FELLOWSHIP WITH THE RISEN CHRIST
This is one of the most beloved accounts of the resurrection story. It is an account of an experience of two disciples on the way to Emmaus. This event takes place hours after the resurrection. Who these disciples are, we don’t know definitely. The names are given, but to who they are, are hard to say because it is impossible to identify these names with the actual person. Cleopas is identified here. We do know the person who bore this name. He is the husband of sister of Virgin Mary. However, we don’t know if he is that Cleopas.
The name of the other, Simon, is sometimes lead to identify with Simon Peter. But this could hardly be the case. Because we are told that in the end of the incident, that when they return to Jerusalem the eleven gathered together in the upper room. Simon Peter certainly was one of the eleven. These disciples have gathered already there when these two disciples join them.
So, who are they we do not know.
This account tells us about the initial respond of the disciples to the death of Christ. These two disciples (maybe also the eleven disciples) had lost hope and fallen into pit of sadness and despair. As they walked and talked, a "stranger" approached them and asked about what they were discussing.
They continued by telling of the empty tomb and reports from some of the women disciples that He was alive (Luke 24:13-35). At the end of our text, the disciples’ fear has turned to boldness; their confusion to conviction; their troubled spirits to joy; their wallowing in self-pity and disappointment to worship.
Let us then now explore the text and see what truth and lessons we can learn from these disciples who after Christ death lost hope and fallen into sadness, but eventually transformed to an invincible force that turned the word up-side down.
Revealing Himself Through The Word (24:13-27)
A. Discouraged Disciples. The scene was that of a lonely walk by two disciples. Things were not going well for these two, at least they thought not. Their hopes, big hopes, had been dashed in pieces. What had been such a bright, promising prospect now lay in ashes as a ruined dream.
The two disciples left the band of apostles and the other disciples soon after Peter and John returned from the tomb, for the two disciples knew nothing of the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene and the other women. It was “that same day” that the women discovered the empty tomb and reported it to the disciples. The news had been received with skepticism, as utter nonsense. These two disciples had either been present or else had heard the news from some other source.
As they made their way to Emmaus they were sad, gripped by a spirit of despair over the Lord’s crucifixion (24:18-21).Their hope that Jesus is a promise Messiah had been devastated, dashed against the rocks of death. They saw the Lord crucified. It is interesting isn’t it how their lost of joy and gladness is tied in their hope that He was the one who will redeem Israel. It must have been difficult to try to piece together the events of the last three days in some way so as to make sense of them.
Maybe they had these questions in mind: Why had the One who walked on water and calmed the sea not delivered Himself from death? His enemies had treated Him so badly, and had taunted Him to "come down from the cross." Why had He been so yielding? Why did He refuse to defend Himself at the trial against the lies? Why had He not appealed to Pilate when given every opportunity to do so? It almost seemed as if Pilate had wanted Him too, but He wouldn’t.
Now while they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked with them and joined in their conversation. Noticed verses 15-18: they did not recognize Jesus. His resurrected body differed enough that He was not recognized. Now Jesus wanted them to more freely discuss the events with Him.
• Question No.1: What are you talking about; what is it that is causing you to be sad? (vv.17)
• Question No.2: What things? What circumstances could possibly cause such sadness and despair? (vv. 19-24)
• Question no.3: “Did not the prophets predict Messiah’s death and resurrection?” (vv.25-27)
Cleopas was surprised that the stranger did not know what have been taking place. He answered Christ with rebuff, “Are you a stranger here”?
It is very interesting to take a note that Jerusalem’s population was swelled with pilgrims or “strangers” who made the journey to celebrate the Passover each year. Josephus, the Jewish historian, has written that during the Passover the population of the city frequently rose to more than three million people. Hence the explanation of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, by which they held Jesus to be a “stranger,” was a very natural one.
Now the LORD patiently wanted them to continue discussing the events with him. The LORD here not just want to converse with them but to fellowship with them. He want them to share with Him the things that causes them to despair or sad.
In verses 19-24 we will read the answer of Cleopas. They were despair because of Jesus death. They are hoping He is the one who will redeem Israel. However, He was crucified. They were also disappointed because the body of Christ cannot be found. They were been perplexed by the reports they received from certain women.
The two disciples lost certain things. They lost their joy and gladness. They are hoping for the Savior, but the Savior is gone. The disciples’ initial response to the death of Christ was total devastation. Their response to the reports and evidence pointing to His resurrection was disbelief—hard core, persistent unbelief.
That’s a common thing in Christian life. There are times that we feel been forsaken by God and neglected. However, we forgot that no one should take us out into His Hand. The Sovereign God never forsakes and never neglect.
But these two disciples walking along the road to Emmaus lost their gladness. Their lost of joy and gladness came primarily because they look at circumstances, but fail to look with eye of FAITH and through the spectacle of the Scripture.
B. Listening Disciples. So then Jesus Christ rebuked the two disciples for being dull and slow to believe (vv.25-27) “How foolish you are”, Christ called them. Slow to believe all the prophets, beginning from Moses, had spoken about His death and His glory.
Jesus then explained the Scripture to the two disciples, taught them and showing them the things concerning the Messiah. Note the words “all scripture.” Jesus Christ opened to them all the things written concerning Him, book by book, beginning from Moses then in all the prophets, showing them how God’s purpose was fulfilled in the death of the Messiah.
Though these two disciples lost their joy and gladness, they have not lost their desire to see those scripture fulfilled and stand in the presence of Messiah and to know again the Fellowship with the Lord. The disciples begin to listen. It is very evident in the conversation and how they eagerly listen as they opened the Scripture (vv.26-27), and how they deeply concerned about of what He would have to say. That’s indicate there still HOPE for them.
No wonder we are told to “search the Scripture daily for they have testified of me.” And when discouragement would come and when doubt rise, the only place to take these doubt is to the WORD of God. All doubts vanish when the book is open and the entrance of His word gave light that dispel darkness.
Can you understand that? Scripture is saying how these things are foretold. He proved the necessity and took them to the Scripture to give them the evidence.
Revealing Himself Through Communion (24:28:45)
A. Opened Eyes. The next scene was experiencing the burning truth- Jesus is risen and alive forevermore. The two disciples sought to hear more.
According James M. Freeman it is a part of Eastern etiquette to invite strangers to partake of food. They hold to this custom as a token of their great benevolence whether anyone is present to accept it or not.
They invited Jesus to abide with them. The two wants to seek the truth, so they wanted Jesus to enter their home and to share and have some fellowship with Him. But remember the disciples did not know it was Jesus whom they invited. They didn’t recognize Him yet. He was called as “stranger” or “visitor” (v.18)
Jesus did enter, and He sat down with them.
“his conversation was so engaging, and his discourses were so heavenly and instructive, so sweet and delightful, so powerful and moving, that they could not bear to part with him, but were exceeding desirous of his continuance with them, even though he was a stranger to them. And as they had in view their own pleasure and profit, so they urge the necessity and advantage of his stay, with respect to himself” (John Gill)
“He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” (v.30) then suddenly they recognized Him. God opened the eyes of the two disciples. They immediately knew the Lord. The two disciples had experienced a burning conviction within their hearts. It takes the illumination of the Holy Spirit to help men see the truth in God’s word.
Now there’s no ore lack of faith. There’s no lack of hope. There’s no lack of gladness. One glimpse, one click vision that follow the word of truth, one MOMENT of personal experience; of fellowshipping, the feet that walk slowly towards Emmaus, run back to Jerusalem to declare that He is indeed risen.
B. Opened Understanding. Wonder was beginning to overcome sadness and despair, and hope was beginning to stir great anticipation. Than all of a sudden out of nowhere, “Jesus Himself stood” in the very midst of them. They were startled, terrified, frightened, and troubled (v.37) they thought they saw a ghost. They though Jesus to be only a ghost, a spirit, and they were frightened of ghosts.
The disciples believed in ghosts, and, at the moment, they believed Jesus was a ghost. This is, to some degree, understandable. John’s gospel informs us that the room in which the disciples were gathered had a “locked door” (John 20:19). Jesus’ appearance was, therefore, not a normal one. How could Jesus have entered the room in a normal body? The ghost explanation made sense to them. It was their first (and seemingly unanimous) conclusion.
Jesus showed to them His hands and feet. The inference is clear that both His hands and His feet bore the nail prints which He had from the cross. The disciples still can’t believe what they saw (v.42a)
Then finally He explained to them everything that was written in the prophesies. The veil was removed from their eyes. Until the Lord takes the opaque casing off of our minds, we can scarcely perceive the significance of the ascension at all. That’s why the apostle Paul teaches that, unless Christ takes it away, a veil lies over our minds, concealing the splendor of his work (2 Corinthians 3:14).
The Lord opened their understanding. He explained to them that all His suffering, death and resurrection were necessary to the fulfillment of the scripture (v.44) Nothing ever takes God by surprise. Many things which are yet to happen have already been predicted.
Revealing Himself Through Believers (24:46-53)
A. A New Message. Jesus indicated that not only were the suffering and resurrection a fulfillment of prophesies, but that PREACHING of repentance should also be fulfilled of that which God had predicted. Proclamation of repentance and forgiveness is to be preach not only the Jews but to the Gentiles also. Here was a truth just as difficult to grasp as the first. How the Jews resisted this aspect of Christ’s Messiahship, as He clearly indicated it must be at the very outset of His ministry (Luke 4:24-27).
The preaching of the Word results in repentance on many occasion (Acts 2:37-38). Other way by which God leads men to repentance are through His longsuffering (Gen. 6:3; 2Pet.3:9), His goodness (Rom. 2:4), and in some cases chastening (1Kings 8:47)
Repentance is recognized as being necessary for the forgiveness and remission of sin (Acts 3:19; 8:22)
B. A New Power. In order for the gospel to be proclaimed to men of every nation, beginning at Jerusalem, the disciples must be endued with power, the promised power of the Holy Spirit. As the disciples went forth witnessing, they were to be given the wonderful promise of Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit was a “clothing with power from on high,” as Jesus said (verse 49).
The believer was to be equipped for witnessing. He was to receive the promise of the Father.
“When He comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8)
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to hi power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20)
C. A New Joy. They were filled with joy because their Lord was now exalted and privileged to take His rightful place: sitting at the right hand of God and being worship eternally.
They were filled with joy because they have knew that His presence would always be with them. Nothing would ever again be able to separate their Lord from them
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will separate us from the loved of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35,38-39)
There are times we feel we’ve been neglected and forsaken by God. Sometimes, when problems mount, it is difficult not to let our confidence in God and His care become past tense instead of present tense. However, we forgot that no one should pluck us out into His hand.
The cross of Jesus served a divine purpose, and though these two disciples could not yet see it, they soon would. But God already knew the blessings which would come from such an ugly deed.
Sometimes, our plans undergo similar upheavals. Is it possible for any good to come from the darkness of personal tragedy? Of course, the answer is yes. We do not see the final outcome, but it is always good for those who have faith which endures to the end, no matter what. For this reason, we are encouraged to remain "in Christ" where we can never be separated from "the love of God" by tribulation, distress, persecution, famine or sword (Romans 8:35-39). We will never "throw away our confidence" but will endure so that when we "have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." (Hebrews 10:35-39). Jesus has promised, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10).
Scripture is saying how these things are foretold. He proved the necessity and took them (the disciples) to the Scripture to give them the evidence. To recognize the fact that certain things in God’s plan must be, which we ourselves prefer to avoid and then go to the Scripture and see how things foretold there, are necessary and sometimes in difficulty and sorrow we faced God’s word being fulfilled, even if we suffer, that should be a source of REJOICING to us. God has said it and He is the God who is our Father and He also fulfilled His promise, even in the midst of suffering. God will certainly fulfilled in His church all the promise of blessing which He had abundantly and freely given through He is, through those He move by the Holy Spirit.
Prophet speak of Him and men never recognized Him. But when they come to Him even in the breaking of the bread and the gift of the meal, we feel His presence, we know His POWER, He is eternal Savior and the Living Word.
“..It is pathetic that our eyes are so often dimmed by unbelief that we fail to realize His presence. We walk and are sad while we might be rejoicing in His companionship. It may be as the Scriptures are opened to us, or as we meet to break bread in His name, that our blindness will be removed; and surely when the journey ends and we enter the home toward which we are moving, we shall see Him face to face, and the vision will not fade in deepening twilight, but grow more glorious through the eternal day.”- Charles R. Erdman.
Jesus Christ has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.
Paul says in Ephesians 1:20-23:
God raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church.
May we always experience the joy of FELLOWSHIP with Him.
Let us pray.