The disciples in today’s passage had heard the news of Jesus’ resurrection but they did not believe that Jesus is alive. Jesus Himself had said that He would rise again & meet them in Galilee (Mark 14:28). If the disciples had believed, they should be going to Galilee, but instead they were headed in the opposite direction towards Emmaus. Likewise, where are our footsteps heading towards today?
1. Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him (Luke 24:21-24)
It had been 3 days since Jesus’ death. They had expected Jesus to rise again on the 3rd day, but because there was no proof, they could not believe it. These disciples were close to Jesus when He was on earth. As human beings born with physical senses, it is easier for us to depend on our physical senses such as sight, touch and hearing than to reach out to our spiritual senses. When Jesus died in the body, His disciples were lost as they depended on only the physical side of Jesus and not His more important spiritual aspect. For He is God who is Spirit.
The death of Jesus truly revealed the status of His disciples’ faith during that time. Today, if we were to take away all these visible things, such as our offerings and time spent at church, the tasks and titles at church, leaving just me and God, what would our relationship with God look like, what would our faith look like? Do we have wrong expectations that define who God is?
The good news is that even when they were going away from the faith, Jesus comes to walk with them. Likewise, even when we are backsliding, the good news is that Jesus is still walking with us. Please be comforted by this fact.
But even though Jesus was with them, their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him (Luke 24:11, 16). Is this our condition today? Are our eyes prevented from recognizing Jesus in our lives today? Faith is in the present. Let us recognize Jesus walking with us today!
2. Their eyes were open and they recognized Him
Their eyes opened when Jesus explained the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:26-27). The word “explained” in Greek is διερμηνεύω diermeneuo meaning ‘to make clear, to interpret, to make one understand’. The History of Redemption series of books is explaining the bible clearly.
Luke 24:30-31 records this, how their eyes were opened when Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. This bread represented the Word of God. The Bible tells us that when the disciples recognized Jesus, He disappeared from their sight. What this means is that when they truly recognized Jesus, physically He did not need to be present in bodily form for them to continue believing.
3. Burning hearts
As a result of understanding the Word, their eyes were opened to see Jesus (Luke 24:32). The problem today is that people’s hearts are not burning with the Word of God. Let us pray that in Zion Church, everyone’s heart will burn within us as the Word is explained & taught.
What is the result of burning hearts?
(i) They returned to Jerusalem that very hour (Luke 24:33)
Originally the disciples had reasoned that as the sun was setting, they could not proceed with their journey and urged Jesus to stay with them. However, when they received the Word and recognized Jesus, the physical conditions around them did not matter anymore – they rose at that very hour. Let us not make promises to God about the future, because we do not know what will happen tomorrow. If our hearts are burning, then we must do it right now, at this very hour!
(ii) They came to where the other disciples were and become witnesses (Luke 24:34-35)
They heard the Word of God and recognised Jesus, their spiritual eyes were opened and with their hearts burning, they became witnesses. They testified that the Lord has indeed risen! They could not prove it but their experience on the road to Emmaus was real even though Jesus was no longer there with them physically. Even today, many people seek physical experiences in order to believe in Jesus. Let us not seek these experiences but believe when the Holy Spirit explains the Word and allows us to understand Jesus.
What then is the real face of our faith, what is the real status of our faith today? Are we like the 2 disciples heading toward Emmaus in despair and hopelessness because Jesus was no longer physically with them? When Jesus appeared suddenly to them, He was showing them that He was there all along, even though they could not see Him. This is the spiritual aspect of Jesus.
Elijah when running away from Jezebel and Ahab, rested under the broom tree and sought God to kill him because he alone is left. But God revealed that 7000 others still lived who have not bowed down to Baal & gave him a new task. Are you under the broom tree today? God is saying there is much work for you to do and much race left for you to run.
Apostle Peter preached and 3000 people believed. After Jesus’ resurrection, wouldn’t it have been great if Jesus stayed around and helped the disciples? Instead, Jesus ascended to heaven. It was the task of the apostles who had walked with Jesus to start the new era of the church. It is the same with us doing Father’s work in these end times. God has given us the word of transfiguration and it is up to us to carry this Word all the way to the end.
In Revelation, apostle John met another strong angel who delivered the word and disappeared. John took this little book, ate it and becomes the 2 witnesses. It was up to him to take the baton from the strong angel and run the course, all the way to the 2nd Coming and the last judgment.
It is the same thing for us today. We have received this Word and now it is up to us to carry and run with it until the end! Are we ready? The Holy Spirit will help us to understand and remember the word. And God will use us to do His amazing work! Let us be like the disciples were turned round and headed back to Jerusalem to do His work!