(This series was originally posted in October 2011 on my personal blogsite. We thought we would share it with you all this resurrection week.)
This week we are taking a walk with two disciples and Jesus. During this walk, we will explore seven lessons from the story of the Road to Emmaus. Our text for the week is from The Message translation of Luke 24:13-32.
That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.
He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”
He said, “What has happened?”
They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”
Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.
They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.
Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”
— Luke 24:13-32 (The Message)
Jesus shows up on the road. They don’t know who He is. As far as they know, He is just another traveler heading back home from Passover in Jerusalem. Yet, there’s something different about this Stranger who starts talking to our two friends. He doesn’t seem to know what has happened in Jerusalem in the last few days.
Lesson 2: Don’t assume everyone knows about Jesus
The two disciples were making an assumption that everyone knew about Jesus. They tell Jesus, “Where have you been?” “Were you not in Jerusalem?” “The whole town is talking about it, and you don’t know?” We cannot make the assumption that everyone knows about Jesus.
This puts pressure on the Christ-follower to live a life that points to Jesus – both in word and deed. These two men were walking down the road having a conversation about who they had believed Jesus to be. Others would undoubtedly have heard their conversation. Yet, their conversation – of despair and disappointment – doesn’t appear to be one that would point others to Jesus. They’re two friends chatting about the bad things that have happened.
“I can’t believe He wasn’t the Messiah.”
“Do you remember when he raised Lazarus from the dead? The women said that he was alive. Maybe?”
“Why didn’t He just use His power to stop them from killing him?”
“Why couldn’t we have spent Passover in Nazareth instead of Jerusalem?”
Their conversation was likely not one that would point others to believe in the Messiah.
How about your conversations?
How about your examples?
Do others see the Messiah in you?
You can’t live your life assuming that everyone knows who Jesus is. You have to live your life – in word and deed – assuming that no one knows who Jesus is, and assuming that you are the only way they will ever find out. Jesus calls us to be witnesses for Him. Sometimes, this witness is merely in how we act. At other times, it means we speak. At all times, it means we keep Jesus as the central focus of our lives.