Summary: As the two men walked along the road to Emmaus they met with the risen Jesus. Scripture tells us that they were "kept from recognizing Him." Why were they blinded to the reality of who He really was? How did they respond when they finally saw Him for w
Recognizing Jesus - Luke 24:25-35 - April 7, 2013
Series: Testimony and Membership
In the 4th chapter of the book of Hebrews we read this: “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NRSV) God’s word speaks to those who will listen. I’m often amazed to discover, as I read the Bible, just how true that verse is. You can read a passage of Scripture year after year, and God, in His goodness, faithfully helps you to see things with new eyes, and a fresh perspective, as He reveals His truth to you again and again. You’ve had that experience yourself, right? Reading a passage of Scripture that you’re well familiar with, only to see something there this time, that you’d never quite seen, nor understood, so well before.
As we’ve gone through the last couple of weeks looking at Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and then the wonder and power of the Resurrection, a common theme has emerged through the Scriptures we have looked at – a theme that I didn’t necessarily see so clearly before. Palm Sunday, as Jesus moved to enter Jerusalem to the cheering of the crowds, He stopped and wept over the city that lay before Him. He wept and sorrowed for the people, why? - because they did not recognize the time of God’s coming to them. On Good Friday, as He hung upon the cross with a criminal on His right and one on His left, though He was nailed there between them, one of them still did not recognize the time of God’s coming. At the empty tomb, Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus for who He is – at least not at first. Nor do the disciples understand what is going on either - they don’t recognize the hand of God at work in the empty tomb.
And then in the verses that _________________ read for us a few moments ago we see the same thing. Two men, who had followed Jesus in life, who had looked to Him as the Messiah, shattered and broken at His death, and in their brokenness not recognizing the time of God’s coming to them. There is a common theme. This time though something more is going on. We’re told that “they were kept from recognizing Him.” The hand of God is at working blinding these two men to His presence, and we need to wrestle with why that is, because each and every one of us here this morning knows people who appear to be blinded to the presence of God. They do not seem to have recognized the time of God’s coming to them – those around them can see it clearly – we scratch our heads and we wonder why, if we can see God at work in their lives, and in the world around us, how then can they be so blinded to it? And our hearts break because many times these are loved ones, family members, spouses, friends, children who we love with all our hearts, and we long for them to walk with Jesus, to know His presence, and yet they seem blinded to the truth that may be so very clear to us.
Let’s see if we can figure out why that might be. Open your Bibles with me once again to the Gospel of Luke. Luke, chapter 24, and we’ll begin reading in verse 25. This picks up the story of these two men on the Emmaus road right where we left off a few minutes ago. Jesus has listened to their words, He has heard the brokenness that comes from shattered dreams, and we expect that maybe He will comfort them, console them, in their grief. And He does, but not quite the way any of us might expect Him too. Instead of saying, “Oh, I’m sorry for your loss. It’s going to get better. You’re going to be alright.” He says, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25–26, NRSV) And then we’re told that “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.” (Luke 24:27, NRSV)
What’s He doing? He’s going back to God’s word. And they didn’t have the benefit of the New Testament like we do. They would have been working from what we call the “Old Testament” but which would have been to them, the complete package of God’s word. And maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, Jesus isn’t in the Old Testament. What’s this guy talking about?” The truth is that Jesus is all over the Old Testament. All of Scripture points us towards Jesus! That’s why God gave His word – that in reading it, and understanding it, and believing it, that we might recognize the time of His coming to us!