By Toni Ford
I was asked a question which I’ve pondered over the past couple of months – “Have you ever wondered what Jesus told the two followers walking to the village of Emmaus?”
The only place in Scripture we find this story is in Luke 24:13-49. To give some background, Jesus had been crucified three days earlier. Early one Sunday morning while it was still dark, several women visited the tomb where Jesus was buried and found that the stone to the tomb had been rolled away. When the women looked inside the tomb, His body was gone!
The women ran back to where Jesus’ disciples were gathered to share the news, after which Peter and John ran to the tomb. They found it was exactly as the women had described. We then come to verse 13, which says, “That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.” Later in the next few verses, we find the name of one of the followers, Cleopas, but Scripture never gives us the name of the other follower.
The two men went on a seven-mile walk to Jerusalem, discussing all that had happened earlier that morning. As they were walking, Jesus suddenly joined the men on their walk. When Jesus asked them what they were discussing, their faces were sad as they replied to Jesus, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” The two followers had heard the reports of the empty tomb and that Jesus was alive, but they did not believe them. They had hoped Jesus was the Messiah who would redeem Israel, but their hopes had been shattered.
Jesus graciously walked with the two men and listened to their conversation, which was no doubt animated and full of emotions. I love this picture of Him walking and listening to them. He does the same with us today. Jesus is never shocked by what we say or by what we are feeling. Rather, He is a very safe place for us to take all our thoughts and emotions.
Jesus continued to let the men talk, then Jesus said to them, “You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scripture. Was not it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?’
Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Wow! This is the part I ponder on, wondering what all did Jesus share with them from Moses and the prophets, and how did He describe all this to them? As Jesus opened the Word to these two followers as they continued their walk, we begin to see that the real problem was not in their heads but in their hearts. What they needed was a fresh understanding of the Word of God, and Jesus gave that understanding to them.
As the men were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey, Jesus acted as if He were going to continue on. But we read that they “begged” Him to stay the night with them. Luke 24:30-32 says, “As they sat down to eat, He took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! 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?”
The breaking of bread refers to a meal. Jesus revealed Himself to them during a common meal, and that is how He often works. All along as Jesus was walking with the followers and explaining the Scriptures to them, their hearts were burning inside because revelation was taking place, not with their minds but with their hearts! Then, when they sat down to have a common meal with Jesus, their eyes were opened, and they realized that not only was He alive, but He was right there with them!
Can’t you imagine how excited the two men must have been? This realization was far greater than any head knowledge, for they now knew deep within their hearts that Jesus is alive, He is the Messiah and He has and is fulfilling all of Scripture! I love that we have this last account in Scripture: “And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them.” The two men had just gone seven miles from Jerusalem, but once they discovered that Jesus was truly alive, they went all the way back to Jerusalem to share the news with His disciples.
We have a beautiful picture in this story, not only of the character of Jesus but the truth of who He is, and even more, so the truth of the Scripture. Thank you, Lord, for this incredible word and for You as our Messiah!
If you would like me to join you in prayer, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!