Summary: When disciples lose their focus they lose their direction. Jesus has answers for that.
“And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. 22 “But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. 24 “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” 25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. 28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. 29 But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.”
Although it seems in my own experience that the account of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is primarily used when preaching during the Easter season, I am sure that through the years it has been a favorite passage for many preachers, as well as lay students of the scriptures.
This story has all the heart-pounding excitement of a good novel, when the hero who is thought dead suddenly appears to his friends after battle and they realize he has triumphed over a powerful enemy and they are safe once more.
I personally can’t help getting a little misty-eyed each time I read through it, when I get to the line, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
I can identify with that sentiment, as I have often felt that burning inside as I study the Bible and the Holy Spirit enlightens me to truth.
Both my own experience and the words of this disciple cause me to think of Jeremiah who said, “But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name’, then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.”
My wish is that everyone who names the name of Christ would come to a place in their relationship with Him and their love of His Word, that they would have that fire in them, blazing up as they study and threatening to consume them if they do not pour it out to others.
I have preached on this subject myself. But today I want to turn the prism just a little, and see this story in a slightly different light.