Summary: “They urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So He went in to stay with them.” (Luke 24:29)
Theme: Lord stay with us
All that is happening in the world today is pointing to the end of this present age when Jesus Christ will return. Our generation has received so many revelations about Christ that it is almost impossible not to recognise Him as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Yet our behaviour is similar to that of His disciples on the Road to Emmaus. The two disciples, one named Cleopas, had heard about the resurrection of Christ but did not believe the good news. Instead they were filled with fear and wanted nothing more than return to their old way of life. The second disciples name is not given since it could be the name of anyone of His disciples. It could be my name and it could be your name. As His disciples many of us today are facing problems that fill us with fear, diverting our focus from Christ and driving us back to our old ways. However, Jesus knows what we are going through and will not give up on us. This is the time for us to realise that the day is far spent and that night is coming and that Christ wants us to know the truth before it is too late. Today is the time to listen carefully to His Words so that we can also say “Lord stay with us”.
The fear of the Lord means to relate to God with reverence. Fear also means to be afraid. Fear focuses on self and leads to despair and hopelessness. How can we recognise Christ when our focus is on ourselves and our abilities? A misplaced focus on self leads to loss of fellowship with other believers who are still focused on Christ. Once separated from fellow believers we lose our source of encouragement. Can you expect an unbeliever to encourage you in the ways of the Lord? A misplaced focus leads to reliance on the flesh rather than on the Spirit. The flesh is a mindset that believes and acts on what is contrary to the Word of God.
The two disciples returning to Emmaus missed the significance of Jesus’ resurrection because their focus was misdirected. Their focus was on their disappointments and problems – on themselves instead of Christ. In fact their situation was summed up in the words “we had hoped”. They had their own expectations and did not really understand the teachings and expectations of Christ. In fact they even failed to recognise Christ in spite of His physical closeness to them, walking right beside them. When we also focus on our own expectations, difficulties and problems we often fail to see Jesus next to us. Just like those two disciples who ended up walking away in the wrong direction - away from the fellowship of believers in Jerusalem – so we also end up walking in the wrong direction. Our disappointments and shattered hopes have a way of blinding us and keeping us from understanding the Scriptures. Rather we begin to doubt the Scriptures. All of us have gone through times of disappointments and problems and some of us may be going through them at this time. There have been times when we have prayed and prayed and received no help. There have been times when we have prayed and the problems have only worsened, when we have prayed for healing and gotten worse, when we have prayed for financial solutions and got deeper into debt. There have been times when we have lost all hope. This however does not mean that God has left us. It is rather an indication that we have lost our focus, our vision, our understanding, our faith, and our hope. In such situations we should believe God. We should believe that He will never leave or forsake us and that understanding and acting on His Words will lead us to the solution of the problems. God will never abandon His children but He will not go where He is not welcomed. If we want to keep pushing God out of our life, if we continue to ignore and disobey His Word, if we continue to live without Him, then what gives us the right to expect him to “be there” for us? But thank God that He is always present where He is welcome. No matter what we are going through, the good news is that Christ will meet our needs just as He met the needs of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Instead of being preoccupied with our problems we should look up to Christ to experience His power and help.
Fear is the result of focusing on self whereas faith is the result of focusing on Jesus Christ and believing that He is lord. We can only focus on the Lord when we know for certain that God has made our crucified Jesus both Lord and Christ. Faith believes and obeys the Lord. A believer is to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. The evidence of our forgiveness is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The life of faith is God’s promise to every believer “For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself”. (Act 2:39)