Scripture – Luke 24:13-35 (ESV)
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 196 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some 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.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Engaging the Word
Here in this passage of scripture we are confronted with an authentic moment of our Lord and Savior meeting men and women in their moment for the purpose of revolutionizing their lives in ways that they could never imagine. These two men have just experienced a time in their life that they did not know what to do with. Our Lord had just died on the cross and had been buried for three days. The women had just come back to the disciples pointing out that Jesus was no longer in the tomb and that He had risen. Peter goes off to check that the women hadn’t gone mad and were actually telling the truth only to find the tomb empty. Peter returns home in verse 12 marveling at what had happened but not able to fully grasp the significance of what God had done. These two men as it says in verse 13, then leave the disciples that day and begin to make their way to Emmaus which was about 7 miles from Jerusalem. These two guys are busy chatting about all that had gone on, probably trying to put all that had happened into some sort of perspective.
So our Lord then joins the picture of these men, stunned by all that had happened, in verse 15 but as he joins them He keeps their eyes closed from recognizing who he is. As I read this verse 16, I had to ask myself why did our Lord close the eyes of these two men? Why did he not reveal the truth as he did through the angels to the women, as he does to the disciples later on. This morning, I would like you to consider the same question, why did our Lord not reveal himself to these two men?
So our Lord is walking with these men, havening a conversation and Cleopas turns to our Lord in verse 18 and “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” As our Lord heard these words from this follower of Jesus, his heart must have just sunk. Knowing both the hearts and minds of these men and all that He had done, all that He had gone through to save these men and all of mankind, they are questioning how informed He was? Our Lord knew exactly what had happened and He knew exactly what these men were thinking when they placed what had happened into the context of what they believed had happened. If we look at this moment of time it is easy for us to want to ask this very same question to these men. Do you know what has just happened? If anyone is uniformed it is these two men. Yet in this moment, our Lord has patience with these men and let’s consider their openness to the informing spirit of God.
Today as we dig into this passage, we will see that there three (3) elements evidenced in the life of these men. These elements are critical to the life of the believer and are essential to experiencing the fullness of Christ in our lives. These elements are;
- A Teachable spirit.
- An Experiential conviction of soul.
- A Searching heart.
A Teachable spirit
The first element of a Christ-like disciple is a teachable spirit. So, what is a teachable spirit? Isaiah 64:8 put it this way, “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” In other words, a teachable spirit is one who is open to the Spirit of our Lord in our lives. It is one who is willing to give God full reign over our lives so that He can remove the sinful, burdensome furniture in our spiritual homes. Our Lord in his patience within this passage takes the time to wake these men from their spiritual slumber just as He takes the time to wake each of us from our spiritual slumber so often. Unfortunately, often men and women of God too easily get comfortable in their spirituality. We too often become entrenched in our “informed” religious perceptions which are developed by how we define our Savior, how He speaks, what He says, how He acts, who He heals, and unfortunately how He saves. These concepts have no substance found within His person or the scriptures, they are mere grasped to make us feel more comfortable. However, the one thing that we need to understand is that Jesus did not come to do what He did on the cross so that you and I could get comfortable with religion. He came not to bring a comfortable seat but truth and salvation. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 10:34 ““Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’37“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” As it is illustrated in Matthew and again here in Luke our Lord did not come to give us salvation and hope for tomorrow so that we could become comfortable. Rather our Lord came so that we could experience the Holy of Holy’s so that we can experience the fullness of His presence in a such a real way that we are overwhelmed by his love, his grace, his conviction, his encouragement, his chastisement, all that He is as our Savior. This morning, have you become comfortable spiritually or do you strive to experience the removal of the burdensome furniture in your life? This means a willingness not only to allow our Lord to change what is in our hearts but the actions and words of our lives. Today we need to be informed by the presence of our Lord in such a real way that at times it is uncomfortable or have we relegated our Savior to a comfortable portion of our spiritual home? Our Lord desires to shake our lives us just as he did that day to those two gentlemen on the road to Emmaus.
An Experiential conviction of soul – A Prophet or More?
So our Lord having patience with these men continues with them as they begin to explain in verse 19, that Jesus of Nazareth was a prophet mighty in word and deed. You may be asking yourself, what is an experiential conviction of soul? An experiential conviction of soul is the delineating difference between an individual who hears and speaks God’s Word and those who live God’s Word. Jesus Christ desires to reveal himself to us today not just as another prophet but as our Lord and Savior. You might be saying well pastor I don’t look at Jesus Christ as just a prophet but rather as my Lord and Savior. Let’s just for a moment consider the significance what had gone before these men before we are quick to check this off in our spiritual box.
In verse 21, we see as these men point out that our Lord was the one that they had hoped would redeem all Israel. It is evident that these men were at least somewhat familiar with the prophecies of the promised Messiah. They had probably heard the words “you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2) They had probably also heard many other prophecies and even if they hadn’t they may have heard the words of our Lord out of Luke 9:22 “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and the third day be raised”. Surely with the evidence placed before these men in the prophecies given through the prophets of God or even by our Savior, they would embrace the truth that our Lord was more than just a prophet but the promised Messiah. In verse 22 we see as these two men not only understand the promised Messiah but that they had been a part of the company that had received the women when they had come back from the tomb. In verse 22 it says that they were amazed by the truth that was revealed to them, yet still they did not embrace the truth. It was as if these men were living the truth out of Mark 8:18, having eyes they do not see, having ears they do not hear. These men had not only heard the words of our Lord, seen what He had done, but had been there to experience the truth that was given through the women. Through all of this yet, these men still did not embrace the truth of our Lord.
So how does this translate into our world of today? Well, when you and I get up from today’s service, does our life reflect his molding presence? Do our actions both in public and private reflect actions that could be placed upon the big screen for all the world to see. Can the thoughts of our minds be printed upon the newspapers of today because they reflect the substance of Jesus Christ? We sing the words, all to Jesus I surrender, but do we live the words experientially as convicted souls for Christ?
A Searching Heart – Experiencing Communion
Unfortunately, it is so easy for us as Christians to look at these men and quickly chalk their spiritual blindness to unbelief. Yet if we consider the evidence that these men had illustrated for us, it is evident that too often as believers we struggle with the same comfortable situations in our lives. Our Lord had covered the eyes of these men so that the spiritual eyes of these men might be healed. However, as we look at this passage closely it is evident that experience these same moments in our own lives. How often in our lives do we understand the scriptures, know the Word of God in our lives but struggle to experience it within our lives? How often do we look at scriptures like;
- Anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires (James 1:20)
- Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife (Proverbs 21:19)
- Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3:15)
And yet we quickly place them within the context of the scripture and fail to embrace experientially in our lives as believers. These are not just scriptures of the tongue or Sunday mornings but are rather scriptures of the heart. For all is known by our Lord and He desires to take the scales from our eyes so that we might just hear or read the truth of our Lord but actually live the truth in every aspect of our lives.
So what does it mean to experience life as a searching heart after Christ? A searching heart lives to experience the heart of God and resides in communion. Have you ever considered what it says about us when we see the miracles of our Lord in the lives of others and are amazed by the work of our Lord just like these men were by the women from the tomb, but struggle to live the same experience within our own lives? It is so easy for us to say praise the Lord or amen to those who have experienced the hand of God in their lives, but do we strive to experience the hand of God in our own lives. One scripture that I have held to over the past 5 to 10 years of my live as I have entered into ministry is the truth from our Lord that “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) These are words that we look at as Christians and too easily push to the side because we are unwilling to press into the presence of God that will reveal this truth in our lives. Today do we earnestly desire to experience the power and presence of God in our lives or are we okay with relegating God to comfortable place in our spiritual lives.
Conclusion – A Heart on Fire
As I have been praying and preparing for this sermon, I was struck by the awakening of these men’s souls that happened in this moment. It says that in this moment as our Lord sat down with them at the table and broke and blessed the moment of communion with them, they recognized Him and it is in this they illustrate that their hearts had burned within them in verse 32. Imagine the moment of experience with their Savior in this moment. Imagine what this means for us. Our Lord desires to reveal himself to us as our Savior, not as just a prophet, but one who changes, molds and creates our lives in ways that we could never imagine. Our Lord desires to do greater things in and through us if we will just allow Him to wash the hardening religious scales from our eyes. Today if we desire to have the hardened religious scales washed from our eyes this requires, a Teachable spirit. This requires an experiential conviction of soul. This requires a searching heart after the presence and purpose of God. It is here that we can experience the miracle of all salvation. It is here that we can experience the promise of His presence. It is here that we can experience eternal hope.