Sermon: Road To Emmaus

Written by Timothy

Sermon by Timothy Williams. This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.

The Road To Emmaus
Year 2004

Today we will find out about the road to Emmaus. It is a road that a lot of us will have to walk, and if we are blessed, we will walk it. There will be times in our Christian walk when we are going to think that we have totally missed the mark. And there are many ways that we do miss the mark.

Galatians 2:1-3- Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

An issue arose in Jesus Christ that caused him to reevaluate his whole Christian walk. He had looked at the race and what he had been preaching, and he had to back up a bit. He says he was in fear that he had run his race in vain. There are a lot of times when God calls us back to reevaluate everything that we’ve been doing and takes us to the very bottom so that we might again be built up in him. Let us not be surprised that there will be times when we seem to be smacked in the face and we can’t seem to get oriented. We are not sure what God has in mind. Even though Paul had this revelation to preach the gospel, and God had spoken this to him clearly and directly, he still wasn’t quite sure that he was running the correct race. He was fellowshipping to find out if he was still walking in the truth. The whole nature of the message of the cross and narrow road is that many times we are going to question what we are doing. One of the reasons individuals stay in churches that are false is because nothing is presented that is difficult enough for them to back up and ask if it’s really true. Whereas, with the message of the cross it comes at us so powerfully and so hard at times that we are taken back by it. We have to back up and ask, “Is this really Jesus Christ? Is this what he is about?” There are times of reevaluation, coming to a place of being broken and being reconfirmed again that this is what the message is. I can remember when I first began to walk this walk I got a lot of confrontation. It threw me into all kinds of doubts and concerns. Then I would go back and pray and seek the Lord. He would reaffirm his word to me. I would get more confident and go back out. It was a continual cycle. Here Paul had been running the race for 14 years but was taken back for a moment and asked, “Is this really the gospel? What does it mean to be a Christian?”

Each of us has gone through different situations and circumstances and we have to realize that they are all of God’s hand. He permitted it to happen, but he was overseeing all that took place. Some of us put ourselves in situations because of our stubbornness and our rebellion, but he was watching. He was trying to work good.

Psalms 139:1- For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

We have to realize that God knows every aspect of our lives. He knows how we think, the things that we desire, our fears and our concerns.

Psalms 139:2-5- You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

We have to realize that with all we pass through and all that has happened to us that God’s hand has been there boxing us in, so that no matter where we turned we were still within his influence. He allowed a lot of things to take place in our lives so that we might come to him and get to a place of surrender. We should be able to look back on our walk and our whole life, even with all the mistakes that we have made and be able to say the hand of the Lord was in everything to bring us to him. He wants to mature us and get us out of our sin and ourselves.

Psalms 139:5- You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

We cannot move from his hand. We ought to praise God for that fact.

Psalms 139:6- Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

We are talking about something that we cannot fully understand. If we step back and examine our lives and try to figure out why God allowed certain things to take place, we are not going to fully understand. Even now as you see certain things happen in certain individual’s lives, we have to ask why God allowed things to take place. Such knowledge is too lofty for us. He had his reasons and we cannot even begin to fathom them. All we can do is sit back and praise God that his hand was in it and he’s seeking to save us from ourselves. Jesus Christ has been crucified and is resurrected. The disciples had been with him for many years, had heard his teaching and seen the miracles. These are people who love God. They are zealous for God. We are going to see that they are in total confusion wondering who Jesus Christ is, and what he’s about. Everything has been shaken in their whole Christian walk. They spent three and a half years with Jesus Christ and at the end they are in a complete state of confusion about who he is and what it means to be a Christian. It’s the same thing that happened with Paul. Fourteen years later he wondered if he ran his race completely in vain.

Luke 24:1- On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

It’s typical that the men are staying at home, but the women are out very early in the morning. They are going to Jesus Christ bringing their spices, prayers, and their lives. They brought the fragrance of their love and worship for Jesus Christ. But are they going to the right place? Are they doing the right thing? Do they have a correct understanding of who Jesus Christ is? No, they are 100% wrong in their Christianity. They are bringing their prayers, lives, and spices and going to the tomb, but he’s not there. Had they understood who Jesus Christ was, they wouldn’t have been there at the tomb. Their Christianity is based on something that’s dead and empty. They are going to find out just how wrong they are. So we come to the tomb ourselves with all our assumptions about who Jesus Christ is. We walk up to the tomb. We are thinking and expecting to find Jesus a certain way. We are going to the tomb to examine what Christianity is about and when we get there we find out it’s not the correct Christianity. That’s exactly the conclusion they came to. They had been following Jesus Christ and now they are standing before this tomb fully expecting to find the Christianity they understand. Instead, they find something that is empty. We too, find ourselves many times following Jesus Christ with our own assumptions that have been built up based on scripture, our understanding, or our pastor. We are expecting to stand before Jesus Christ and he’s not there. Now the confusion and frustration sets in and we are not sure what is going on.

Luke 24:2- They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

The very evidence that should have given them great joy caused them the greatest amount of confusion. The very act of God that would demonstrate the Lord’s power, that he’s alive and the gospel is true, blinds them to what the truth is. After this period of following Jesus Christ they should have been able to come to the tomb, find the stone gone and make a right conclusion. “Now I understand and know what the gospel is about. Now I know what the message of the cross and the narrow road is about.” Instead they are thrown into more confusion and frustration.

Luke 24:3- …but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

So they kept examining and searching. They are going inside the tomb and can’t find Jesus. They are trying to grab onto the Jesus they understand. Many of us in our frustration with the message of the cross and what it means to follow Jesus Christ are still trying to grab onto the things of the past that we understand. We still have a preconceived idea about who Jesus is, and we are in the middle of the tomb looking for Jesus Christ. We can’t find him and yet the very evidence that’s throwing us into the confusion is the evidence that should tell us what the gospel is really about. But we can’t see it.

Luke 24:4- While they were wondering about this,

They were trying to figure it out all by themselves. They were rehashing the facts and the information and examining their hearts. No doubt they were praying, “God what is going on. Give us insight.” But they couldn’t come to any correct conclusion.

Luke 24:4- While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

They are in a complete state of confusion and frustration. They are just standing there dazed. You can imagine being there because we have been there ourselves with Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:5- In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

God comes to speak to us, “This is what Jesus Christ and the narrow road are about.” What is our reaction? In our fright we just fall down and say, “This can’t be it. We can’t take it in and process it.” It says that the women bowed down with their faces to the ground. All they could do was respond in this fashion. They are not able to understand what this is all about. Jesus Christ comes along and says you must hate your own life, you must hate your father and mother, and you must walk the narrow road. And we are completely taken back by it because nothing in the past prepared us for the revelation that Jesus Christ is trying to show us. Our hearts were too slow. We were not in a position to take it in. God had to break self in order for us to understand. So we are there at the tomb with our spices, our effort and our works. We are standing there and all we can do is be frightened. How does wisdom come to us? Proverbs shows it comes with a rebuke. So these men ask the women, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” They don’t spell out what the answer is. It’s not laid out in a clear fashion. God is trying to get us to reason and see our hearts and see why we are so slow to understand what the gospel is about. Why do you look for the living among the dead? Examine yourself if you want to understand Jesus Christ. If you want to understand the narrow road then look back and ask, “Why am I looking in all the wrong places?” Why are you here at this place trying to look for this evidence? He is somewhere else completely. We will never find Jesus Christ if we take all of our religious understanding and our ideas of scripture and try to apply that to the narrow road to understand it. We have to look somewhere else to find a living Jesus who will show us what it is to have a resurrected life.

Luke 24:6- He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

Now they are explaining clearly what is going on. Even though Jesus Christ had thoroughly explained to them what was to happen, and what it meant to be crucified and to live a resurrected life, they could not take it in at all. They had come to a completely wrong conclusion. How many times does Jesus Christ come to us and explain things over and over again in great detail so that we should have been able to understand, but we come to the wrong conclusion or act in a completely opposite way of what he really taught us. They had seen and examined the scriptures and were 100% wrong. So it shouldn’t surprise us a lot of times when we go to Scripture, seek God and still come out 100% wrong because self has to be broken.

Luke 24:7-The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.

He is explaining it one more time. How many times does Jesus have to explain this? How many times did he have to demonstrate that it’s true before they will believe and understand it? A lot of times I feel like I’m just a broken record because I have to explain things over and over again. I have to do that because something in our heart needs to die. Self must go. We must begin to get a soft heart that has true understanding. “Remember how he told you when he was with you.” It’s simple and easy to understand. The explanation had been laid out but they still came to the wrong conclusion.

Luke 24:8- Then they remembered his words.

All the evidence of the resurrection and they couldn’t remember anything until they were taught one more time what it meant to follow a resurrected Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:9-11- When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

Again we see everybody in a complete state of confusion and frustration, unable to understand anything about Jesus Christ and be able to praise God for it. They are not even able to give thanks to God for what’s taking place because they don’t understand anything about it. So the women come back with the evidence and the message. They begin to explain the scriptures and lay out all the facts in the most logical fashion they possibly could. “This is what Jesus Christ is about. This is what it means to hate your own life and follow the narrow road,” and it’s spelled out step by step. Line for line it’s explained and shown, yet they still can’t grab hold of what it’s all about. The frustration sets in. Most people will not put up with this kind of frustration. They go and find something easy to understand that will please their flesh. Because in order to get the understanding one must die to self, and be broken and humble. That’s what Jesus Christ is working here.

Luke 24:12- Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Once again, everything had been explained to them. Peter runs to check out the evidence for himself. He wants to see if it’s really the truth. He puts forth all the effort that a man can put forth to find out if this Christianity is really the true Christianity. He goes in and looks at the tomb. All the evidence is there, all the scriptures are there, the women have said so, Jesus told them in the past, he walked with Jesus Christ, and he still can’t figure out what is going on. In the same way, we have things in our lives and we pass through lots of situations. We are extremely frustrated at not being able to understand why God did certain things or why we made certain mistakes. He’s trying to break self, not just give you an intellectual understanding of the events that took place in your life. It says “bending over.” Peter is looking with great zeal and examining with all kinds of effort.

Luke 24:12- Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

He’s getting the facts and checking it out, but he cannot conclude anything. He can’t even have the smallest glimpse of faith that says, “This really is Jesus Christ. This is what he’s really about.” He’s totally beyond himself.

Luke 24:13-14- 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.

We are going to see this a couple of times in Scripture. They are always talking about it. You know how it is when people have doubts and questions, what do they keep doing? They just talk and talk and talk. They examine, ask questions, and go back and forth. Pretty soon everyone is totally frustrated because nobody has any answers and everybody is confused. They are trying to answer 50 questions that they have and 50 questions that everyone else has. They are walking along this road to Emmaus, and they are totally beyond themselves and exasperated. They have completely fallen to the ground in their hearts

Luke 24:14- They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.

They were going over the facts one more time. “Did you see God in this?” “Maybe part of this was true but we misunderstood this,” “No, I think he said this over here.” “Doesn’t the scripture say?” “Yeah, but I don’t know what the context is.” You can just hear the conversation going on and on and on. Anxiety sets in. Why? Because Jesus Christ hasn’t opened up their minds. He hasn’t broken the self that is in them. Once he does, they will have peace. They will have the solidity and surety to say, “This is the gospel, and we will die for it.”

Luke 24:14-15- 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;

They are in a lot of doubt, confusion, and frustration. You can imagine the frustrated way they are talking about this. It’s not a casual conversation. These guys had devoted their life, soul, and heart to following Jesus Christ and in the end it was total disillusionment. It was a complete failure. They had run and deserted the Lord. Judas, one of their friends, had hung himself. These guys are at their wits end. Jesus Christ is right there next to them and he’s going to begin to dialogue with them. He’s going to ask them some questions that will cause even more anxiety and frustration.

Jesus Christ comes to us and we expect to get an answer from him, but we can’t even see that he’s the one talking to us. He begins to ask us more questions. We go into our prayer time and Jesus is whispering in our ears, “What about this issue and doctrine? How does it come out in this situation?” Over and over again God begins to come to us like he came to Job. He says, “Let me ask you a few basic questions about the universe.” If you’ve ever read the end of Job it’s one question after another after another that Job cannot possibly answer. God is right next to us in the dark times, but we are not ready to listen yet. Still he comes to us in love to walk that road with us.

Luke 24:17- He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.

Somebody comes along with the simple question, “What are you talking about?” They are so depressed and wanting to give up that they just stand still, put their faces down and are unable to answer. They don’t even want to go over it again. They are frozen. They don’t know where to go or what to do in God. They are in total shock and are completely taken back. All they know to do is just stand there and put their faces down. That’s it, they totally failed the God whom they loved. They had been serving Jesus Christ for three and a half years, preaching, healing the sick, evangelizing and at the end of it they had all deserted and failed him. Likewise we have been in churches and situations and have been put in places where we should have been serving God, but we completely fail. Then we wonder what the gospel is about. We all must walk the road to Emmaus.

Luke 24:18- One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

Think about who he’s talking to! He’s turning to Jesus Christ and saying, “Don’t you have a clue about what happened to Jesus Christ?” They are totally amazed that somebody hasn’t heard about this and isn’t dealing with it. Yet Jesus is willing to stand before us and let us spout all kinds of nonsense that we might come to the end of ourselves.

Luke 24:19- “What things?” he asked.

Talk to me. Let’s get it out in the open and wrestle before the Lord. Let’s get it solved and get to a place where self is broken that you might have true faith.

Luke 24:19- “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.

He was only a prophet? Do you see how low their faith has sunk? They are not able to turn and say, “He was the son of God. He was resurrected. He was the son of the Father and was going to redeem us. He delivered us from our sins. He worked many things while he was among us to bring us to a place of mercy and grace. Only a prophet? That’s all the insight they have. It’s all they could attain because self had not been broken.

Luke 24:20-21- The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped . . .

They don’t have any hope now. It’s gone. All of their hopes have been dashed to the ground. They don’t understand who this Jesus Christ is. They can’t have any faith in him. It’s not within them to trust Jesus Christ. They are at their complete wits end.

Luke 24:21- 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.

We had hoped this was the truth and this work was of God. We had hoped that this was the way we were supposed to walk. It’s similar to Paul 14 years later saying, “I thought I had run my race in vain and totally missed the mark. I thought everything that had happened to me was false, and I had somehow missed what God was calling me to do.” There are those times when we have to walk that road to Emmaus, when we have to reexamine everything that went on in our life to see whether it is of God or not. Self must be broken that we might fellowship with him.

Luke 24:21- but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.

Obviously, their conclusion was that their hope was in vain. He wasn’t the one who was going to redeem Israel. They are talking to God in faithless talk. Let us be honest in our prayer times with the Lord. Why play games with him? He sees it already. If we doubt some aspect of the gospel, if we don’t understand some scripture, if we are confused and frustrated about the way to walk this, go in and tell God, “I don’t understand this. What’s it all about?” Reason with the Lord. Talk with him and tell him the truth. Pour your heart out at all times.

Luke 24:21- 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.

The very thing that is supposed to give us hope is the thing that causes us not to have hope. That’s how backwards we are. The very fact of the resurrection that is supposed to give them life and faith is the thing that they used to conclude that they are justified in not having hope. So God puts us through all the different circumstances in our life and we come to the end concluding, “Where is God and why doesn’t he care? We thought he was going to redeem us, but now we don’t know. In fact I’ve got all this evidence to prove God wasn’t with us, so how do I know this is true?” There’s a debate raging within their souls. They cannot put this Jesus Christ together. They are walking the road to Emmaus, which is one of total hopelessness.

Luke 24:21-And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.

How many things in our lives are answers to prayer, but the answered prayer is the thing we use to justify our lack of faith. How many events does God put in our lives and we think he is not answering our prayers, yet in reality it is the very way he is answering us. The very thing that Jesus Christ spent three and a half years working towards as the culminating answer to all his prayers, we see as the unanswered prayer thinking somehow God forsook us.

Luke 24:22- In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning

Again, they are talking about the evidence that is supposed to give them faith, and it’s the very thing that’s causing them to doubt.

Luke 24:23- but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.

The very facts of what they are stating demonstrates that Jesus Christ is true. In other words, the message says you have to hate your own life, and hate your father and mother. This is where there’s grace and mercy. This is what God has been leading up to, and now you can really live it. Jesus Christ is resurrected, you’ve gone through the hard discipline, now he’s ready to take you and do some real work and your only conclusion is, “We can’t do anything. This isn’t the answered prayer we wanted. The resurrection is not what we were looking for.”

Luke 24:23-24- 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 him they did not see.

Again, the very facts that they were searching out were the evidence that they should believe in Jesus Christ, but they came to the totally wrong conclusion.

Luke 24:25- He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

How foolish we are indeed. How full of self-pity and complaining about the way God acts that we can’t see his wisdom, and we can’t see him acting. All we can see is the misery we are going through, the doubts we have or the way that God didn’t come to us on our terms. We demand that God be what we want him to be. We really don’t want him to be God.

Luke 24:2 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

Jesus Christ wants us to believe with our heart, not with an intellectual understanding. He wants us to stand up and say, “This is the truth,” and have it come from deep within the heart, not the head. If it’s from the head you’ll be trapped and taken in by other people. If your understanding of Jesus Christ is a belief from your head then somebody else will win you over because there’s always someone who can outmaneuver you in terms of logic. There’s always some aspect that we cannot answer or understand. Someone comes along with a fine sounding argument and we begin to believe him or her because God has not won our hearts. God wants to win our hearts. Let me give you an example. I love my wife with my heart. So even if a man comes to me and has all this evidence that she’s a vile woman and in her past were all kinds of things I didn’t know, it wouldn’t make any difference because I love her with my heart. Though a man might present to me all the evidence in the universe that Jesus Christ is a fake and a liar, it would not matter to me one iota because I love him with my heart. This is why Jesus Christ says in the end times that even the elect would be deceived if that were possible. But the elect cannot be deceived because they don’t listen to mere words. Somebody can come in the name of Jesus Christ and heal a whole hospital, but if it’s a different gospel and a different Jesus Christ it doesn’t matter. My heart is in love with the Jesus I know. It’s not an intellectual debate I’m in with people, it’s my heart I’m exposing and laying out. This is how I preach, what I believe, and what’s in my heart, not what I can intellectually put together. My mind is going to fail me, indeed even my heart will, but love must ring out. That’s what sustains us.

Luke 24:25- He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

This isn’t some minor doctrinal question we’re talking about. Look at what he says, “All of scripture supports what I am telling you and how slow you are to believe.” All of scripture declares that we should walk a narrow road. When people have the cross revealed in their heart they say, “I see it everywhere in scripture.” This isn’t some minor thing that we are debating or some issue that we can set aside. It’s everywhere. The whole universe rings of it.

Luke 24:26- Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?

He explains it one more time. He keeps on explaining until their hearts are dealt with.

Luke 24:27- And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

The crucified life is everywhere. It’s all of what Jesus Christ is about. For someone to say that Jesus Christ only mentioned hating your own life one time is utterly absurd. His whole life was a living testimony. Everything he did was a demonstration of hating his life. Yet it’s the very thing that draws us back to think, “Maybe that’s not real Christianity.”

Luke 24:27- And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets,

That means we can look at all scripture through the eyes of the cross and find the truth of Jesus Christ in all scripture.

Luke 24:27- . . . he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

The message of the cross and the crucified life is everywhere. It is in every scripture we look at and everything we examine because he is in everything.

Luke 24:28- As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther.

So many times Jesus Christ comes to us to give us the answers whether by his Spirit or whatever circumstances he arranges, and he acts like he’s going on by. But we let him go on by. We are busy with our routine, with the day, or with our self-pity. We are busy nursing all the things we enjoy and taking hold of the world. We let him walk on by. There are a lot of people right now sitting at home doing their church thing but they have let Jesus Christ walk on by.

Luke 24:29- 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.

We have to stop and urge Jesus Christ to stay with us. We have to say, “I want these answers, and I will not let go.” God wants to weed out those who have a lukewarm love for God. He acts like he doesn’t care, he’s not going to be with them and he’s not going to explain anything to them. He says, “See you guys later,” and starts to pass by. He’s taking the blessing and moving on.

Luke 24:29- 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.

They plead, begged, and urged. Are we doing the same thing to God? Are we taking the time to say, “I want the answers”? The day is about ready to disappear. The time of work, labor, and understanding is about ready to end. It’s almost evening. As scripture says, “The days are evil.” I need to know the answers now. They don’t make arrangements for Jesus Christ to come back a week from today. They don’t say, “We’ll get together when it’s convenient. Or how about we do lunch tomorrow.” These guys are hungry and thirsty. They are not going to let him move on. They are going to demand that he come back. The hunger within them is so strong that they will not let Jesus Christ walk on by. I know a lot of people right now who are just letting him walk on by. It’s almost as if Jesus says, “See you later,” and he goes a little further and says, “See you later,” and nobody responds. Nobody says, “No, don’t go.” They just say, “Bye. See you. Yeah, I have these doubts and concerns and struggles, but I’m not going to labor to find the answers. I’m not going to come out of myself enough to wrestle with it. I’m not going to take the time to sit down and come to a conclusion on the issue. See you.” Jesus Christ just keeps on walking.

Luke 24:30-31- 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.

When the communion is there and the breaking of bread, their eyes are opened. When they eat of his flesh and drink of his blood, when they partake of that close communion with the Lord, their eyes are opened, and then he disappears. How many of us will whine and complain, “I want the answers.” We just had all the answers. He just showed you who he was. You don’t need any more explanations. The last thing they needed was a bunch of talk. Now they see who Jesus Christ is. Now it’s within their hearts and souls. No man can take that from them.

Luke 24:32- 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?”

Was there not a deep, heart-felt, down in the soul confirmation that this was the truth? This is what Jesus Christ is about. Deep inside there was a hope as they were thinking, “Yeah, this is it. Oh, I hope it’s really true.” Inside their hearts were burning as they realized that the gospel is true and Jesus is the Christ.

Luke 24:33- They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.

They were walking to Emmaus, that road of hopelessness and despair. They were walking away from Jerusalem saying, “We had hoped he was the king. We had hoped he was the redeemer. But he wasn’t. We give up. We’re not going back to Jerusalem ever again. This was a waste of time. We forsook everything, we walked the narrow road, and yet we failed him miserably. He is dead. I don’t know what this Christianity about, and I am not going to go to church ever again. I am certainly not going to trust another man or fellowship with anyone again. Look what Judas did. We trusted him as a brother and then he winds up stealing, betraying and hanging himself. I am never going to trust or love anybody again.” But in verse 33 they got up. You have to pick yourself up. Though a righteous man falls seven times he gets up and moves on.

Luke 24:33- They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.

They are going to return to Jerusalem where they should have never moved from in the first place. They should have never been walking down that road.

Luke 24:33- There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together

The body that was scattered is now beginning to fellowship again. Those few who did fellowship had all kinds of doubt and anxiety. Now they are coming together with some hope. It’s beginning to dawn on them slowly but surely that this is what Jesus Christ is about. The church is beginning to be formed, people are beginning to understand; they are starting to get a joy and a little bit of hope. They are saying, “Yes, we see. He’s appearing. Now I get it! He’s for real.” It’s faith in action and we have to understand that. If we want to know if he’s true or not, we have to get up at once and go back to Jerusalem to seek him. You’ll never find it by hiding in the corner of your house.

Luke 24:33-34-They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”

This is the true gospel. But can these men go from being totally down in the dumps from the dregs of the bottomless pit to saying, “It’s true!” That’s exactly what Jesus Christ wants us to do. When we finally reach to the bottom of self and he can come along and crucify us, you will rise up and say, “Now I know what the gospel is!” Do you know why? Because you haven’t heard it from a man’s lips or read it in a book, you have experienced it! You have seen the resurrected Jesus Christ. You have partaken of his flesh, you have eaten the bread and you know it to be true. But as long as this is an intellectual discussion about what it means to follow Jesus Christ, as long as it’s just a fine sermon to understand, you’ll never be able to stand up and say with conviction, “This is life and this is true.” Again this is why these men will never be taken in by other men because now they have seen him who is true and they have experienced him.

Luke 24:34- …and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”

There’s a theme that is running through this whole story. They heard from men first and then Jesus Christ reveals himself. When people insist, “I just want to hear from God,” it can cause them to miss it all.

Luke 24:4- While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

They are hearing the good news through men, even though they are angels. God is trying to show us that in every case he uses evangelism through other men to spread the good news. That doesn’t mean God won’t come to them, because he indeed will. But the introduction is a man telling another man that it’s true. In the same way, we are to go around telling other people; “He is alive. This is the gospel and the resurrected truth. This is the narrow road and the living word of God.” If they have soft hearts and love Jesus Christ, he will appear to them and confirm that it’s true. If they do not have soft hearts or care anything about Jesus Christ, if they want to please themselves, they will never come to an understanding. They will never get it by sitting in a little room and having the God of the universe say, “I am privileged enough to come down and tell you about it.” If you can’t humble yourself before man to be taught, you will not listen to the living God.

Luke 24:35- Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

When did they recognize who Jesus Christ was? They themselves testified that when he broke the bread their eyes were opened and they saw Jesus Christ clearly. The only way to understand this message is to live it.

John 6:53-57- Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”

The only way a man will know if this gospel is true or not is if he is feeding upon Jesus Christ, if he is stepping out to live this life. If he says, “I will deny myself in this and follow Jesus Christ. I will pick up the cross and hate my life,” then he’ll experience the message. The only way you’ll understand is to eat the very flesh and drink the very blood of Jesus Christto participate in his character and let him be in you. The only way they will ever come to understand what it is to follow a resurrected Jesus Christ is to do it. This is when their eyes were opened and it’s when our eyes will be opened also. But as long as we hold on to our doubts, questions, concerns, and “valid reasons” for not getting involved, we will never come to understand. The day we step out to live this then our eyes will be opened and all things will be clear.

Luke 24:36- While they were still talking about this, . . .

This is where Jesus comes plainly and clearly. As they begin to talk about communing, the Lord’s Supper, eating his flesh and drinking his blood, then it all makes sense. When we begin to talk clearly about the cross, as we come to our first understanding of what it means to follow Jesus on the narrow road, then he comes to speak to us more clearly about it.

Luke 24:36- While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

He comes to explain and give understanding. He comes with peace and joy because they are talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. They are confirming it’s true. Their faith is alive.

Luke 24:37- They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.

These guys always think they are seeing a ghost with Jesus Christ. They still have a long way to go. They have already used this ghost excuse how many times. Every single time that Jesus comes in some new way they are taken back by it. They are startled. “This is what you’re about?” We tend to do the same thing. “Yes, Jesus Christ appeared to me, and this is what the crucified life is about.” We explain it all in the fine ways that we can. We are proud of ourselves that we’ve got the message down. We can explain this hating message to other people, until Jesus Christ appears for us to actually live it. Then we are startled and are surprised that he’s really taking it seriously.

Luke 24:37- They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.

They can’t lay hold of who Jesus is. He’s not solid to them yet. They still have to examine and wrestle. They are still not quite sure about it. It’s still not tangible to them.

Luke 24:38- He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?

Think about the character of the sinful nature. Here is God standing among them. A grand miracle is taking place and the words he comes with are not harsh or rebuking. He simply says, “Peace be with you,” and they are startled, frightened and think it’s a ghost. That is their reaction. How many times does God come to speak to us about who he is? He comes with peace, he comes speaking of love, and he comes with grace. Yet we are startled, taken back by it and think it’s something frightening that we should run from. It’s no wonder that when the cross is presented to people they go to find something else that will be a little bit easier to take. Because when people are frightened their first instinct is to run and get out of the situation. What we preach is a very scary thing. What we live is an extremely dangerous thing. It’s full of all kinds of pitfalls. It takes real faith and perseverance. At first we are taken back by it thinking, “This is a ghost,” and it causes us a great deal of trouble. Even after he has revealed it to us. Even after we have a glimpse or agree with it. I can’t tell you the number of people who have talked about the crucified life and then when God brings it to them they are totally taken back by it. It’s one thing to talk about but it’s another thing to experience it.

Luke 24:38-39- He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

All the miracles that they had experienced in the past and all their doctrinal understanding did them no good. They were still frightened. All their Bible reading did them absolutely no good, did it? We have to touch him, drink his blood, eat his flesh, and partake of his nature. We have to move beyond the ink on pages and go to the living God. We have to touch his wounds and participate ourselves in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. We have to be able to show other people our own wounds and to say, “This is what it means to follow Jesus Christ.”

Luke 24:40- When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

What does he show them? His wounds. That’s why Romans says “if” we share in his sufferings we will share in his glory. We should be able to turn to people and say, “See the wounds in my hands and feet. See how I walked this walk. Witness the labor of my hands for Jesus Christ and the wounds it has produced.” To one degree or another we should be able to say, “I share in all of these things.”

Luke 24:40-41- When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it . . .

Slow is an understatement for most of us. But he still keeps coming in love and he still keeps persevering with us. Let us persevere a little bit with him. Yes, it’s taken Jesus Christ years with some of us to show us who he is. Then let us return the favor and persevere with him even when we don’t understand who he is and what he is about. Let us not give up and let him walk on by or let other people do the same thing to themselves.

Luke 24:41- And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”

Now their unbelief is just a little bit more than self-pity. Now they are experiencing some real growth. Now they have joy and amazement. They have an understanding and see what Jesus Christ is about. They are so excited about it that they can’t really fully believe what it’s about.

Luke 24:42-44- They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

All of Scripture declares this to be true. It is everywhere that we look. It’s not hidden in some corner. It’s not a secret revelation or some big mysterious thing that only one man can get. It is seen in every part of scripture. If we too will let Jesus Christ crucify our flesh we will see it everywhere.

Luke 24:45- Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

He had to explain it over and over again, but this verse says he opened their minds so they could understand. Why? Because they had reached the end of self. Why didn’t he open their minds when they first started their walk? It would have been a lot easier, wouldn’t it? He first calls Peter who is fishing with his father and says, “Come follow me.” Then about half an hour later he could have said, “Let me open your mind so you can understand the Scriptures.” Why didn’t he do it then? Because self had to go. Let’s say that Peter would have had his mind opened so he could understand all scripture, was he humble enough to deal with such wisdom? How many men do we know that get all puffed up in wisdom but they are really demons of men anyway because pride and self have not been broken? They use it for their own glory. How many rebukes did they have to go through so self could be broken? How much did they have to go through so their opinions could be crucified? How much did they have to go through so they would no longer demand that God act in a certain way in their life? So often you see people reaching out to other people, and they have a certain idea of how that should be done. We block God every single time that we come with a preconceived notion as to how God should or shouldn’t act. That’s just one small aspect of what it means to be dead to self.

Luke 24:46- He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,”

He’s explaining it one more time! Do they ever get the clue? They have never turned and said, “Ok, we get it!” No, he has to explain it over and over again, bring them to the end of self, open their minds and then finally they are going to catch on.

Luke 24:47- …and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

We don’t have time to look at it today, but notice that the gospel is repentance and forgiveness. Most people like to preach forgiveness but no repentance. Then there are groups that like to preach repentance but no forgiveness.

Luke 24:48-49- You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

Instead of running around in all your doubts and confusion about which way to go, and not understanding what Jesus Christ wants you to do, go back and wait until he gives you power. Before they would constantly act and constantly do things for God. Now they have learned if he says wait, they better wait. More than that, they want to wait.

Luke 24:49-50- “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” When he had led them out. . .

Now they are going to follow like sheep following the shepherd. Now they are walking with him, one in heart and mind. Their minds are opened, their hearts are broken, and their spirits are alive.

Luke 24:50- When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.

What a thing to hear. What a restoration this is. All the mistakes they made in the past, all the foolish things they did, and all the ways they were hemmed in to show their foolishness became a source of blessing. How many quit following and will never ever hear the blessing. Yes, we have all made tremendous amounts of mistakes. We have made wrong assumptions about God, we have missed the mark in every way that is imaginable for men to miss the mark. But if we will persevere, walk this road and go out where he leads, the last thing we will hear is him lifting his hands to heaven and blessing us.

Luke 24:50- When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.

If we want to hear the blessing, then let’s go where he is. Let’s go to the mountain where he has ascended. If want all our mistakes and past redeemed, let us admit that they are mistakes, that we don’t understand, that we didn’t understand, and that we failed in every single way. We need him to open our minds and hearts so we can understand scripture. He will lead us out and the last thing we will see and hear in our hearts is him blessing us.

Luke 24:52- Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

No one can take that away because they had gotten to the end of self. They let go of every excuse, no matter how small. Every justification, every reason and all the talk of trying to find good in all the things they did in the past, they finally let go of. They began to eat his flesh and drink his blood and fall down before him. They are emptied of self. They are ready to be taught and are ready for the new life.

Luke 24:53- And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Let’s just read Psalm 116. I’m not going to go into much commentary. This is what God will work if we will walk this road.

Psalms 116:1-19-I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, save me!” The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. I believed; therefore I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”

Let us speak to the Lord and tell him we are greatly afflicted.

Psalms 116:11 And in my dismay I said, “All men are liars.”

Let us tell God that we are liars and we can trust no one.

Psalms 116:12-13- How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.

In his dismay, turmoil, and depression he lifts up the cup of salvation.

Psalms 116:14-19- I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD—in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.

No doubt this is what these men were singing and praising the Lord for. Let us be a people that walk the same road and see a resurrected Jesus.

Let’s pray:

Father, come to each of us and when it looks like you are going to pass us by and leave us, may we plead with you and beg you to come and stay. We ask this, Oh Lord, not that we might gain something from you but that we might fall in love with you. And in every way, your name would be glorified. We lift up to you the cup of salvation and we will tell the people everywhere that this is the good news. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. The original audio tape can be ordered free of charge by contacting Sound Doctrine Ministries.


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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.