Summary: Jesus’ presence brought assurance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Their heart-breaking condition was transformed into a heart-burning experience.
Luke 24:13-35 The Peace of His Presence
Jesus is alive and well. But this truth does not sink in well when we are depressed.
Here we read of 2 disciples - v. 17 their faces downcast... naturally, after see their Master tortured and died on the cross, and now they heard news that his body was missing.
- He may be walking with them, but they don’t feel Him
- He may be speaking to them, but they do not recognise His voice
- The Scriptures may have been plain, but they do not understand
- They have eyes, but "were kept from recognizing Him" (v.16) ...until they were opened in v.31
Do you have similar experience? Moments when you feel the world have crumbled down upon on, and He was no longer there?
Let us walk through this story, step by step. At the end of the journey, we want to be able to say with them, that "our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us..." (v.32)
Let’s put ourselves in their shoes as they set out on this 11 km walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
It starts off with a HEART-BREAKING EXPERIENCE
They were DOWNCAST. Have you ever noticed that some of the saddest words in our language begin with the letter D? Disappointment, doubt, depression, disillusionment, defeat, despair and death.
These words can be used to sum up the feelings of these 2 disciples.
The Master they had respected, loved and followed had been tortured and put to death - a cruel death on the cross. It was the most degrading capital punishment.
Their hopes were dashed; the dream was over! Now the band of Jesus’ followers was leader-less and was falling apart, with two of them already on their way home.
The reports that Christ’s tomb was empty did nothing to alter their thinking; it only confused them. Their entire world had come apart. The two despondent disciples summed up the situation very neatly (v.21) "we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel."
In order words, they’ve LOST their HOPE. They have erected a wall around them - and this wall is call hopelessness - and they are trapped within these walls - in misery.
Someone said, "Human hope is a fragile thing, and when it withers it’s difficult to revive. Hopelessness as a disease of the human spirit is desperately hard to cure. When you see someone you love and care for overtaken by illness, which goes on and on, despair sets in. It almost becomes impossible to hope for recovery, to be even afraid to hope because of not being able to cope with another letdown."
Cleopas said to the stranger (Jesus), "Do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" (v.18) All that has happened in Jerusalem caused this! This hopelessness, this despair, this sadness in our hearts - they are the result of all these that has happened.
Jesus looks at the same events and said (v.26), "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?" It is all part of God’s plan! Don’t you know that all these have to happen in such a way, so that Israel can be redeemed? In fact, it did not bring doom and gloom, but victory and hope for all mankind!
1. SEE THINGS THE WAY GOD SEES THEM
The journey starts of with BROKEN HEARTS... but it’s only the beginning.
As they were making their sad journey home, Jesus came alongside. It was going to be a life-changing walk for them! Somehow, the Bible says, they were unable to recognize Him.
But it doesn’t matter. It does not matter whether you ’feel’ that He is with you or not, the fact is HE IS! It does not matter also you can ’see’ Him or not, the fact is HE’S THERE.
Visual appearances of Jesus ceased at his Ascension. Jesus said to the doubting Thomas (John 20:29), "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
And because He walks with them, they experienced companionship and they were able to hear His voice. He opened the Scriptures to them and they were able to understand.
It’s amazing how the Lord comes alongside you when you need comfort and strength. He starts off by asking them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
He could well have ticked them off, to say the least, for their lack of faith in him, for their lack of understanding even after such a long time with him. But no, Jesus did not rebuke them, even at this point of time... but rather, took time to explain.