Road To Emmaus
This is the true account of how (after Jesus had risen from the dead), Jesus walked and talked with two of his disciples. It's an awesome picture of Jesus walking alongside us, sharing our journey and hanging out with us! He does the same for us today - whether you can 'sense' it or not it's true!
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.
So what can we learn from this?
(Maybe split this over 2 weeks - 5 points for each week. A couple of points have been borrowed from elsewhere on myfishbites. Replace with personal stories as appropriate)
Basically the Road to Emmaus is like our faith in Jesus. This was a walk with Jesus on a journey, with Jesus walking with us and with Jesus being the focus. Jesus was in the start of the walk, he was there at the end of the walk and he was the reason for the walk. The same should be true in our lives!
1. “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them”
Kanye West did a rap a few years back called 'Jesus Walks' and it was a huge hit. And Jesus really does walk with us each day.
1 John 2:6 (AMP) - Whoever says he abides in Him ought [as a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself
Ephesians 2.10 (AMP) - For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
The great thing is that as Jesus walks with us, so we get the ability and desire to walk with him, doing those things that God created us to do. These are good things ultimately, although sometimes it's a process to find them as Jesus walks to guide us. If you were to climb a place like Mont Blanc in the Alps, you would need a guide who would help you reach the summit. For your own benefit you'd follow him, walk in his footsteps and obey him. We walk in the footsteps of Jesus (not literally) but we live lives for and with Jesus, with Jesus as our example and the Holy Spirit in our hearts helping us.
Do you need to decide to walk with Jesus? To walk closer? To walk like Jesus?
2. “What are you discussing as you walk along?”
Obviously Jesus knew what the two disciples were talking about - he didn't ask them because he didn't know! So there must have been a reason why he asked them what they were discussing...
If you've ever chatted to a close friend, someone you trust, or maybe a counsellor type person etc then you'll probably have said things that are really on your heart. Maybe you've split up from your girlfriend or boyfriend, had a good result in a test, bought new clothes or seen a good movie. You talk with that person because you trust them or like them as a friend. We generally only tell the deepest things in our heart to people we really trust or to a professional person helping us etc.
By his question, Jesus was able to listen to them, hear them, hear their hearts and emotions, walk with them, understand and help them to get to the heart of their issue. This was a bit like counselling but hopefully more helpful as the Holy Spirit in us is THE counsellor! As you walk and talk with Jesus, you will get closer to him and understand his will for your life. And remember, often the things we talk about are what we're passionate about. This may help you understand what your calling is. I got passionate about church being relevant for young people so much so that I ended up in youth work! Often you become the answer to your own prayers!
The two disciples on the road were happy to open up to Jesus - and Jesus was happy to hear their hearts and let them talk while he really listened. He listened because he cared and Jesus really cares for you too. Jesus is interested in every part of your life. He wants to input into you, hear your heart, share in your pain and your happiness or excitement. You can totally trust Jesus - he won't break your trust or gossip! He is the best friend you can have and longs to hear from you today and to speak to you too.
3. “They stood still”.
Sometimes we need to stand still, to stop, to wait on the Lord. ‘Be still and know that I am God’. (Psalm 46.10). Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength (Isaiah 40). There may be times in life when we just have to stop... It can range from crossing a road and checking for traffic, to coming to a crossroads in life where we have to make a major decision - do I get this job, do I go to this Uni, do I marry this person etc. It is good to involve Jesus in every decision we make.
Proverbs 3 tells us to trust the Lord with all of our heart, to tell him everything, involve him directly in all our decisions and he will lead us. This doesn't mean we ask God about what to wear, which foot to walk off with etc (although it could!) But it does mean having an attitude that cares about what God says and wanting to do things his way. Sometimes this means praying, reading the Bible and waiting for God to speak. Many times in the Bible we see that those people who waited for God's direction succeeded, but those who went their own way (even when they'd heard God) ended up messing things up!
In 2 Chronicles 20 we read that a massive enemy army came against Judah. The Bible says in verse 13 that all of Judah stood before the Lord. They waited on God, asked him what to do, prayed and cried out to God. In the end, God said 'stand and watch what I do, the battle belongs to the Lord' and he defeated the enemy without Judah doing anything except marching, singing worship to God! What God calls us to do is different in every situation so always get his perspective.
Better to get God involved at the start than to ask God to sort out your mess!!
4. Why were they ‘kept from recognising him’?
We don’t fully know, but this was an amazing unique time for them, so many questions and so much going on. Chuck Missler believes one reason could be that Jesus looked different because he still bore the scars and wounds from his torture before he was crucified and the torture of the crucifixion itself. If you look at what happened to Jesus in these verses below, this idea may be true...
Psalm 22.16-17 - "...they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display..."
Isaiah 50.6 - "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting."
Isaiah 52.14 - "Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness."
Revelation 5.6 - "Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain..."
But we really don't know what Jesus looked like exactly after the resurrection except that the disciples were kept from recognising him and that he did have the nail pierced hands and feet still. There are also other pictures of Jesus in heaven from Revelation such as the picture of Jesus as fire, with hair like wool and a two-edged sword coming out of his mouth! Jesus was also able to appear in one place and then in another, so time and space were no problem for him - suggesting the same will be true for us with our heavenly bodies (if we believe in Jesus - after we die and go to be with him in heaven and eternity).
Other times, Jesus 'hid' his message - for example from the Pharisees. They were a nasty bunch of hypocrites saying one thing and doing another. They'd criticise someone for not obeying the rules they'd made up, but wouldn't actually care about people at all.
It can also be a strategy for getting the truth out of the people. I remember going to a Carphone Warehouse with a friend in London. My friend went in to ask about a specific new phone (which I already knew a lot about). I pretended not to know anything and the salesman told my friend everything he wanted to hear, but none of it was true. It was unbelievable! So funnily enough we left and refused to buy anything from them! Sometimes by 'hiding' from people, you actually draw them out of themselves and see their true nature!!
Maybe Jesus was testing the hearts of his disciples. While he did tell them off, I think they passed the test as they testified the truth about Jesus when they could have shrunk back in fear!
Let's keep on speaking about Jesus - always in love - but never held back by fear!
5. Emmaus Road ‘steps’ thing
A few years ago, CPO did a set of postcards based on the 'Emmaus Road' to help people think about being on a journey towards knowing Jesus - or even for having a fuller revelation of Jesus. If you click on the PDF you'll see these are like a set of footsteps. Maybe this can help you understand if you're on a journey to getting to know Jesus, or even a journey of your Christian life!
There is something about going on a journey together, sharing life, having the ups and downs and more - that bonds people together. When climbing a mountain one time, we came down the wrong way and then had to re-climb to go back down the right way. God turned it all to good with great views and shared memories. I see this an awesome way of seeing the Christian life - like climbing a mountain, going somewhere, walking, achieving something together as a team.
Another time I did a weekend away at an outdoors place with some students who refused to get involved initially but once they did, they were loving it. This was also an amazing model of life beyond the static stationery church on Sundays with young people going beyond their limits and achieving, growing and having fun too! Imagine if church really was the same way!
The disciples on the Emmaus Road experienced this power of walking and talking with Jesus physically and spiritually.
Walk, talk and climb up to and with Jesus on your Christian life! Isaiah 2.2 - In the last days the mountain of the Lordís temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
6. “But him they did not see”
The two disciples testified about Jesus, they knew the truth yet they hadn’t really met with Jesus and understood him and that is maybe why they didn’t recognize Jesus. We have to get to a place where we don’t just know about Jesus but believe him. Have you made a decision to believe in Jesus, to follow him and to make him the boss of your life? In a world that's full of many 'truths' (how can different things each be a 'truth'?!!) there really is only one truth - Jesus.
But there are also many experts and others around who know about the Bible, Israel, the Greek, the Hebrew, the locations and history of the Bible. But so many of them don't really know or understand Jesus of the Bible. Their search is often just intellectual or about knowledge. Like the women who went to the tomb and found Jesus gone, these people and many others around us, know about Jesus but don't know Jesus - 'him they do not see' !! Most people around us only see 'an empty tomb' and not the risen Jesus! Like the women, our job is go and testify to people about Jesus, to pray for people and to live lives that show Jesus is real.
How do we do this? By asking God to help us and by obeying him and the Bible... The Bible is like a seed (see Matthew 13). It needs to be read, to be 'planted' in our hearts (go deep down inside us). God's Word also builds our faith (Romans 10.17).
Whatever we put inside of us comes out of us - so as we fill up on God, so God pours out from us!
7. “How foolish you are…”
The disciples didn't understand everything that had happened. Jesus told them how foolish they were and how slow to understand. The same is true of us very often in our Christian lives. We're a bit slow, a bit dull and a bit confused. God must both laugh at us and shake his head at us!! One time, one of the girls I know realised that one of the lads really liked her (usually it's the guys who doesn't realise stuff like this!) It was so obvious to everyone else, but the girl didn't seem to have realised! They now make a great couple, but it's probably a bit like that with us and the things God tells us to do!
But it’s also amazing that people approach the subject of faith with such puffed up knowledge in the world today. We have so many experts who reject God and the Bible completely. Even some Christians will say things like 'the Bible is a bit out of date' or come up with theories that 'disprove' the Bible. Yet God wrote the Bible from outside of time for all of time; there are 360 prophecies about Jesus all fulfilled exactly; there are things yet to come which the Bible says will happen! So how can the Bible be out of date?!! It was also written inspired by God - this is the God who created the earth, the plants, animals, humans, rocks, mountains, the planets, the universe all held together perfectly in thousands of ways where if only one was wrong we would be destroyed... I think he probably didn't make a mistake with the Bible!!
1 Corinthians 2.7 - But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
God often does things differently to the world. Jesus came as a little baby to parents on the run, born in a little stable away from his home town and surrounded by animals. He was a man who had nothing in his appearance to attract people to him... If man had come up with a solution to bring people back to God, they would have had some movie star in lights, with thousands of loyal fans, loaded with money, power and good looks.
But here's the thing - God's ways are the best and they always work!
8. The disciples urged Jesus to stay with them.
A statement and a question: the two disciples wanted Jesus to stay with them in the village. They were also happy for Jesus to walk with them and despite their doubts, he didn’t mind walking, talking and staying with them. Do we have this same passion for Jesus and if you were ‘Jesus’ (eg you’d been walking along the road and met these two guys, would they have invited you to walk with you, talk with them and stay with them). Something in Jesus made them want him to stay – would this be the testimony of others who don’t know God about you, about God in you?
Verses 28-31 - The amazing thing about God is that he often hides for us and not from us. People have made this point before, but it's shown really clearly in the story of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. It lets us know that to go deeper with God we often have to just go that little bit further and deeper. We see the same thing spiritually. We can go as 'deep' with God as we want to go because there is no limit or depth to his love, Word or revelations. On the Road to Emmaus, the two disciples didn't know they were walking with Jesus. He then pretended to be carrying on but accepted their invitation to stay with them. What if they hadn't asked Jesus to stay? They would have missed out. It was like Jesus was willing them to ask and then responded. As a result, Jesus revealed himself to them, they were incredibly encouraged and walked back seven miles to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples.
Our faith should always inspire action! See James 2.17-18
9. The Word burned in their hearts.
Can you imagine walking along with Jesus as he delivered his Bible study on the Road to Emmaus! It must have been incredible to have a personal Bible study with Jesus!! Forget every famous 'preacher' on GOD TV or wherever that you know, this must have been the most amazing Bible study ever!
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself
I once went to a Bible study with the leader of a church in Swansea. It was one of the most amazing times as I literally 'sat at the feet' of this very humble guy who explained so many awesome things about the Bible. Another time I went to hear some talks by a man called RT Kendall with a couple of mates. As we left the Bible study with him, it was like our hearts and whole bodies were burning with a kind of spiritual 'fire'. It was amazing. But this is the power of the Bible!! Get the Bible inside you, ask God to speak to you and for his power to burn on the inside of you - not literally as that would be painful, but spiritually - this is exciting!
The Word brings life and brings action. The disciples heard Jesus and instead of staying, they went back to Jerusalem! Jesus brings life and this always brings action, inspiration and motivation! (It was a seven mile walk each way!) What kind of action is God calling you to?
It was only once Jesus broke the bread that the disciples saw him as he truly was - Jesus! You know what, it's only when you accept that Jesus had his body broken on the cross, and believe him that you will truly see him as he is!!
10. Finally, Jesus disappeared!
I also love the fact that Jesus just disappeared – he always has a purpose for things but this is just funny. It also tells us how God does the unexpected - how God does things in amazing, creative and miraculous ways beyond our understanding!
Isaiah 55.8-9 - "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
This also points to the kind of bodies we will have in eternity!! Many people believe that we will be able to travel through time and space easily and instantly. We know through quantum physics that the world we see is less real than the world we don't see! The Bible tells us one day the universe will be folded up like a garment! Ephesians 3 points to the world having 4 dimensions (people think there are at least 10-11 dimensions). In many ways, the Bible has a layer of science within it that scientists are only just beginning to catch up with. Amazing stuff and it shows how Jesus would easily be able to appear in one place and disappear (let alone the fact that he is God and can do all things!!)
Don't even let anyone lie to you that Christianity is dull, boring or for those without a life or brain!