And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus,
which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. (Luke 24:13)
Can you imagine what this day was like? Resurrection day. Jesus was not in the tomb anymore. People were talking about it everywhere. But did they understand that Jesus truly was alive?
After the Crucifixion, even after the Resurrection, some of Jesus’ disciples were half-believing and some were half-doubting—not totally convinced He was the Messiah.
The Discouragement of a Confused Heart
On Easter Sunday, two forlorn disciples left Jerusalem for Emmaus, a small village about seven miles away. Walking wearily from where Jesus had been crucified, buried, and raised, they were discouraged and burdened.
And they talked together of all those things which had happened. And it came to pass that while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. (Luke 24:14-16)
They had expected Jesus to be the political Messiah who would deliver Israel, like the angels proclaimed. They’d been looking for a King, but their king’s mission had been cut short—they thought. Now He had nails for a scepter, a cross for a throne, and for His kingdom—a narrow tomb. But the story was only half done. They hadn’t yet seen that Jesus had turned Calvary into Easter. Pentecost was coming. Their sadness was rooted in misunderstanding. Misunderstanding led to disappointment. Disappointment led to doubt. Doubt led to discouragement.
That can happen to us when we’re going through our own Gethsemane and Calvary. We can’t see that He’s going to turn our hurts to hallelujah. So many Christians get discouraged because they don’t fully understand the Scriptures or believe all that the prophets have spoken.
The Discovery of a Challenged Heart
The Scripture says “Jesus himself drew near….” He sought them, He caught them, then He taught them; “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (v. 27) Just as the Lord Jesus sought us when we were lost, Jesus met them along the way and challenged them with the Word of God. He’s done that many times for me, and He’s done that for you. He comes alongside not to condone or condemn, but to claim us and comfort us.
If Jesus sought us when we were out-and-out sinners, surely He will seek us when we’re saved but away from Him.
During this journey He opened the Scriptures. What a marvelous time that must have been! Jesus held a Bible conference! How would you like to have a recording of Jesus, starting in the book of Genesis, going through the Old Testament, saying, “Now, here’s Jesus. Here’s the Messiah. Here’s the Messiah in this passage. And here’s another one.”
If you read the Bible and don’t find Jesus, you missed it. Go back and you’ll find Him. He’ll be in prophecy, in precept, in parable, in poetry. Whether it’s the Old Testament or the New Testament, in every book you’ll find Jesus standing somewhere in the shadows. “Search the Scriptures,” He said, “…these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).
When we’re confused and disillusioned, the Lord must open two things for us: the Scriptures and our eyes. Both are absolutely necessary. Light without sight is no good, and sight without light is no good. It takes both.
I believe God held back Jesus’ identity from them for a while on purpose. He was soon to leave earth and return to the Father. He would no longer be with them physically. On the road to Emmaus he was transferring their dependence upon His physical presence and moving it to the Word of God.
As He opens the Word, He opens their eyes to see Him, now not after the flesh, but revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. Do you understand why He did this? He’s going back to heaven, but He’s leaving the Word.
Today we need the same thing. We don’t have Jesus before us in physical form, but we do have the written Word of God to bring Jesus Christ to us and make Him real.
It is extremely significant that it was the Word and not the physical sense that made Him real to them. They didn’t say, “Oh yes, we recognize Him.” No. They said, “We knew Him because He opened the Word to us.” That’s how they knew Him now—through the Word of God.
Notice that Jesus “28…indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us,…” Many times in Scripture it seems as if the Lord is trying to get away. Did you know most of us have about all of God we want? And if we don’t have more it’s because we don’t want more. But what He really wants us to do is to press on and press forward toward Him. I’ve often said, “God does business with those who mean business.” “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6).
I want you to have a burning, passionate love for Jesus Christ—to know not only that Jesus is risen, but that He is risen indeed.
The Declaration of a Convinced Heart
Immediately the two went back to Jerusalem with this news—to shout it, tell it, sing it, share it, no longer seeing with the eyes of the flesh, but with spiritual eyes as the Scriptures and their hearts were opened to His Truth. May the same be said of us. And may He continue to show us the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
There’s no lasting joy without Him. He’s the One you need. God has engineered it that you’re not going to have joy without Jesus. And you’re not going to know Jesus apart from the Scriptures.
We need to have our eyes opened and our hearts set aflame. We don’t need a dead orthodoxy—we need a living faith. He is risen indeed!
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