them in conversation. He invited their reflection on recent events and their response revealed a great deal about the disciples’ state of mind. They were in mourning and mired in confusion. They talked about the loss of their rabbi, about dashed expectations and strange reports from trusted friends. The end result is that they plodded along the road in a confused sadness.
Now, we all want to hear Jesus speak certain words to us when we first see him, namely, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Unfortunately, these disciples hear, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe …” (vs. 25) Ouch! [Truth be told, we may deserve this kind of greeting more often than we like to think.] Jesus didn’t leave them with this rebuke, however, but lovingly opened up the Scriptures and taught them as he had done many times before. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (vs. 27)
In this act of grace, we see Jesus’ willingness to draw the disciples out of a“moment of confusion” and help them realize they are in a “moment of consummation.” God’s plan as detailed in the Old Testament, was coming to fruition. The disciples’ hope was not in vain. The prophetic witness of the centuries was manifesting as they were speaking! They just needed some help to connect the dots.
After Jesus painted the full picture of the Messiah’s path of victory through suffering, he revealed himself through the breaking of bread over the evening meal. And so, the day’s journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus was also a journey through the wisdom of the Holy Scriptures and it culminated in an intimate moment around a table when crust was torn and crumbs fell to the table. As the disciples recognized Jesus in that instant, he disappeared. In this way, Jesus brought the two disciples from confusion to a place of understanding and ultimately, to worship.
Shortly thereafter, the disciples returned to Jerusalem where Peter corroborated their experience. It was earlier on the road with Jesus however, when they received the only necessary confirmation of the Truth. Verse 32 reflects a beautiful Holy Spirit moment when the disciples recounted, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Here we get a foretaste of the Spirit at workin those who know Jesus as Lord.
In this post-resurrection encounter with Jesus, we see the importance of Scripture and we learn something about it. Jesus pointed the disciples back to the Scriptures so that they would have enough understanding and confidence to move forward. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.” That’s good news about the Good News! The Bible stands the test of time, continuing to minister from generation to generation. Additionally, God intended the Scriptures to be understood, even though teachers are sometimes needed to connect ideas and explain complex passages. With this in mind, every time we pick up our Bibles, we should read with anticipation and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds and bring us to understanding.
As we move through this confusing moment in our culture, it’s all too easy to be like the disciples on the road to Emmaus who were stuck in the moment and missing the big picture. This passage invites us to look beyond our own perspective and expectations so that we might encounter Jesus in a new way. We are urged to allow God’s Word to inspire us and we are challenged to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit as he “works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13) By the grace of God, may we be wise and quick of heart to believe!
Where is your focus today? Are you mourning or confused? Are you experiencing the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Share these things with the Lord in prayer.
When was the last time your heart burned as you poured through the Scriptures? Thank God for speaking to you through His Word and by His Spirit.
Jesus revealed himself to the disciples in the moment when he broke bread. What does this act represent and why is it important to reflect on it regularly? Ask God to give you a soft heart and open ears and eyes for the coming day so that you might experience him in a new way.
Dan joined the Cornerstone team in November 2018 as the Pastor of Missions. His focus is on empowering the church family to step beyond the boundaries of CCLB to declare the Good News, so that the Body of Christ might be established where it would not otherwise occur. In addition, Dan provides oversight for Cornerstone’s Care ministries.