Summary: Theire eyes were opened at the end of their journey, are our eyes opened? The athority of the Bible is demonstrated in the unknown teacher.
Their Eyes Were Opened
Not long ago I was down in Cartersville at a covered dish supper and worship service. Right before meal time, I was talking with a group of people and this young lady walks up and says hello Tom.
I am a face person; I often have trouble with names. I can see a person and often remember where I now them from. But, it takes me a while to connect a name to a face. People come up to me all the time and I can’t remember their names. When this lady came up, I even had trouble recognizing her face.
I played along for a few minutes to see if she would give me a hint. It never came and I started feeling foolish and embarrassed.
Our scripture today describes an incident where a couple of people were walking home to the village of Emmaus. The Crucifixion was a few days ago. We don’t know if it was two men or a man and a son or perhaps a man and wife. We do know one was named Cleopas, a man’s name. It tells us they were discussing all that happened, when Jesus joins them. It adds that they were kept from recognizing Jesus.
Have you ever wondered why they were kept from recognizing him? Why would Jesus want to keep his identity from these believers? Perhaps we guess that it was to be a teaching experience. He wanted to teach the scriptures and not have them distracted by that amazing fact that he was alive.
I have a fear that Jesus or an angel or some other divine messenger will come to me and I will fail to recognize them. If I miss it, I hope that the identity was hidden from me and it is not just my lack of vision or closed minded nature that keeps me from noticing.
Jesus asked, what are you discussing? And they stop and look depressed and ask Jesus if he is just passing through and not heard all the news…
They tell him about Jesus of Nazareth, how great a prophet he was, and how the authorities had arranged his death. They also express that they had thought he was to be the one who redeemed Israel. Then they shared how the women found an empty tomb and others verified it.
Jesus calls them foolish because they don’t understand or expect the descriptions of the messiah to come true in their hearts. And then over the next few miles he explains from moss through the prophets and how they relate to Jesus the Christ.
Jesus reminds them about the scripture related to the prophecies of the messiah. If Jesus was recognized or revealed who he was he would have been explaining scriptures with his personal authority. He would have been speaking as the son of God, which would be pretty powerful.
However, he did not let them know who he was. When he reminds them of the scriptures…. He is allowing the scriptures to speak with their own authority. His identity does not influence the hearers; in fact it may even be negative influence since he seems to be a person that is out of touch with what has happened.
This scripture is an important illustration of the relevance and authority of scripture and how we should weight it’s use in our relationship with God. Scripture contains the information we all need to understand God and his purposes. If we have trouble reading and understanding the bible we need to continue to read and pray that the Holy Spirit will aid our understanding like Jesus did for the travelers that day.
Please hear me on this point. A feeling of inadequacy or lack of understanding is no excuse for not reading the Bible. If you have trouble get a Bible translated into a modern language with a commentary. This can help but, you still must allow the Holy Spirit to help you truly understand.
Let me just say that as a Christian, there is actually not valid excuse for not reading your Bible. The Bible is the primary way that God will speak to you as an individual. When you take the time to read the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom and understanding that will make you laugh and/or cry because you will know that you have been in the presence of the Divine.
Our scripture mentions the body language of the travelers that day. They were looking down when they talked to Jesus But, the situation tells us even more. The message the women brought to the group was to go to Galilee. But these people were headed to the village of Emmaus. Most likely home. That looks to me like they had given up. They did not expect Jesus, they were headed back to their old lives. They did not even stay in Jerusalem long enough to solve the mystery of the missing body. Perhaps the Jewish officials would produce it. The did not even stay to hear what the apostles would be doing. They were destroyed and gave up.