Summary: Only personal, significant contact with our risen Lord brings about true faith and obedience. All else is only ritual, and religious rhetoric. We MUST see Jesus!
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.
I want to look at THE CONDITION OF BELIEVERS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR FOCUS, and WHAT OUR FOCUS MUST BE IF WE WOULD BE VICTORIOUS, and JESUS’ THREE LITTLE WORDS OF SUCCESS.
(Read Lk 24:13-35)
Isn’t it easy for us to lose our focus? We see this tendency in many areas of life. Corporations have classes; seminars; to teach their people how to maintain their focus at work. Management meets weekly or even daily, and one of the purposes for those meetings is to refocus.
We set a goal, and unless we concentrate on making each step a progression toward that goal, we lose focus and stray from it.
We admire men and women who accomplish great things, even worldly goals, who have climbed a difficult road and aspired to a high and lofty position of fame or wealth; and one of the reasons we admire them is for their tenacity and determination.
And what do they inevitably say, when asked to give an account of their success? Well, among other things, they set a goal and kept their focus. They developed a life-style designed to bring them into frequent remembrance of their original plan and surrounded themselves with people who would encourage them, lift them up when down, challenge them when weary, and help to turn them back to the right path if they began to lose focus and stray from their course.
That’s why we admire them...because so few of us have that single-mindedness and determination about life.
Now obviously, when a person with some worldly goal loses focus, the result is that they do not attain the prize. In running a race, if they look back it slows them down and puts them in peril of tripping. In business losing focus gives the competition an opportunity to get to a prospective client first, or offer a better package, or just look more attractive by virtue of their zeal.
But what happens to a believer who loses his focus, in reference to his relationship to Christ?
Let’s see the picture these two disciples paint for us.
First of all, they weren’t going anywhere with purpose.
We don’t know who these two were, except one of them was named Cleopas. They were not part of the chosen eleven, we know, because when they went back to Jerusalem it says “they found gathered together the eleven”, (who, by the way, also weren’t where they were supposed to be). So these two were not necessarily there when Jesus told His disciples that after his crucifixion He would meet them in Galilee, but doesn’t that point out something very important for us Christian?
The eleven had been told to go to Galilee, yet their unbelief kept them hiding in Jerusalem. Had they obeyed, these other two disciples would not have found them in Jerusalem. And had the eleven believed Christ’s words, they most certainly would have been quick to tell others that they also should go to Galilee if they wanted to see the risen Lord.