Summary: This is an Easter message using the Text from Luke 24 about Jesus’ encounter with the two disciples "On the Road to Emmaus."
On the Road to Emmaus
I relate well to the story of “The Walk to Emmaus.” On Saturday, May 9, 1992, I ran the 12 K or 7.46 mile Arts Fest Run from Henderson, Kentucky, to downtown Evansville, Indiana, in a time of 56:56.38. That’s a pace of 7:37.96 per mile and was my personal best for that distance. This is the approximate mileage between Jerusalem and the village of Emmaus. If the disciples walked at a pace of 20:00 per mile, it would take them 2:29:12 just to make the trip in one direction.
Long before I became involved in the Walk to Emmaus Movement the Story of the Emmaus Road has always been my favorite story of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is a powerful testimony to His victory over sin and death.
We can not be certain as to the true identity of these two disciples. One is called Cleopas, but that is all we know of him. Although the other one is unnamed, one tradition calls him by the name of Simon and claims both were among the seventy sent out by Jesus in Luke 10, but this person may have been Cleopas’ wife, for they invited Him, “‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’” It would be logical for a married couple to extend such an invitation to be an overnight guest in their home.
Jesus says to them in verse 20, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken.” This word foolish means lack of understanding. These two persons honestly did not understand what the Old Testament Scriptures foretold about the life, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
I could do as Jesus and “begin with Moses and all the Prophets to explain what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself,” but we do not have time. Suffice it to say that these disciples simply did not comprehend the teaching of Scripture.
They desired a political Messiah who would liberate Judah from the tyranny of Roman oppression. They could not conceive that the Messiah “had to suffer these things and then enter His glory.” They had the wrong perspective about the ministry of Jesus. The picture they had of their Promised Messiah came from a distorted worldview, not from a spiritual frame of reference.
They were foolish because they did not see that Jesus had come “to seek and to save those who were lost,” not to fulfill their desire to “restore the kingdom to Israel.” Their priorities were misplaced. They longed for political clout more than they “hungered and thirsted after righteousness.” When it came to spiritual matters, they were still blind; their spiritual eyes needed to be open, and that’s what Jesus did for them by “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, explaining to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”
Jesus is our Best Teacher in explaining the Scriptures and writing God’s Word on our hearts. Notice the powerful effect He had on Cleopas and his companion in verse 32: “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” You never need a Biblical commentary when Jesus opens the Scriptures to you.
My commentaries are the most unused books in my entire library; I very seldom consult them, but just like these two disciples “On the Road to Emmaus,” every time I prepare a sermon and begin to “search the scriptures” Jesus is my Divine Teacher. Maybe I’m in a passage that I’ve heard and read hundreds of times, but in prayer, meditation, and studying of the Word, Jesus makes it come alive and relevant to my life in some new, practical, and exciting way.
Just like John Wesley’s Aldersgate Conversion and the Emmaus Road Experience of these two disciples, “My heart is strangely warmed” and “burns within me.” Goose bumps travel up and down my spine, and I can hardly contain myself. I seldom feel closer to Jesus than I do on such occasions. There is no greater joy or spiritual high; Jesus is so close I can almost “reach out and touch” His nail scared hands and feet and place my hand through His pierced side; my heart overflows in praise and worship to Him.
There is no greater excitement than for Jesus to bring the Bible alive to you through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. That’s what He promises to do for each of us in John 16:13,-14, “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”