Elfie had to follow us on our travels today. The boys were worried he wouldn’t know where to find us, but of course he did. He was hanging out near the stockings on grandma’s fireplace. He brought us a beautiful heart ornament to paint and a great scripture lesson from Luke 24:13-32:
13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a village called Emmaus. It was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked about those things, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.
17 Jesus asked them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?”
They stood still, and their faces were sad. 18 One of them was named Cleopas. He said to Jesus, “Are you the only person visiting Jerusalem who doesn’t know? Don’t you know about the things that have happened there in the last few days?”
19 “What things?” Jesus asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet. He was powerful in what he said and did in the sight of God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed Jesus over to be sentenced to death. They nailed him to a cross. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to set Israel free. Also, it is the third day since all this happened. 22 Some of our women amazed us too. Early this morning they went to the tomb. 23 But they didn’t find his body. So they came and told us what they had seen. They saw angels, who said Jesus was alive. 24 Then some of our friends went to the tomb. They saw it was empty, just as the women had said. They didn’t see Jesus’ body there.”
25 Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are! How long it takes you to believe all that the prophets said! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and then receive his glory?” 27 Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures. He began with Moses and all the Prophets.
28 They approached the village where they were going. Jesus kept walking as if he were going farther. 29 But they tried hard to keep him from leaving. They said, “Stay with us. It is nearly evening. The day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 He joined them at the table. Then he took bread and gave thanks. He broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But then he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “He explained to us what the Scriptures meant. Weren’t we excited as he talked with us on the road?”
To understand this story correctly we need to remember that this was Resurrection Day. Just has just rose from the grave that morning. This was the greatest event in the history of mankind and certainly the foundation of our Christian faith! This day should have been a celebration day, but these two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus seemed discouraged. Why would they be so discouraged when they had heard the reports that the tomb of Jesus was empty and He was alive? Johnathan knew right away, “they did not believe”.
Disappointment must have filled their hearts with despair, since they had thought Jesus would be the one to save Israel. These disciples, like many other people who day, saw the glory of the kingdom, but they failed to understand the suffering that Jesus had to go through. These men didn’t understand what God said in His Word about His plan and His promises. It is easy for us to sit here today and judge their disbelief…..but what if that was us on that day? Would we believe? Their world had crumbled around them and they needed encouragement. I asked the boys if they would be sad like these men were? They agreed that they would be sad about Jesus dying as well.
Much like people today. these two disciples had all the evidence they needed to believe that He rose from the dead, but they walked in unbelief. Their real problem was not in their heads, but in their hearts. They needed a fresh understanding of the Word of God, and Jesus gave that understanding to them. The disciples from Emmaus were counting on Jesus to rescue Israel. Most Jews believed that the Old Testament prophecies pointed to a military and political Messiah. They believed that the Messiah would come to rule and reign at that time. They didn’t realize that the Messiah had come to rescue people’s souls. When Jesus died on the cross that week, they lost hope. They didn’t understand that Jesus’ death offered the greatest hope available.
Why did Jesus call these men foolish? Cleopas and his companion failed to believe and understand all that the prophets had written about the Messiah’s suffering. That was the problem with most of the Jews of that day. They saw the Messiah as a conquering Redeemer, but they didn’t see Him as a suffering servant. God promised us salvation through the suffering and death of His Son. God’s offer of salvation will never disappoint us. Jesus will never let us down. Because He now lives, we are encouraged, never disappointed, to know that everyone who believes in Him will be saved (Romans 10:10-11).
After the two disciples expressed their discouragement in what had happened, Jesus answered them by going to the scripture and applying it to His ministry. They needed the encouragement of God’s word. When we are discouraged or puzzled by questions or problems, we can find encouragement in the promises of God’s word. Romans 15:4 tells us, “For whatever was written in earlier times were written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
As Jesus began to walk away, the disciples asked Him to come home with them. I think they had been encouraged by the word of God and desired for the blessing to last. The more we receive the word of God, the more we want the fellowship of the word of God. Jesus opened the Scriptures to them and then He opened their eyes so that they recognized Him. Now they knew for themselves that He was alive.
Vanishing from their sight, Jesus left them with the comfort of knowing that He was alive and that God’s word was true. Jesus had made things very plain and clear to them; a divine heat and a divine light burned in their souls. Their hearts burned within, kindled with a holy fire of faith towards their Savior, Jesus. God’s word can warm our hearts with the peace of His promises too. It both instructs and comforts us, giving us a holy desire and devotion within our heart to worship Him. The disciples were so excited and overwhelmed with joy that they made their way back to Jerusalem that very hour. They had seen Jesus, and God’s promises were true. There was no time to waste; they couldn’t wait to tell their friends what had happened.
Has Jesus made a difference in your life? These two men were changed and they wanted others to experience the same hope and joy which is found through Jesus and His word. There are so many people around us live a life without hope, filled with discouragement. Jesus can make the life-changing difference, but we need to tell them. Jesus is alive, and we can trust in His promises.