12 Then after this, He appeared in a different form to two of them walking on their way into the country. 13 And they went and reported it to the rest, who did not believe them either.
13 Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged. 18 The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” He asked them. So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said 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 they didn’t see Him.” 25 He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. 28 They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. 29 But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. 32 So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”
In a recent episode of the television show Perceptions, the main characters encountered people who experienced “temporary blindness.” The episode revolved around the way people see but don’t see what happens all around them.
Have you ever bumped into someone at Publix or Kroger while you were looking intently for something on the shelves? Have you missed someone walking directly in front of you in the office? Have you driven for a while and then realized you had no memory of the last three or four minutes?
How is it we live our lives with things going on all around us in plain sight but we’re blind to them?
Our biblical text for today gives us one of the most familiar stories in the New Testament. The disciples of Jesus were mourning his death and starting to head back to their homes. Their dreams of the coming Kingdom of God were crushed.
Two of these disciples, Cleopas and his friend, were headed home to Emmaus. They were talking and arguing with each other about what had happened in Jerusalem the last few days (verse 14).
While walking along, they came upon a stranger who asked them why they were arguing. They couldn’t believe he’d not heard about the events of Jerusalem and Jesus' death. They related to him everything that had happened, including his crucifixion, his death, and the reports of the empty tomb.
Verse 16 simply says they were prevented from seeing that they were talking to Jesus. Clearly they knew of him, and as disciples, they would’ve heard him preach and teach. Yet, there was something that kept them from recognizing him.
Were they blinded by grief, fear, or sadness? That they were arguing with each other when Jesus walked up suggests they couldn’t agree on what had happened in Jerusalem.
Jesus pointed to the root of their problem. He chastised them for not remembering Scripture and the way it spoke of what would happen to him. It’s significant to note that their lack of scriptural knowledge kept them from realizing who was walking with them along the road.
A memorable moment in the story occurs in verse 32. They suddenly realized how their hearts were ablaze as Jesus explained Scripture to them. He was right before their eyes and they hadn’t seen him. It wasn’t until he broke bread with them that they realized just who it was they had been walking with them.
In times of need, we wring our hands and wonder what God will do and how He’ll act. If we knew the witness of Scripture more fully, then we’d know how God acts and what He does when people are in need.
Our own failure to know Scripture and understand the character of God often places us in situations where we don’t see God at work among us. Nothing substitutes for daily study of God's Word to know Him.
The next time you’re traveling down an Emmaus Road in your life, leaving a time of great difficulty, remember that God doesn’t hide in plain sight. He waits for you in Scripture. Turn to His Word and read. In the most difficult roads of your life, remember that it can be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105).
- Do you find that you’re so distracted by what’s on your mind that you don’t see what happens around you? Could that impact the way you see God at work in your life?
- Has there ever been a time when you discovered God had been at work and you missed it? What did you learn from that experience? Has it helped you to be more sensitive to the activity of God?
- How much time do you spend reading Scripture? How familiar are you with the stories of the Bible? When you “hide God's word in your heart” (Psalm 119:11), does it help you make better decisions and does it make you more confident about how God works in your life?