Are you a realist? Do you need to see all the facts before you make a decision? That was the way it was with two men who were walking on a road to the town called Emmaus. Luke’s account of the resurrection in Luke 24:1-49 focuses half of its attention on Jesus’ meeting with two men who were walking on the road to Emmaus that resurrection Sunday. We know that one of the men was named Cleopas. As Cleopas and his friend were walking, suddenly Jesus approached them and began to walk with them. They did not immediately recognize Jesus because God prevented them from knowing it was Him. Jesus asked them what they were talking about and Luke tells us they stood there looking sad.
Luke 24:13-17: “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 which 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.”
They had been followers of Jesus and now their dreams of overthrowing Rome and establishing a new Jewish kingdom were over. These men viewed Jesus as a prophet who could perform mighty miracles and healings, and they shared with this stranger how Jesus had been crucified and buried in a tomb. But they also shared how some of the women who went to the tomb that Sunday morning had told them that the body was not there. They also claimed to have seen some angels who told them that Jesus was alive. Even Peter and John confirmed that the tomb was as the women had said it was. But Cleopas and his friend did not really believe what they had heard. They were realists and, wanting to see it to believe it, they demonstrated they had a lack of faith and found the resurrection too difficult to believe.
Jesus then spoke to them with some harsh words. He said: “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?” (Luke 24:25-26). Then Jesus began to instruct them with the teachings of Moses and all the prophets. He explained how the Old Testament spoke about Him and pointed to Him as the Messiah. Then to confirm what He said was true, He suddenly revealed Himself to them and their eyes were opened to recognize Him. After this, He simply vanished.
The Scriptures reveal many things. They teach us about theology and who God is. They instruct us on how to live a God-honoring life. They comfort us with words of encouragement when things are difficult. But we must never forget that both the Old and New Testaments point to Jesus as Savior and Lord. The ultimate question from this portion of Scripture rests in whether you believe this to be true. These two men had a lack of faith. All the evidence was there. Jesus had spoken like no one else. He had performed countless signs and wonders. There were eyewitnesses and even angels who attested to His resurrection. Jesus Himself showed them that the Old Testament Scriptures testified that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, and yet these men were foolish and slow of heart.
How to respond: Do you believe and trust God’s word that testifies that Jesus is the resurrected Lord who takes away the sin of the world, including yours? If you do believe this, spend some time thanking Jesus for His incredible sacrifice and the life you now have as a result. Reflect on the fact that death is not an end of life, but merely a transition to our home with Christ. If you don’t believe this, today is an opportunity to respond to Jesus’ invitation to confess your sinfulness before God and accept the forgiveness that is offered in Jesus’ name. Today, may we all proclaim the glory of Jesus, believing that He is risen; He is risen indeed!
By Rob Miller