Summary: The account of Jesus' encounter with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus demonstrates how we can walk with the risen Christ in our day to day lives.
I read about a pastor who was given the honor of preaching at an important meeting of his denomination. Just before he was to start his sermon he was seen to be looking anxiously around the audience. The chairman whispered to him, "What’s the problem? Is there someone here who’s heard the sermon before?" "No," replied the pastor, "I was looking to see if there’s anybody who hasn’t heard it before!"
I feel kind of like that every Easter. It’s not that you’re going to hear a message from me that I’ve preached in the past, but every Easter the challenge is to come up with a message that you haven’t heard somewhere before. That’s why this morning I’m not going to focus on the tremendous agony that Jesus faced on the cross as He paid the penalty for our sins, as important as that is. That’s why, although it would be easy to do, I’m not going to try and prove to you this morning that the resurrection of Jesus is an historical fact. After all, if you’re here this morning, it’s probably because you have at least some handle on the facts that surround the death and resurrection of Jesus.
So instead, I want us to focus today on why the resurrection means is still so important for all of us today because it allows us to walk with the risen Christ in our day-to-day lives. To help us do that, we’ll look at the account of two of Jesus’ followers who didn’t quite know what to do with the risen Jesus until they encountered Him on a leisurely stroll from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus, about seven miles away. Turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 24 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 13. Or you can also follow along on the screen behind me.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?”
And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Luke 24:13-35 (ESV)
This is such a rich passage that we can’t possibly cover it in any kind of detail this morning. So given our limited time, let’s focus on the four things that Cleopas and the other disciple did in order to come to the place in their lives where they could walk with the risen Christ, not just for a few hours that day, but for the rest of their lives. And what we learn from them will be very helpful to all of us as we attempt to walk with the risen Christ, regardless of where we might be in our spiritual lives right now.