Summary: This sermond takes a look at the spiritual condition of the two disciples of Christ who were on the road to Emmaus when they encountered Christ.
Introduction: What a weekend it had been for the followers of Jesus. It seemed as if the bottom fell out of their lives. All of their hopes and dreams had seemed to vanish on Friday when Jesus had died on the cross. They were in a state of shock and fear. Everything had happened so fast. Early on Sunday morning (Easter to you and I) the women went to the tomb that held the body of Jesus. They had rushed back to the disciples with the news that they had seen angels who had told them that Jesus was risen. But the disciples at first just dismissed it as hysteria. Peter and John, ran to the tomb and discovered that it was indeed empty. Jesus’ band of followers were leaderless and falling apart, with at least two of them already on their way home. The very afternoon of the report of the empty tomb, two of the discouraged and frustrated believers, Cleopas (kle’-op-as) and an unidentified companion, set out for their home in Emmaus. I can’t say for sure but I think these two were utterly defeated and were throwing in the towel and going home.
On the way they met a stranger. It was actually the risen Jesus, but they did not recognize Him. Part of the delight of this story is that we as the readers know what the characters do not. The encounter between Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is one of the most vivid of the resurrection appearances. The account is found only in our text in Luke.
I want to warn you about three things that discouragement can do to you.
1. First, Discouragement can cause you to walk away from the fellowship of Believers. (vv. 14-16)
As they journeyed they were moving away from the fellowship of the other believer’s in Jerusalem. When Christians allow themselves to become preoccupied with their dashed hopes and frustrated plans they often withdraw from the strength found in other believer’s.
“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.” Luke 24:13-16
For some reason the eyes of these disciples were restrained from recognizing who Jesus was. Perhaps it was their preoccupation on their own disappointment and problems. But I think that it was the Lord’s way of making them verbalize their feelings so He could lead them to solve their problems by seeing the truth for themselves.
They had forgotten the truth found in Isaiah 43:2-3 which says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And when you you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you; when you walk through the fire you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel…”
Discouragement and Frustration can cause Us to walk away from the fellowship of Believers and …
2. Secondly, Discouragement and Frustration Can Cause Us To Live In the Past
“He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one living in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened there in these days?”
As Jesus joins the two disciples as the walk along they are deep in a discussion with each other. The discussion seem to be intense, for three different words are used to describe it “conversed” (homiloun) (v. 14), “reasoned” (suzetein) (v 15) which suggests strong debate and “conversation” (antiballete) (v. 17) which has the idea of throwing words back and forth like a ball. In their bewilderment they were tossing ideas back and forth about what they had learned, heard and understood – and what it all meant in the light of the latest development, Jesus’ death.
Jesus asks them what they are discussing and why they are so obviously sad. In asking this question Jesus allowed these disciples to express their deepest hurts, angers and frustrations. Why did Jesus draw near to two obscure disciples? We can take heart today in the fact that Jesus often made His most remarkable revelations to the least remarkable people. Here we see two people who are never heard of before and never seen again after this. Which just points out there are no unimportant people to Jesus.
As Jesus joins these two disciples He knew their hearts and knew their needs. But he still asked them a leading question, and gave them opportunity to pour out their confusion and disappointment. He has not changed. He will still draw near to us and listen as we tell him what troubles us.