Summary: 2009 Easter Sermon
I. The Meeting 13-16
1. The Setting (13-14)
Two of Jesus’ disciples were walking toward a small village called Emmaus. They had witnessed everything that had happened to Jesus and were now going back home, discouraged. Verse 13 tells us that this is happening “that same day”, meaning the same day the women went to the tomb and found Jesus missing (24:1-12). They are referred to as “two of them” – this means that they were two of Jesus’ disciples. They were probably present when Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem – they may have even acclaimed His arrival and waved palm branches! They were there in Jerusalem! They were excited that the Savior had come! But now He was dead. And this they could not understand.
So, they were walking along, talking about what happened, trying to understand. Vs. 14 tells us that they “discussed” and “reasoned” together. It had been an unusual few days and they were reviewing what they had witnessed, and what they had been told. The idea from the description here is that this was an intense discussion. The same phrase is used in Luke 2:15, where the shepherds discussed what the angel had proclaimed to them. It is important to understand this as an emotional, conversation.
2. The Appearance (15-16)
As they are traveling toward Emmaus and talking, another traveler catches up with them, walks with them, and listens to their conversation. Luke makes it very clear who this is. In Vs. 15 it says “Jesus Himself”. There is no debate, no doubt that it was Jesus the Risen Messiah who was walking with them, in His Resurrection Body. He also makes it very clear that the two disciples do not realize that it is the Resurrected Jesus who they are talking to. Vs. 16 tells us that “their eyes were restrained”. In the original language, this is in the passive voice, which means that what happens is beyond their control, i.e. it was happening to them. So God hid Jesus’ true identity from them. The veil will be lifted in vs. 31, but in their present uncertainty, God still had things to teach them. (Garden of Eden)
II. The Conversation 17- 27
In verse 17 Jesus speaks up for the first time. He asks them what they are talking about and why they are sad. Their response is one of complete shock – they cannot believe that anyone coming out of Jerusalem would not know what has happened. From their response, it is clear that they are stunned and disappointed by recent events. They had supported Jesus, believed that He was the Messiah, now they ached with grief and confusion, which was evident in their response – “are you the only person who does not know about these events?” (John, sarcacasm)
1. The Question (19)
Graciously seeking to enlighten them, our Lord would not be put off. His second question “what things?” got them to express their confusion and frustration. Notice that in verse 19, they both spoke, because it says, “they said” – and from their response, they were definitely confused about what had happened. (Read 19b - 24).
The last thing that they mentioned was that some of their fellow disciples went to the tomb, but were unable to see Jesus. In many ways, they are like modern people in their skepticism. Only the presence of the risen Jesus would convince them of what had happened. The irony of this story is that there are in the midst of what they desired and what the others had not experienced. But they were so depressed and negative in their confusion that it was beyond their capacity to make the obvious connection.
If you have ever been depressed or tried to help someone who is depressed, you know that such people are amazingly resourceful in finding reasons not to take comfort in anything you say to them. They are determined to take everything as bad news. To them, the empty tomb compounded the tragedy, because they thought that someone had stolen the body, adding insult to injury. Ironically, Cleopas mentioned that it had been three days since Jesus’ death, not recalling that Jesus had said over and over that He would be put to death and rise again on the third day (Lk 9:22, Mk 9:31, Jn 2:19). See, these men were disappointed because Jesus didn’t do what they wanted Him to do! He didn’t meet their expectations!
2. The Response (25-27)
Jesus responds with rebuke, and expresses great disappointment. Just as the women at the tomb were rebuked by the angel (24:5-7), these men are rebuked by Jesus. He tells them that their failure is one of foolishness and slow heartedness. The point is, they had been told over and over that Jesus would be killed and would rise again on the third day, so they should have understood! He had expectations from these men and He has expectations of us as well!