Summary: Like the disciples at Emmaus, our hearts burn within us as we experience Jesus’ healing presence.
THE BROKENNESS THAT HEALS
Luke 24:13-35 (NIV)
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
19 "What things?" he asked.
"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."
25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 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?"
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
If you have a moment some time, check out the Calvin window on the south side of the sanctuary. If you look near the bottom, we will see an engraving of Calvin’s crest: a flaming heart in an outstretched hand, extended upward to God. Calvin chose this symbol to declare the central core of his self-understanding, and, when he set it down on paper, he prayed this prayer: “My heart I give Thee, O Lord, eagerly and sincerely.”
It is this image that comes to mind when I think about those two disciples on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The name of one of them was Cleopas. For some reason, Luke does not tell us the name of the other. But it does not matter.
Both of them of them were in an enviable position. It was a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and walking was the only transportation they had available. The journey would take -- what? -- three, three-and-a-half hours. That would be walking slowly, of course, and the two men probably wouldn’t have walked at a very brisk pace in any case. But they were joined on their journey by a stranger, and their attention was focused more on talking than on walking.
The stranger, of course, was Jesus. We know that because Luke tells us as much, but Cleopas and his companion did not know that it was Jesus. Verse 16 says that “they were kept from recognizing him.” They thought he was a “newbie,” perhaps, or, at best, someone who didn’t keep up very well with the news. “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem,” they asked him, “and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
As they walked, they would certainly have the opportunity to talk about all the things that had happened, and many other things as well. In fact, Luke tells us that, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets,” Jesus “explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Imagine that! Three or more hours with Jesus himself explaining the meaning of the Scriptures!