Summary: Fantastic! Outstanding! Incredible! Thanks to blockbuster movies, thrill rides, and Madison Avenue ad campaigns, we have come to expect that if life isn’t “sensational,” something must be wrong.
Encountering Jesus along Life’s Road
Sermon Series: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All
From the Bible-Teaching Ministry of Charles R. Swindoll
Fantastic! Outstanding! Incredible! Thanks to blockbuster movies, thrill rides, and Madison Avenue ad campaigns, we have come to expect that if life isn’t “sensational,” something must be wrong. If we are not careful, we can apply those expectations to our spiritual journey and fail to see the hand of God in the ordinary events of life. Even more tragic, we might fail to recognize His loving care for us in the midst of trials.
Let’s face it, life typically isn’t fantastic. Usually, life is ordinary and sometimes painful. But that is when we do the most learning and growing. That is when we have the greatest opportunity to encounter the risen Jesus . . . if we have eyes to see.
1. Understand the Setting (Luke 24:13–16)
Prior to His arrest, Jesus traveled up and down the strip of land once ruled by David and Solomon, inviting the people of Israel to become a part of His kingdom, promising abundant life. His followers fully expected that He would become their king and that Israel would again be prosperous and free. He was their Messiah. But on one fateful Friday afternoon, as the sun fell behind the horizon, the Son of God hung cold and lifeless on a Roman cross just outside the city walls.
As the sun rose on Sunday morning and the Passover feast came to an end, two of Jesus’s followers, disillusioned and resolving to leave their foolish dreams in Jerusalem, left for home. The dejected pair began the seven-mile walk to Emmaus even as rumors of resurrection circulated among the ranks of Jesus’s disciples (Luke 24:13).
Luke describes the disciples’ conversation as bantering ideas back and forth with great emotion in a shared search for answers (Luke 24:14–16). The Greek phrase homileo suzeteo, “talking and discussing” (24:15), would be more literally translated as “conversing” and “disputing.” The disillusioned followers desperately wanted to know why their expectations of the Messiah had come to such a tragic end.
2. A Revealing Question (Luke 24:17–29)
Luke employed a clever narrative device called literary irony, in which the reader is aware of important facts that are hidden from the characters.
And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” (Luke 24:14–17)
Jesus asked a question designed to engage the men in conversation, but Cleopas’ reply reveals a delightful paradox for the reader: “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” (Luke 24:18). Of course, if anyone understood what had happened, it was Jesus! They did not believe Jesus had risen from the dead, so they were left with three faulty perspectives.