This sermon was based on Luke 24:13-43.
On the road to Emmaus
13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognising him.
17He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One 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?’
19 ‘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. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but 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. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.’
25He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going further. 29But 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.
30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’
33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread.
Jesus appears to the disciples
36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’
37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’
40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.
Encountering Jesus in the Everyday
- Let’s not miss the significance of where and when this happens. Two people walking down the road together going home, Jesus is with them. Two people getting home and having their tea, Jesus is with them.
- Jesus doesn’t choose to show himself first in some holy place like a temple. He doesn’t even chose to appear first in a prayer meeting or worship service. These people he appears to, they are actually broken, disappointed, sad, trying to figure out what has happened. Jesus appears outside of the temple, outside of the church in an everyday situation, to normal people who are feeling sad!
- This is still what Jesus does today. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that we will meet with Jesus and experience him most in special contexts, church gatherings, christian conferences and so on. I’m not sure that’s the way he intends it. Jesus wants to meet with us whenever and where ever we are.
He Explained to the All Them Scriptures Concerning Himself
- These two on the road to Emmaus were kept from recognising Jesus to begin with. There must have been a reason for God not to allow them to recognise him straight away.
- “Why do you suppose these two men were “kept from recognizing” Jesus for hours (v. 16)? The clue, I think, is in verse 25. Jesus called them “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe” the Scriptures. Their outward inability to recognize Jesus mirrored their inward unbelief of what the Scriptures revealed about him. Now, Jesus fully intended to help them see. But notice the priority of Jesus’ revelation: before he opened their physical eyes, he purposed to open their heart-eyes. Why? Because it was of utmost importance that they “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).” – Jon Bloom
- They needed to believe, they needed to have faith. They needed to know from scripture that Jesus was with them. Often that is the case for us too. In those moments when we can’t see Jesus, when we aren’t able to experience his presence we need to know he is there in other ways.
- We need to have understanding and knowledge, we need to be able to find Jesus in the word of God, to know that he is with us, even when we can’t see and feel him. We need to be able to live by faith. Often its this understanding which leads us into the experience…..
Where Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us?
- The presence of Jesus is, however, more than just head knowledge. A relationship with God was always meant to be more than just simply an academic exercise. That’s why the Bible uses phrases like ‘taste and see that the Lord is good” and as we look through the bible we see time after time where people, see God, hear God or have some kind of physical response to his presence with them. It is normal for our bodies to respond to the presence of God.
- “Let us imagine a man who has begun to understand how real God and eternity are. Should we be surprised if he cries out, or feels weak and faint, or even experiences bodily pains? Not unless we are very ignorant! …… a man’s strength may be taken away when he catches a glimpse of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and the greatness of his dying love. We all admit that no man can see God and live, and that our mortal bodies could stand no more than the smallest taste of the glory and love of Christ…. God sometimes gives his saints real foretastes of heaven; it is not surprising therefore if they are made to feel faint.” – Jonathan Edwards.
- As those who follow Jesus, who are disciples of Jesus, we are meant to see him, experience him, have a living and vibrant relationship of love with him. Our relationships with Jesus are meant to be felt and experienced. His presence has an affect on us. These two, as they walked, they didn’t even know it was Jesus who was speaking to them at that point but they felt something. Their hearts burnt within them.
- The first response we see in this passage is before they even recognise who Jesus is. They urged him to stay with them! There may be many reasons for this, it was culturally appropriate, it was late in the evening, it could be that they were so stirred and enjoying him so much they didn’t want the experience to end. Whatever the reason, what an amazing response! Its the right response to Jesus being with us – to want more!
- The second response to having encountered Jesus is that they told others. They immediately wanted to share this experience with other people. When we meet Jesus we should be stirred to share him with those around us. It’s not about being able to explain deep theological truths – it’s about sharing our experience of the person and the presence of Jesus. It’s about introducing others to him.
- When these two people tell others about their encounter with Jesus, Jesus responds and shows himself to the those others. Not only that but he proves to them who he is and that he is real. He shows them his hands and feet, he lets them touch him and then he demonstrates his reality by asking for food and eating in front of them. This demonstrates that our responsibility is to share Jesus and his responsibility is to reveal himself and convince people of who he is. That is what he does.