Wednesday, April 20, 2011



As we come to the end of the gospel of Luke there is an intriguing story about an encounter two men have with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

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 only a visitor to Jerusalem and do 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 him they did not see."

These two were disciples of Jesus, meaning that they were part of a fairly large group that were followers of Jesus and His teachings. They had heard the word that the women had initially gone to the tomb and found it empty.

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?"

I love this! Jesus rehearsed all that the Scriptures said concerning Himself. And, while He was speaking to them, they realized that their hearts were burning within them.

NOTE they recognized this was Jesus when He gave thanks and broke the bread in order to distribute it around the table. What was there about this act that tipped them off? Think of it this way. Jesus was a guest at this dinner, yet He acted as the host of the dinner and served them. This is precisely what He did at the last supper at the Passover dinner. He was the honored guest, yet He served them.

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." Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Isn't it interesting that these two disciples didn't recognize Him for quite some time. I've been thinking. Does this happen to us today? I think sometimes the last thing we realize is that Jesus is at work in our lives, right in front of us.

ONE MORE THING: I think something we continually miss is that Jesus is the theme of the Scriptures. He is taught throughout the pages of Scripture. Now here's the problem today. We tend to get side-tracked with detours and distractions about everything other than Jesus in our study of the Scriptures. We tend to add on so many things that are good, but not the best. It's our add-ons that have created our many differences. It's our add-ons that have produced denominations. It's our add-ons that have created division after division within our world.

You see, when you miss the primary point of Scripture, you make everything else the point. It all comes down to one basic truth. Jesus is the uniting factor of truth and life. Jesus brings sense and sensibility to our lives. Bottom-line? JESUS UNITES-EVERYTHING ELSE DIVIDES. No matter where you go in this world or whatever the topic of your discussion, this is the primary truth of life. In fact, the process of understanding the preeminence of Jesus is your road to Emmaus.