Their hopes and dreams crushed, two disciples of Jesus snuck out of Jerusalem. Fear gripped them. They were sure that religious leaders with Roman soldiers were looking for them and the other followers of the Teacher from Nazareth.
Jesus had been crucified and buried on Friday, but once Sunday dawned their world exploded into chaos. A group of women went to the tomb to anoint His body and were met by angels who proclaimed Jesus to be alive. The men among the disciples weren’t sure what to think. Peter and John visited the tomb, found it empty, but there was no sign of Jesus. Now, the Apostles had hidden themselves away in the city somewhere.
These two men figured the best option was to create some space between them and the epicenter of these events. From a distance, they would have a safer vantage point and, perhaps, a head start on their escape route from Judea. They purposed to get out of town and set out for Emmaus, a village about 7 miles from Jerusalem.
Sadness rested upon their hearts, but they couldn’t stop talking about Jesus and all that He meant to them. Their expectations had been like most of those raised in Jewish homes. The Messiah they were looking for would be something of a superman who would rescue Israel, triumph over the Roman occupiers, and establish a mighty kingdom above all kingdoms.
The “rumor” of Jesus’ resurrection did nothing to assuage their disappointment. Rather, it only made matters worse in their minds. They had followed Jesus to the Cross; they believed Him to be the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of the living God. This had been revealed to Peter first, and they had come to accept it. But now all seemed lost.
Angels’ words to weeping women, could these be trusted? They were confounded and confused and concluded that they could not put their faith in such news, as good as it sounded to their ears. Between them there was not even a thread of hope. Their words and countenances exposed their desperation.
Just then, the Stranger came alongside them.
Where was the Hope?
This account in Luke 24 reveals just how lost we can get in circumstance and emotion. These two men had walked with Jesus for some period of time. They had heard Him speak and watched Him work. They were convinced of His authority and even His royalty. Still, the words they heard from Jesus carried little weight at this point in their lives. He had spoken clearly and frequently about His death and His resurrection. It would happen on the third day, Jesus said.
This was the third day. Where was the hope?
Granted, we should be careful how we speak of these men. The crisis of the moment was unlike any other. Overwhelmed and leaderless, most of us would be pressed beyond measure to exhibit even a bit of courage.
How did the Stranger help them? He took them to the Word of God. “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).
Hearts Afire, Hopes Lifted
The Word did its work in these men. It set their hearts afire. At last, as the Stranger broke bread for the evening meal, the scales of disappointment fell off their eyes and they realized that it was Jesus Himself with them. And then He was gone, but not for long. They would rush back to Jerusalem, locate the others, and share the encounter among those who had also seen Him alive. Chaos and confusion seemed to be melting into nervous expectation.Bible understanding is a real difference-maker. Click To Tweet
Then, He was there, standing among them, saying, “Peace be unto you!”
Jesus invited them to touch Him. He ate a piece of fish. With their attention fully upon Him, He again pointed to His Word, opening their minds to understand the Scriptures.
This account speaks to us about the power of the Bible. Yes, it does testify mightily to the reality of the resurrection, but woven through the report is Jesus reminding His disciples and us that it is the Word of God that really matters.
Bible understanding is a real difference-maker. John 1 defines the nature of God the Son and His eternal being with these words: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:16). To know the Word of God is to know Jesus and behold His glory.To know the Word of God is to know Jesus and behold His glory. Click To Tweet
Amos the prophet was sent by the Lord to address a very religious group of people in Israel. However, their religion was an empty show, and the prophet’s message bothered the king and the people. They generally ignored it. A lot of things were being done in the name of God. There were feasts and songs aplenty. What was lacking? The hearing of the Word of God. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11).
Recent years have seen a great expansion of many things Christian. A plethora of media, music, publications, conferences, seminars, etc., have become available. Time was when church was the only place a believer could hear a song about Jesus. Now cities have two or more radio stations devoted to contemporary Christian tunes.
God, of course, is in all of this. He stands above and has watched over this movement. Still, it is the Word of God that remains the effectual element for life.
Let’s learn the Word more so that we would know God more fully. Let us not grow famished for lack of doctrine. Let us feed on the Word.
May our hearts burn brightly within us as we hear Christ speak to us by His Spirit in these days.
This message, “Glory in Knowing God,” preached by Steve Scibelli, a pastor and Missions Director for Greater Grace World Outreach, has more to say about the Word and its power for us.