Summary: A message about the hearts aflame in the disappointed disciples on the road to Emmaus, when they walk and talk unawares with the Messiah!
Hearts On Fire
Have you ever had a time in your life when you were so sure, so confident of something coming to fruition only to have it vanish before your eyes? We're not talking about the simple stuff, like missing a sale at Walmart or getting a burger at Burger King that's not "made your way". No, this would be major things:
After years of remission a reappearance of cancer that is even more virulent;
A spouse that files for divorce a few years after reconciliation;
That promised job promotion you needed to avert bankruptcy goes to someone else far less qualified but better connected
The house that you purchased three years ago loses half its value and now you cannot move to your dream house because your mortgage is "upside down"
The sudden death of a close friend that you just found after years of separation
If you have not faced such disappointment, one day you will. It may be a different "flavor" of disappointment, but it will be just as bitter or perhaps even worse than the examples above.
This week, we examine my favorite story of Resurrection Sunday, the Encounter on the Road to Emmaus. It is story of having the proverbial rug pulled out from under one's feet, but then having the Savior helping one not just off the floor but helping one to fly.
Trying To Make Sense Of It All
Sometimes, when things go south, we just wonder how it all happened. We try to make sense of things, often in vain; sometimes there are just no answers at least in this lifetime. However, sometimes the answers are right in front of our face but like a child with a "connect the dots" picture we just don't "connect the dots". Such is the case of these two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
These two disciples, not part of "the Twelve" but part of the group that followed along with Jesus. Cleopas was one of these men, whom Lightfoot stated was also known as Alphaeus, identified as the father of the Apostle James (Matthew 10:3). They left Jerusalem for Emmaus, perhaps their from their home.
These were two men that epitomized the feeling among many, including the Twelve and also the women (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James, and other women, Luke 24:10). They with Jesus during the days of his ministry, some for the whole three years. They had eaten a common meal with Him, celebrated Jewish holidays, seen the miracles of healing and feeding thousands and many other wonderful events. But most important, they had heard Jesus teach, and with all of the things that He had told Him, they missed the meaning behind His death upon the cross. They felt that Jesus was lost and lost forever to them.
While they were walking, they were trying to reason out what had happened. How could this have happened? In fact, their conversation was more than lively; the late Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest stated that theirs was "heated, animated conversation". In other words, not only were they disappointed beyond belief they were frustrated. All that they had known to be true, all that they had come to believe in all evaporated on that Roman Cross. "Was Jesus a failure or a success? Why did He have to die? Was there a future for the nation?" (Wiersbe)
As they were walking along, Jesus started walking with them, coming along side. Supernaturally, they were not able to recognize their beloved Teacher and Savior. He asked "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Their answer reminds me of what my father in law says when I show up late, all said in one word: "Whereubin?" (Where you been). The construction in the common Greek refers to that of a pilgrim from out of town that was alone and isolated, and basically clueless to what had happened. Another commonly known saying applies: "Have you been under a rock?"
When asked by Jesus what things had been going on, they gave a detailed explanation. Although they had been with Jesus for a good length of time, they misunderstood His message. Let's see how.
They identified Him as a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: Although Jesus was indeed a prophet, He was much, much more. Prophets taught, they predicted, they led. Jesus did all of this, but Jesus identified Himself as "The way (to heaven), the truth (the Word in flesh) and the life (life eternal)" (John 14:6), "I AM" (seven times in John, referring to Himself as God--see Exodus 3) Son of man (the Son of God in the flesh, making Himself God--Matthew 9:2, 6, 10:23, etc). Simon Peter, when Jesus asked him who he thought He was, answered "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16). The very name Jesus means Jehovah salvation (Fausset) or Yehovah is salvation (ISBE), and is a transliteration of the name Joshua, or Yehoshua; Christ means is not Jesus' last name but instead is His title means anointed one.