On the Way to Emmaus
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus...Luke 24:13-35
“That same day...” – what a day it had been! The women came to the grave – tomb opened, angels meet them. Christ’s words are brought to their remembrance. They run with joy but unbelief awaits them. “And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” Peter and John had to see. Open tomb. Grave-clothes. No Jesus. Peter leaves, “wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”
With events and reports swirling in their thoughts, two set off for Emmaus, seven miles away. They talked. What to make of it all? “While they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near.” Not permitting them to recognize Him yet, He asks them, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” He reaches their mind and heart with a single question. They could not fathom that anyone was unaware. You must be a stranger. Have you not heard? “What things?” He asked.
“Jesus of Nazareth,” “mighty prophet,” “delivered,” “condemned,” “crucified,” “we had trusted,” “third day,” “the women...made us astonished,” “certain ... found it stand, are confused, are not theological enough to put it all together, etc., but more often than we might like to think, so,” “him they saw not.” They just couldn’t put it together. Was that it? “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?” It wasn’t just confusion. Jesus called it foolishness. They were slow to believe what the Scriptures said of Him and what He Himself had foretold in their presence.
We can be so like this ourselves. Why is it sometimes so hard to believe God’s Word? “Take no thought for tomorrow,” but we worry. “Provoke not your children to wrath,” but we lose our temper. “Love your enemies,” but we nurse the hurt. We might like to think we don’t understand, are confused, are not theological enough to put it all together, etc., but more often than we might like to think, we’re just fools, slow of heart to believe what He’s told us.
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Must we not pause and worship when we read this? “Because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge.” If this is so of Solomon, how much more our Jesus? How often He takes us by the hand, so to speak, and patiently leads us along out of our darkness, our ignorance, our unbelief?
The travelers didn’t want to part company with this peculiar man. “Abide with us.” If you’ve ever tasted the sweetness of Christ, you will have prayed this, too. He did finally reveal who He was to them when they sat down to eat. “He took bread and blessed it and brake and gave to them.” Their hearts were burning when He explained to them out of the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Now they experienced the Savior in person. They went back the seven miles, even though the night was far spent. Now they were the ones with glad tidings for the slow of heart to believe.
A dear servant of the Lord, after preaching on this many years ago, said to the congregation, “The name of the one was Cleopas. And the other? Maybe it was you.” If you have ever met Christ in this way, know that you too are blessed, just like these two travelers were. Flesh and blood does not reveal such things to us; our heavenly Father does.