The Road to Emmaus

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In Luke 24:13-35 we find the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  It is probably one of the most famous resurrection stories told.  In this passage however, we find not just a story of the resurrected Jesus.  But a story of a new found understanding of who the Messiah was.

The disciples while journeying had been discussing all the latest events that had occured.  They felt as though all their hopes had been dashed.  Ultimately they had a wrong hope.  Jesus, being kept from recognition, came along side them and asked what they were discussing.  Their recap of the events show a lack of understanding and a lack of faith.  They believed that Jesus was a powerful prophet in word and deed.  However, they had hoped that he would be much more.  They hoped that he would be the messiah who would redeem Israel.  By redeem Israel they hoped for political freedom.  The common Jewish understanding of the Messiah was that he would bring political freedom and he would reign as King David had done.  They could not see who was walking along with them, but also who Jesus was and what his main mission on earth was.  From Genesis through to Malachi the scriptures speak of the Messiah to come.  About Jesus it says:
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen” (Deut. 8:15)
“The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” (Ps. 2:7)
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (Ps. 16:9–10)
“By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” (Is. 53:8–9.)
Why did they not understand this?  Because they were “foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Lk. 24:25)  When they were confused about what had happened they did not turn to the Scriptures to seek answers, instead they hung their heads in disappointment and remained lost.  However, unbeknownst to them, they were in the company of the greatest teacher to ever live.  Jesus that great preacher, the prince of preachers was there.  And he spoke, he lifted the veil from their eyes, he enabled them to understand what they did not understand.  Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets Jesus taught them precisely what the Scriptures said about himself.

Do you ever wish you could have heard the things he said?  The way he interpreted the Old Testament concerning himself?  I have wished that too, but wait, never fear, because although you cannot hear the exact words Jesus said that day, you too can hear the teaching concerning Jesus in the Old Testament. We too have the the Scriptures, we have Moses and the Prophets and the New Testament writings.  But I hear you say, if the disciples needed Jesus to come along and teach them concerning himself, what hope do we have?  We have the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father has sent and he teaches us all things (Jn. 14:26).  The Holy Spirit will illuminate the very words in Scripture, the very Word of God so that we can and will understand it.

The outcome for the two disciples was that they understood clearly just who it was speaking with them, they were filled with such joy that they exclaimed, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Lk 24:32)  They got up and ran to tell the disciples of the risen Lord’s appearance and teaching.  No more were they confused and down trodden, but rather they were full of joy, excitement and hope.  They ran to tell the good news…Jesus is alive!

Where do you look for Jesus?  Do you look for him in other religions, in experiences, in society or cultural norms?  There is one place which we find clarity regarding Jesus Christ, and it is in none of these places.  Jesus showed us the way, if you wish to understand who Jesus is and what he has done then there is only one place to turn; the Scriptures, the Word of God, the Bible.  When we turn to the Bible and read it and the Holy Spirit teaches us we are enabled to see the truth about our blessed Saviour.

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