On the Road to Emmaus
June 27, 2021
 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.  Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.  Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,  and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”  And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,  but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.  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?”  And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,  saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (ESV)
The Problem of Unbelief
- For Christ’s followers, the events of the past several days were cause for deep grief, sorrow and pain; and not just for the eleven but the other disciples as well.
- At one level their sadness, their grief, their pain was completely understandable. Even so, these two disciples who were walking along the road, just hours earlier had heard the womens’ amazing report that the tomb was empty and that the angels had said he had risen.
- The two disciples were also apparently aware of Jesus’ earlier promise that he would not only die, but on the third day rise again (vs.21).
- Even though Cleopas and his friend had all of that information — which would seem to lead to emotions of relief and happiness– they were still overcome by sorrow and grief.
- The reason they were still so overcome with sorrow was because they couldn’t quite get there in their hearts to that place of faith to believe that what the women had told them was actually TRUE!
- Earlier in verse 11 we see that some of the disciples responded to the women’s report by initially not believing it. Luke says “these words seemed to them an idle tail and they did not believe them.”
- This likely was an accurate description of Cleopas and his friend.
- Their sorrow and sadness as they walked seems to reveal unbelief.
- They had trouble taking Jesus at His Word that he would rise again and trouble believing that Jesus was risen as the women told him.
- They were skeptical about the positive report. They were cynical. It was all too good to be true.
Receiving God’s Comfort
Note, Christ’s disciples are often sad and sorrowful even when they have reason to rejoice, but through the weakness of their faith they cannot take the comfort that is offered to them. — Matthew Henry
- While obviously there are times when it is right and appropriate for us to be sorrowful, sad and deeply grieved, there are also times when we miss out on profound comfort and even joy in the midst of sorrow because of the weakness of our faith.
- Because of the weakness of our faith, at times, in difficult situations outside of our control, we can struggle to receive the Immense comfort that comes from firm confidence that God is totally sovereign and totally good.
- We know that God is sovereign and we know he is good, yet when trials come, we can have a hard time taking God at his Word and truly resting in, believing in, hoping in his goodness and sovereignty.
- There’s comfort to be had but because of our own unbelief, it can remain elusive.
Evidences of the Spirit’s Work
- Because of the weakness of our faith, at times, when sorrow comes, we can sometimes struggle to receive the comfort that comes from seeing God at work in the people and situations around us that can so trouble us.
- These disciples were so focused on the fact that Jesus died I couldn’t even believe that he had risen. Sometimes we are so focused on what’s gone wrong, that we can’t see how God is powerfully working in us and around us.
- A sort of unbelieving negativity and spiritual depression can at times grip us and be hard to shake–that keeps us from seeing the people and situations around us more optimistically in the way that God himself sees them.
- The Enemy gets involved as well and by repeatedly sowing his lies — about God, about ourselves, about other people — and seeks to constantly stoke the flames of doubt and pessimistic unbelief.
- For anyone struggling in this way, may God by power of the Holy Spirit the Lord pour water on those flames of unbelief and bring peace to your soul.
Christ With Us
- Observe that Christ, was with these two disciples in their distress, walking along the road right there beside them even though they had no idea he was there.
- What a difference it would’ve made in their outlook if they just realized that Jesus was there walking with them.
- What a wonderful picture that can bring great encouragement to us.
- Jesus told his disciples after commissioning them to preach the gospel and to make disciples “behold I am with you always to the end of the age.”
- Jesus promised to be with us always, at all times, on this road as we make our way to heaven.
- Due to unbelief, due to a lack of faith, due to just forgetting, sometimes that reality is almost totally lost on us. We can miss out on the great comfort God would have for us that comes from knowing that our Savior Christ Jesus is personally walking right besides us in every valley, and every trial, in every temptation–ensuring that we make it to the end.
- May God by His Holy Spirit, strengthen our faith and thereby enable us to experience greater degrees of comfort and joy – even when life disappoints.
The Cure for All Unbelief: Beholding Christ In God’s Word
 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (ESV)
- Jesus gently rebuked these disciples for their foolishness
- Interestingly, Jesus didn’t point out their their foolishness in failing to believe the women who reported that the tomb was empty.
- Jesus didn’t point out their failure to believe his own prediction regarding his resurrection either; instead he says they were foolish to not believe the Old Testament scriptures which testify to, point to, and were fulfilled in Jesus.
- Jesus simple point was they didn’t fully believe their Bibles which was the OT–and that that he says is foolish.
- Jesus says it so plainly and clearly: The OT was and is about Him. This, these two disciples failed to truly grasp and believe.
- Jesus, out of care for them, he unpacked, he explained the Old Testament scriptures. He began with Moses and the prophets and went on from there to show ultimately how the entire Old Testament, how ”all the scriptures” pointed to him.
- All the Scriptures meant all the Scriptures, including the parts about the Messiah‘s suffering, which these two disciples were struggling to believe.
- Jesus helps us to see that one reason these disciples were so distraught–is that they didn’t believe the Word of God which said He must suffer.
- Our Lord gently rebuked them for their foolishness and then in order to strengthen their faith, took them to the word of God to show them how all the Scriptures pointed to him including the ones I’m sure foretelling the suffering of the Messiah.
- In the verses that follow, the eyes of Cleopas and his friend were finally opened and they recognized Jesus before Jesus vanished from their sight.
- When that happened then verse.32, “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?”
Main Theme: Faith in Christ grows in one primary way —-by the power of Gods Word.
- These two disciples struggled to have faith in Christ. They struggled with unbelief. Their faith was weak. What was Jesus’ antidote, his medicine, his cure for their lack of faith? To show them Christ in God‘s Word because seeing Christ, beholding Christ in Gods Word is the divinely prescribed cure for all unbelief.
- This mattered greatly to Jesus —to show these disciples himself in the Word… it mattered so much to him that he didn’t even open their eyes to who he was until he had first showed them how the OT Scriptures pointed to him.
- Do you want to grow in faith in Christ? Do you want to see Christ more clearly and love him more dearly and trust him more fully?
- The very best we can do:
- Pay attention to the Word of God.
- Read it.
- Listen to it.
- Look for Christ in it.
- Take it in deeply.
- Determine to believe it.
- Act on what it says.
- And then watch what the Lord will do; watch how Lord by His Spirit will change you.
2 Corinthians 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit
Questions For Discussion/Application
- Re-read the text, Luke 24:13-35.
- What was the spiritual problem that these two disciples had?
- In what ways can we today struggle with unbelief?
- Read the Matthew Henry quote in the Recap under the heading “Receiving God’s Comfort.” Explain what Henry is saying. In what ways can the weakness of our faith keep us from laying hold of God’s comfort?
- One of the ways God wants to comfort us is by helping us to see how He is at work in and around us. What are some ways you can see God at work — in the world, in our church, in our Care Group, in our families, in our own lives?
- Jesus cared so much that his disciples saw HIM in the Word, that he held off revealing His identity to these disciples until he had first shown them how God’ Word pointed to Him.
- What ways can you think of that the Old Testament points to Christ?
- Maybe take a few minutes and talk about how every is doing with their Bible intake….what is going well? What is going not so well?
- Consider taking time to pray, asking God to help us, where necessary, to repent of unbelief and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith as we look to God in His Word.