Ever walking alongside us; Devotional Commentary for April 8-14
As we observed in last week's devotional meditation, Peter, john, and the women were confused about the empty grave and Jesus' missing body. It was not just them. The entire company of believers was overwhelmed with doubt. Two more disciples were so distraught that they left the company of believers and started for home. The journey to Emmaus was already in progress. The two disciples continued their conversation with the stranger who just joined them as they made their way to the village.
25Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are! You’re so slow to believe everything the Prophets said!
26Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
27Then he began with Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets to explain to them what was said about him throughout the Scriptures.
Following his record of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Luke draws our attention to the story of two distraught disciples. Overwhelmed by grief and despair, these two disciples left Jerusalem and their brethren, and returned home thoroughly convinced that their hope in Jesus was thrust into oblivion. They went back home to Emmaus to the old and familiar world they left behind, looking for consolation.
On their way home, a stranger joined their conversation as a passenger on the same road and asked them what they were talking about. It was Jesus, the risen Savior. They did not recognize Him. But He knew them and their dire circumstances. They were returning to the old and the familiar, but He joined them at the point of their distress.
They were surprised at their new companion's questions and proceeded to explain the reason for their dismay. True to Who He is, Jesus listened. Then He no longer played the role of an uninformed stranger. With a mild rebuke and a gentle reminder, He began to draw the disciples’ attention to what they should have known. He taught them. He reminded them of the Truth.
They were fools, Jesus said, because they behaved as those who were unacquainted with the Truth. Their reaction was influenced by their clouded assumptions regarding what He had revealed to them prior to His Crucifixion, about His Suffering. Swept by the debilitating influences of their wretched emotions, they set aside the Truth they have heard and believed and became ignorant of what they should have known. They acted as fools with no hope.
They were slow to believe, not only what they heard from Jesus Himself about His own Suffering, Death, Burial, and Resurrection, but also what they learned from the Prophets as young Jewish men. It seems that the disciples disbelieved that the Suffering Lamb of God would enter into His glory only after conquering the forces of evil, through Righteousness, the Cross, the grave, and His glorious Resurrection.
Jesus affirmed to the disciples that the Prophets spoke the Truth when they foretold what the chief priests and wicked men would do to the Messiah. It was prophesied that He would be conveyed to the wicked hands of evil men and would be hanged on the cross of God's judgment for the remission of sin. Jesus walked the two disciples through the books of the Old Testament, showing them the prophecies about the Messiah and helping them understand the message they failed to comprehend. He reminded them that the serpent would bruise His heel, hence His Suffering, and the Seed of the woman would crush its head, hence His Victory.
28When they came near the village where they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther.
29They urged him, “Stay with us! It’s getting late, and the day is almost over.” So he went to stay with them.
Finally, the three travelers arrived at Emmaus, their destination, which was about seven miles away from Jerusalem. But Jesus acted as if He were continuing on His way. He had joined the two disciples to minister to them and to set them free from the bondage of disbelief.
it seems Jesus did not wish to impose once they arrived at their destination, and once He revealed the Truth about the Suffering Lamb of God through the records of the Scriptures. But the disciples would not let Him go. They invited Him to spend the night with them. They insisted that He should come in with them because the day was almost over. Jesus accepted the invitation and followed them to their home. Jesus did not need their help to find a place to stay. They did not know where He came from or where He was going when He joined them on their way to Emmaus.
30While he was at the table with them, he took bread and blessed it. He broke the bread and gave it to them.
31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he vanished from their sight.
We are not told if anyone else joined Jesus and the two disciples for the evening meal. Nevertheless, Jesus presided over this great table of fellowship. Even though He joined the two disciples on the road as a stranger, Jesus took charge of the moment and conducted the affairs of the evening.
Just as He had done many times before with His disciples, He thanked His Father for His bounty, broke the bread, and gave it to His traveling companions. This was not any ordinary supper. It was a moment of divine revelation, a moment of freedom, a moment of great awakening for the distraught disciples.
The Truth Jesus articulated to the two disciples from the Scriptures was liberating. Their eyes were opened. They recognized that they were in the presence of Jesus Christ the risen Lord and their risen Savior. They were with Jesus, the Suffering and victorious Messiah.
Their hearts filled with joy unspeakable. They realized that Jesus is alive again. Having His mission accomplished, Jesus vanished from their sight. Suddenly, they were alone by themselves. But they now know the Truth about Jesus. He did not remain dead. The grave could not hold Him. Indeed, He is alive! They will never be alone again. They will never feel abandoned.
24:32 They said to each other, “Weren’t we excited when he talked with us on the road and opened up the meaning of the Scriptures for us?”
There were just the two of them—Cleopas and his unnamed friend. They began to recall their brief but glorious experience with the risen Jesus as they were returning home in despair. They recollected how their hearts were stirred when Jesus brought to light the Truth foretold about Him in the Scriptures.
They reminisced how His explanations and teachings warmed their hearts and revived their hope in Jesus. They acknowledged how excited they were to hear the Truth as Jesus interpreted the Scriptures and helped them understand the significance of the horrible events of the past few days.
They rejoiced. They now know Jesus is alive again. They walked and talked with Him because He walked and talked with them. He broke bread with them. He set them free from a spiritually debilitating doubt and disbelief by reminding them of the Truth they already have heard and believed. The Truth came to them in a new Way; in the Person of Jesus Christ the risen Lord, their risen Savior. They were no longer the same because the joy of their salvation was restored to them.
Doubt! What is it?
Doubt is either:
- A state of mind which guides the thought process to a good and healthy investigative inquiry to ascertain correct information,
- A debilitating conviction which relegates the mind into a state of disbelief, distrust, suspicion, and fear, enthralling the conscience into a life of chronic uncertainty, despair, corruption, and distress.
The two distraught disciples seem to have been pained so much by doubt. The last thing they saw was Jesus' Suffering, Death, and Burial. But the last word they heard from Jesus before His Suffering was about His forthcoming victorious and glorious Resurrection, following His Suffering, Death, and Burial. But because of deeply ingrained doubt, they believed what they saw and disregarded what they heard. It turned out, they believed what they knew and discounted what Jesus said.
They were stuck on the day of Jesus' Crucifixion, Death, and Burial. They were frozen in time. They were blinded from observing God's Truth by a debilitating doubt. They missed the Truth. But Jesus, the risen Jesus, was the Light Who revealed the Truth to the distraught and grieving disciples.
Once again, Jesus dealt with their doubts by taking them back to His Word, His written Word, His spoken Word, His revealed Truth. He did not miraculously adjust or change their perspective on the Truth. He simply drew their attention to the revealed Truth already outlined in the Scriptures.
Indeed, the disciples experienced Jesus' presence in a personal way, not only as the risen Savior, but also as the Way, the Life, and the Truth, as He had already told them. Their questions were answered and their doubt was resolved, not just because they saw the risen Lord in person, but by the Power of the Word He spoke into their hearts. The words of the Prophets and the Psalms quoted by Jesus were burning like fire in their hearts.
The same living Word continues to give wisdom and direction to all of God's people even today.
- God's Word: The only weapon against disbelief, distrust, and despair.
- God's Word: The only means for dealing with doubt.
- God's Word: The only source for Godly wisdom and reliable guidance.
- Oh yes! God's Word: The Bread of Life and the Living Water.
Everything else will pass. But the Word of the Lord endures forever. So does everyone whose life is built upon the only Foundation revealed in God's Word, even Jesus Christ Himself our risen Lord and our risen Savior. Thanks to Jesus, the road of despair became the path of restoration. Indeed, the disciples gave up and left, but Jesus found them.