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Archive for The Road to Emmaus


The Road to Emmaus (part 3)

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Upon arriving at Emmaus, the travelers offered Jesus food and lodging, a typical Jewish gesture. Jesus accepted the invitation, and they sat down to eat. It was at this moment that Jesus’ identity was disclosed. It is not clear why Jesus was given the task of pronouncing the blessing and breaking the bread. That job usually belonged to the host of the meal. Nonetheless, during the breaking of break their eyes were opened and Jesus vanished from their presence.

It is unclear as to how this disclosure happened. Perhaps it was in the way that Jesus prayed. It was customary for the bread to be broken as the prayer of thanksgiving was offered, so I suppose it’s possible that as Jesus broke the bread and offered it to the couple that the nail prints in his hands were revealed. However it happened, there was an instant recognition of Christ.

Any revelation of Jesus is bound to be life changing. His revelation brings transformation. I see at least three ways Jesus’ self-disclosure changed this couple’s lives.

First, they moved from doubt to faith. “They said to each other, ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:32, NLT) As Jesus spoke the Scriptures to them, faith began to well up within their hearts.

Then, they moved from disappointment to hope. “And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:33, NLT) Even though night travel was dangerous and to be avoided, this couple left their home and returned to Jerusalem.

Finally, they moved from private conversation to public witness. “There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, ‘The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.’ Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread.” (Luke 24:33-35, NLT) The conversation they shared among themselves suddenly became a public witness. They had good news and were compelled to share it.

It was the same day, the same road, and the same town. But they were changed, all because they had seen the risen Christ.

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The Road to Emmaus (part 2)

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Jesus went “undercover” on the road to Emmaus. As he visits with the travelers on that first Easter morning, he inquires about the reports concerning the events that happened at Jerusalem that weekend. Once the couple recovered from the shock and disbelief that this stranger was clueless about those same events, they began to unpack all that had happened related to Jesus of Nazareth.

“He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.”

“Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” (Luke 24:19-20, 22-24, NLT)

It was an amazing report indeed. But there was one problem with their description.

“We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel.” (Luke 24:21, NLT)

The couple on the road to Emmaus were confused about all that had taken place. But even more, they expressed their confusion in terms of disappointment. The Messiah, they believed, was to come and restore Israel to the geo-political status of the historical rule of King David. They were looking for the Messiah. But the Messiah they wanted was about their agenda and their interests.

Have you been disappointed by Jesus? Sometimes when I counsel with people who are experiencing life’s difficulties, disappointment with Jesus will surface during the conversation. We’ve all been there from time to time. But when we’re tempted to wallow in disappointment with Jesus, I think it’s helpful to re-evaluate our expectation of Jesus.

What are your expectations of Jesus? Financial security? A happy marriage? Perfect kids who earn full scholarships to the University? An upwardly mobile career path? Physical health? Early retirement? To be loved and adored by all who grace your presence?

The travelers were disappointed. But they had expected wrong things from Messiah. Jesus clues them in from the Old Testament: “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26, NLT)

Jesus’ death and resurrection are not designed to eliminate suffering from your life. And above all, never forget that his passion and resurrection are not so that you can attain glory. It was so that he could enter his glory.

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The Road to Emmaus

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I’ve recently discovered CBS’ Undercover Boss. I think it’s a pretty cool show. I got into it a little late in the season but have been able to catch up on missed episodes on Hulu. The premise is fairly simple. A CEO of an American company goes undercover for one week to work various frontline jobs within the company while disguised as a new recruit. The CEO gets to learn about his company and the people who work for the company and makes several interesting discoveries, including some of the problems employees face. At the end of the episode the CEO is revealed, and shares what will be done to solve some of the problems that had been discovered during the experience.

Luke 24:13-35 reports that on the day of the resurrection, Jesus went “undercover” and joined Cleopas and his wife as they journey back to Emmaus after observing Passover in Jerusalem. Though Jesus walked and talked with them, they were prevented from identifying Jesus.

Leon Morris writes, “We cannot see the risen Christ, even though he is walking with us, unless he wills to disclose himself.”

Tomorrow I’ll follow up this post and share the problems that Jesus discovered while he was “undercover” on the road to Emmaus.

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