Lukeby Mike Raiter
We now have the first of Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection. Surprisingly, it is to two disciples from His wider group of disciples. These are men we have never met before and will hear nothing of again, but they are now unforgettably recorded in Biblical history.
It is still Easter Sunday and the tumultuous events of the past weekend are all that people can talk about. The disciples are both emotionally devastated that their hopes for Israel’s salvation seem to have been shattered, and confused by the recent claims of the women.
These two friends are heading to Emmaus, probably their home, discussing all that has happened. To their surprise, a stranger begins to walk with them. He is Jesus although, for the moment, God keeps them from recognising Him. Their lack of physical perception matches their spiritual condition. Jesus strongly rebukes them for their failure to believe the Scriptures. They have heard the Scriptures all their lives, so how could they be so foolish as to not see that all that has happened is in fulfilment of them? He then gives them a thrilling overview of the Old Testament, showing how it all points to Him, particularly His death and resurrection.
Repeatedly, Luke has told us how important meals were in Jesus’ ministry. Now, over a meal, God opens the eyes of the disciples. The Scriptures proclaim the truth about Jesus, but it takes the enlightening of God’s Spirit to bring understanding so that people can see Him and believe (see John 16:12–15). Then Jesus disappears. Clearly, this is the same Jesus. He has walked, spoken, and eaten with them. Yet, the risen Christ is also different. This man is not under the same physical constraints that once held Him.
Immediately, the disciples run back to tell the others, only to be informed that Peter, too, has met Jesus. They then share their own testimony. This is how we meet the risen Jesus today. We read the testimonies of eyewitnesses, as recorded in the Bible; God’s Spirit then takes this Word and opens the eyes of our heart to see and believe. Then we go and tell.
Why did these two disciples fail to recognise Jesus? What spiritual lessons can we learn from this?
Why did the disciples feel their hearts “burning within us” (v. 32) as Jesus spoke with them from the Scriptures? Can you think of times when the words of Jesus touched you as deeply as this?