By Susan Nero
Audio of this study.
I find it hard to put this devotional “to sleep” without sharing the experience I found with Jesus before, during and after completing this mornings “study” on the Road to Emmaus.
For a lack of Christian fellowship, I found that I was doing a lot of “fellowshipping with the Lord. My favorite place of “talking” to Him was on my daily (3 mile) walks.
One morning, several months ago I was “talking” to Him about the different devotionals that I was planning for this summer. He had been opening up a lot of Scripture to me and even inspired some of the Titles.
As I was walking, I commented that He was giving me so many answers that “I felt like I was on the Road to Emmaus”! Soon after, when I was asking Him about what to teach for the “Awareness of God in the New Testament” devotional; He brought to my mind the Road to Emmaus and even “gave” me the Title: THE FIRST WITNESS: JESUS ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS /THE SPIRITUAL AWARENESS OF GOD.
As soon as I got home, I re-read the 24th Chapter of Luke, but this time it was so different! I had thought I was pretty familiar with the story, but when Jesus opened up the Scripture to me, details that I had never thought of were revealed. I had never realized that Cleopas and his companion were among the many disciples that had followed Jesus, saw Him, heard Him speak, maybe witnessed one of His miracles! They were obviously sad that He was no longer with them. But He really was……they just were not aware of His presence!
How perfect for us to personalize our “walk” with Him this morning. I believe He has given this devotional to us so that we will know first how much He loves us and most importantly that we would be more aware of His presence personally, where we can talk to Him, all the time, about anything. We may not “see” Him with our eyes, but He is there… forever.
A.W. TOZER writes:
“I will never be through talking about the union of the soul with the Savior, the conscious union of the believer’s heart with Jesus.”
“I also am aware that from God’s perspective there are qualities in the Divine Being that can never be explained by intellect. They can only be known by the heart, the innermost being of man.”
Just such an encounter occurred on the first Easter morning. The two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus were discouraged disciples.
14“And they talked together of all the things which had happened during that day.”
They had heard the reports of the women that the tomb was empty and that Jesus was alive, but they did not believe them. They had hoped that Jesus would redeem Israel, but their hopes had been shattered.
15 “So it was that while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.”
NOTE: I believe the Lord, in His grace and mercy, prevented them from recognizing Him so they would have the opportunity to see with real clarity.
Wasn’t it more important that they first see with their hearts and minds before recognizing Him with their natural eyes? If they had recognized Him immediately it would have been obvious that He had risen. They needed to understand by way of His recounting of the Scriptures concerning Himself. A good example of trust without sight.
In John 20:29 Jesus said to Thomas; “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
As they walked no doubt, they were quoting various Old Testament prophecies and trying to remember what Jesus had taught, but they were unable to put it all together and come up with an explanation that made sense. Isn’t this example one that we often see in ourselves---groping in the dark, trying to make sense of our circumstances---often missing the answers that are hiding in plain sight!! How often does Jesus overhear our groanings, waiting for us to reach out to Him for answers.
As Jesus graciously walked with them and listened to their (heated) conversation. He said to them, 17“What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
18”Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?”
Jesus often asked questions as a way of getting to the root of what was in a person’s heart: their perspective, their expectations, their reaction, their lack of understanding, etc.
19 (continued)So they said to Him, The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a “vision” of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain 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.”
The longer Cleopas talked, the more he indicted himself and his friend for their unbelief. What more evidence could they want? Witnesses (including
the apostles) had seen the tomb empty. Angels had announced that Jesus was alive. Witnesses had seen Him alive and heard Him speak. The proof
was there! What was their basic problem? They did not believe all that the prophets had written about the Messiah. As we remember from last week, the Pharisees did not take in to account the prophecies and as such, their teaching had a great negative influence on the disciples’ faith. This was the problem with most of the Jews in that day; they saw the Messiah as a conquering Redeemer, but they did not see Him as the Risen Christ. This likely was part of the reason these two men had so many lasting doubts.
They had all the pieces of the puzzle but were having difficulty putting them together! The narrative didn’t fit with the picture they had envisioned for the Messiah.
25 Then Jesus said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
They needed spiritual eyes to enlighten their hearts!
1 Cor 2:12-15 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Jesus needed to set the record straight once and for all…..
PROPHECIES AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS HE MAY HAVE EXPOUNDED ON:
1)MOSES PROPHESIED THE MESSIAH
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like Me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.”
“According to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.”
“And the Lord said to me; ‘What they have spoken is good.’
“I will raise up for them a Prophet like you (Moses) from among their brethren, and I will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.”
“And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.” (shall be destroyed) see Acts 3:22-23
NOTES: Jesus fulfilled this prophesy, “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”John 12:49-50
Earlier in His ministry Jesus chided the religious leaders for rejecting His witness in John 5:46, “For had you believed Moses, you would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me.”
We will remember last week when Philip told his brother Nathaniel, “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
2)THE PROPHETS ALSO SPOKE OF JESUS ATONING DEATH
Daniel 9:26 "And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
Isa 53:5-6 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
3A)JESUS PREDICTS HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
PETER’S REACTION: Matthew 16:22-23
“Far be it from You Lord: this shall not happen to You!”
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
3B)JESUS AGAIN PREDICTS HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION
“Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.”
DISCIPLES REACTION: “And they were exceedingly sorrowful.”
3C)JESUS A THIRD TIME PREDICTS HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION
“Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
NOTE: There is no recorded reaction to what the Lord told His followers of what was going to happen. What He had told them was very detailed, and yet they really didn’t get it; so, when it came to pass, they were filled with fear instead of faith.
John 14:29-30 "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.
Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
This explains why Jesus opened the Word to these two men as the three of them walked to Emmaus. Their real problem was not in their understanding but in their hearts. This can also be true for us today as we stumble along trying to “figure it out in our own understanding.”
PROVERBS 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
A.W. TOZER writes: “God has given us the Bible for a reason. That reason is so it can lead us to meet God in Jesus Christ in a clear, sharp encounter that will burn on in our hearts forever and ever.”
The more we receive the Word of God, the more we will want to fellowship with the God of the Word. Having Bible “knowledge” may “puff up.” (1 Cor 8:1) but, walking with the Savior and receiving Bible truth will always lead to a “burning heart.”
28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He acted as if He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
JON COURSON: writes: “Always the perfect gentleman, Jesus does not impose Himself, but would have kept going. Jesus will never burst into your situation. He’ll walk with you, but won’t force Himself on you. He’ll stay with you as long as you want Him to, He’ll go with you as far as you want Him to - but He won’t break in and make you listen to Him, learn of Him, or be with Him.”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me,”
John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
In the little booklet, MY HEART CHRIST’S HOME, the author uses the analogy of a house with various rooms that signify the parts of our innermost being. Each room of our heart must be open, accessible and under the complete authority of our Savior if we are to have true fellowship with Him. If we close ourselves off to Him in any area, it will often lead a limited understanding of His will or direction in our lives. These disciples invited Him in and were truly enlightened and blessed by His presence.
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.”
32 “And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
Jer 23:28 "Is not My word like a fire?" says the Lord,
"And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
The 2 men were won by the Word, simply through hearing the Scriptures. The importance of hearing studying and reading the Scriptures cannot be stressed often enough.
A.W. TOZER writes: When the Bible has led us to God and we have experienced God in the crisis of encounter, then the Bible has done its first work. That it will continue to do God’s work in our Christian lives should be evident.”
It is the truth of God’s Word that will always set us straight when we are going astray in our understanding---look to the Word of God FIRST AND FOREMOST in all things!!
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
17 Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
19 I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together. 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
JESUS APPEARS TO ALL WHO GATHERED THERE
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, 41“Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
THE SCRIPTURES OPENED TO ALL WHO GATHERED THERE
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend (definition: to bring together) the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sunshield be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
50 “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up to heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the Temple praising and blessing God. Amen
No more fear!! Just faith being exercised for all to see.
The story of the disciples on the Emmaus Road is important for many reasons. It provides an emphasis on the Old Testament prophecies related to Jesus. It also provides a continuation of our past devotionals. It gives us evidence of an additional appearance of Jesus in the Gospels and a connection regarding the many eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus.
Luke 24 is often seen as a model of the journey that Jesus makes with many of us today, as He opens our eyes, points us to the Word, and reveals Himself along life’s walk as the resurrected Savior and Lord.
As Susan reminded us in her opening, we need to be aware of His presence in our lives at all times. We will go through experiences, not unlike what the two men traveling to Emmaus went through; in which we won’t have complete understanding or the situation but we have a Constant Companion in the person of the Holy Spirit to guide us along the way.
Jesus comforted His disciples before He went to the cross with the following promise:
John 16:12-15 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
This is a perfect picture of the Triune God dwelling with us always. As the wonderful song we sing rightly says, “Let us become more aware of Your presence, let us experience the glory of your goodness, Lord,” and our hearts will burn just as those two disciples’ hearts on that Resurrection morning!!