Teachings / Sermons
The road to Emmaus
by Derek FlaniganHope restored:
Morning all. I want to cover the account of the two men on the road to Emmaus but before we get there lets read from Luke ch 24 verses 1-12 to get the context for the verses that follow…
Luke 24 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Has Risen
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
The tomb was empty, Jesus had risen, but there was more confusion than celebration. They saw the tomb was empty, but they had not yet seen Jesus.
Now lets pick it up from verse 13…
Luke 24:13-35 New International Version (NIV)
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Lets unpack this a bit;
a. Time of debate [vs 13-16]:
Now two of them that had been in Jerusalem when the news came of the empty tomb are walking away from Jerusalem to Emmaus discussing, or as the original text implies, debating what had happened to Jesus. Even on the first day rumours and speculations were rife.
Had someone removed His body, who were those people that appeared to the women, where was the body? If Jesus had risen from the dead, where was He?
b. Hope lost [vs 17-24]:
When Jesus approaches them and asks what they are discussing, they stood still, their faces downcast… verse 21 is the key that unlocks this portion of scripture and gives us an idea of how they felt… 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
Proverbs 13:12 tells us that 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, it then goes on to say, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
The Good News Translation reads like this: “When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed.”
They had not expected that Jesus would be crucified, how could the Messiah die on a cross?
They had hoped that Jesus would redeem Israel.
Their hope did not materialise, their hearts were crushed and they needed to put some distance between themselves and Jerusalem, the place where their hopes were dashed.
So the road to Emmaus was for them a journey of disappointment and despair, they were confused and disillusioned…We may not recognise Jesus in our circumstances because they do not match what we were hoping for …then the stranger speaks;
c. Suffering and Glory [vs 25-27]:
Jesus reminds them of what the scriptures said about him, he gives them a kind of roadmap to the day of his resurrection…. “how foolish you are, and slow to believe” remember what the angels said to the women at the tomb “Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee”
The road map was there, there was to be suffering then the glory. They got stuck in their heads at the suffering.
The cross without the resurrection makes no sense, and the only way for us to experience resurrection life was that Jesus had to suffer before the glory… Hebrews 12:2 puts it like this;
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
d. Burning Hearts [vs 28-32]:
Lets pick it up again at verse 30, When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Remember in Proverbs 13:12 it spoke of a hope deferred making the heart sick? It went on to say, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. And Proverbs 13:19: says, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.”
As they sat down to a meal and Jesus broke the bread (as he had done in the feeding of the 5000 and at the last supper) they recognised Him, at that moment all their fears disappeared, their longing was fulfilled…
Someone put it like this; It is in the intimacy of fellowship that Jesus is recognized.
All of a sudden everything Jesus said to them on the road made sense, the resurrection was the key that unlocked everything that had gone before… “were our hearts not burning within us while he talked with us on the road” He was alive! He was with them! To say Jesus is risen is to say He is with us!
e: The road back [vs 33-35]:
As we saw earlier, the road to Emmaus was one of disappointment and despair, confused and disillusioned but the road back to Jerusalem was one of passion and Joy, hope and clarity
Someone put it like this; broken hearts to burning hearts
The turning point from one road to another was recognising the resurrected Jesus.
Their message to the rest of the disciples was “It is true!”
The whole of our Christian walk hinges on the fact that it is true! Jesus has risen from the dead!
Our hope is restored and crushed hearts renewed.
I would like to end with a quote from N.T. Wright, “we need to listen for the hidden stranger on the road who will explain to us how it was that these things had to happen, and how it is that there is a whole new world out there waiting to be born, for which we are called to be midwives.”
Date Added: 2020-04-19
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