While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. [Later,] 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?" ESV Luke 24:15; 32
It had been a chaotic few days in Jerusalem. Aside from the normal events of Passover, Christ had been betrayed, taken captive, sent to trial, convicted and sentenced to death by crucifixion. There had been earthquakes, graves opened up, and the veil was torn in the Temple (from top to bottom). Now these two confused, sad and weary travelers were walking to Emmaus, presumably their home, which was about seven miles away. With their faith in tatters, they began to talk about the events of the past several days.
Ponder their circumstances for a moment. Thinking of the recent events in human terms, all hope was gone. I mean dead is dead isn't it? And the Christ who they thought would rescue a nation had been crucified three days ago. Sure, they had heard of the empty tomb, but an empty tomb would only indicate trickery or robbery.
And they knew that some women claimed to have gotten a special revelation from angels earlier in the day, but their story didn't make much sense. I'd say these two had a lot to sort out on their long walk to Emmaus.
Now, though they don't recognize him at the time, the resurrected Christ comes along side them, befriends them with a question or two and joins their conversation as they walk.
His questions show that he's genuinely interested in them as fellow believers and he begins to gently instruct them in truth and love about the recent events. Specifically, Christ shows them Scriptures that predicted and pointed to all the events that they had witnessed in Jerusalem. Verse twenty seven says that "beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."
Well, hearing the Word properly interpreted and applied, their faith is strengthened and they realize that God's Word is a reliable and trustworthy foundation for their faith. That should be comforting to you, because nothing has changed; God's Word is still a reliable and trustworthy foundation for my faith and yours.
Jesus lingers with these two on into the dinner hour. Then, they begin to put the pieces together based on the truth of Scripture instead of the reason of man. And when they do, they recognize Jesus! The resurrected Christ had been with them on their long walk home and was having dinner with them at that very moment. Wow, what an aha moment that must have been.
Today, though not seen or recognized in bodily form, Christ continues to work in His church in a similar manner; namely, through His Word. Martin Luther (1483-1546) sums it up well: "After this manner he [Christ] still works in the whole Christian church; though unseen, he yet carries on his work and shows his dominion in that, as the living Lord, he enlightens them [Christians] through his Word, comforts and strengthens them, defends them with his power and keeps them against the wrath of the devil and the world."
Have a blessed week.
Ken Askew worships at Tharptown Baptist Church in Russellville. Comments are welcome and may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.