3 Lessons Learned on the Road to Emmaus

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 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. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 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. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 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. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 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. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 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?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. Luke 24:13‑35 (NIV)

Why didn’t these two disciples recognize Jesus Christ? We could come up with any number of reasonable ideas. Humanly speaking, we don’t have the means to see God unless He lets us see Him. The Bible tells us that “no one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18, NIV).

These disciples were talking about the crucifixion and everything that had happened to Jesus. But when they broke bread together, like when they had communion in the upper room, they recognized the peaceful presence of Jesus with them. It was the Lord—He had risen, but “but they were kept from recognizing him” (v. 16). Why?

Jesus explained in the upper room, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:26–28, NIV).

The sacrifice of Christ opened the door of fellowship with God for us. The disciples are an example for us. They didn’t understand how God was working in all the events that happened, but through Jesus, they could “go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him,” and that verse goes on to say, “For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean” (Hebrews 10:22, NLT).

The story makes clear two other aspects of Christian faith that we need to cultivate. One, the Bible is our resource to see Christ at any time. We can read it, even memorize it, so Christ is with us always. The additional thing that Luke wants us to see is that spending time with Jesus, as they did, causes us to love one another. “They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together” (v. 33).

So, three things come clear with the resurrection of Christ. We have fellowship with God through the sacrifice of Christ. We’ll find Jesus in the Word of God. We are to love one another and share all the good things that we learn from Christ.