I love to hike and if there was ever a hike in the Bible that I would have loved to taken, it would have been this walk to Emmaus. Although the scene starts out on a discouraging note, there is a great ending! This story shows us two of Jesus’ followers who thought that Jesus’ career and message had been defeated and discredited. They were fearful and their hopes were dashed…the Jesus they knew and followed had died on the cross.
“And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things that had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?’ And they stood still, looking sad.” Luke 24:13-17
These two men missed, like most everyone else, the message that Jesus was trying to communicate while He was here on this earth. They had preconceived ideas about who the Messiah was to be and what He was to do. They thought that He would come as a conquering king who would deliver Israel from the domination of the Roman Empire. However, Jesus death on the cross appeared to be the end of their hope.
As these men were walking a stranger joins them and walks with them. When He leaves them, they are changed forever. Jesus appeared as a stranger, a fellow-traveler along the road, and asked what they were talking about, and why they looked so sad? They shared the reasons for their distress. Jesus answered, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then He began to lead them in the mother of all Bible studies, beginning with Moses, and explained all the Scriptures. As soon as they recognized Him as Jesus, He vanished from their eyes. I love this verse that was recorded as they saw clearly, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us…” (Luke 24:32)
Jesus’ message drove all discouragement and doubt from their minds! Their heavy hearts were set ablaze. As Jesus walked and talked with them, God lit a fire of understanding in their minds! They were so pumped that they rushed back up to Jerusalem to tell their friends about this stranger. So the long discouraging walk to Emmaus now became a joyous run to Jerusalem with renewed strength and encouragement.
There are times I have to ask forgiveness for my unbelief and spiritual dullness. Sometimes I have taken so long to grasp what is so clearly explained in God’s Word. Sometimes my pride has prevented me from believing His promises. And sometimes it is my own unwillingness to read and value the truths in the Bible. Today’s text is such an encouragement as I can read about a journey from despair to faith…a heavy heart to exuberant joy!