30. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Luke 24:30-35
Today we reflect on the passage of scripture often recalled by the phrase the Road to Emmaus, where we find two followers of Christ en route to a village that many scholars believe was about seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus. The term Emmaus is transliterated from the Greek to mean "warm spring," and is believed to have been called such, because it was a place where people could unwind in "hot baths." So we find two men traveling on this road on the same day that Mary shared that Christ had risen. It is not communicated why they are leaving Jerusalem in light of this news, but it would appear that they did not believe Mary's gospel, or should I say Mary's good news. This becomes apparent when Jesus approaches them and one of the first things that Jesus does as he approaches, is to acknowledge their fallen disposition when he inquires about the nature of their conversation as they walked and were "sad."
The scripture says that the eyes of the men were restrained so they did not know who he was, and we begin to see the plan of Jesus for His believers - to open the eyes, the spiritual eyes that is, of our hearts that we may truly see Him. As they recounted the recent events of Christ's resurrection, we begin to see that their understanding of the identity of Christ was incomplete and thus their vision obscured as it even related to their very current experience. So eager to see "The Christ," to see the Messiah and what they expected to see the Messiah do, they missed what God had communicated to them about the Messiah - through the scriptures. Thus Jesus says to them in verses 25-27 “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
Jesus restrained their eyes and refocused their attention to the scriptures and thus adjusted their spiritual lenses so their hearts would no longer be "slow to believe," but would burn with a fire of faith! This seven mile walk toward the warm springs of Emmaus gave them the blessed privilege of experiencing the anointed flow of the teaching of the Word of God from the Word of God Himself and their hearts were set ablaze! The question that arises as we will reflect upon this historical account today is, how should we handle the news of Christ's resurrection thousands of years removed? How do we as the Ecclesia - the called -out ones usher the slow of heart into the burning hearts of faith experience? How do we as disciples of Christ, usher others from the paths where they are seeking their own comfort, their own way, to the path where they can learn to trust in the Lord to guide them to the spring of Living Water that never runs dry?
I'm so glad you asked, my brothers and sisters. The first thing we that we have to do is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Focus on what Christ, did and what He said. Jesus declared his departure to His disciples time and again, and pointed them and everyone around Him toward the scriptures continually. We should keep in mind that the scriptures that Christ is directing them to, is what we call the Old Testament. The blessed privilege we have today is that we have the expansion of the New Testament that includes the Gospel account, the history of the early church as well the Pauline and General Epistles, and the prophecy of Revelations, which fulfills the Old Covenant.
If we are going to engage a relationship with the Christ, we have to take time to get to know Him. Hear what He is saying to us, so that we can respond appropriately not just in our prayers, but with our very lives. The Word of God declares in Romans 10:17 that "Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God." That's what Jesus was demonstrating for us as He ministered to His disciples in today’s focus of scripture. As we study the Word, and hear the Word, our own hearts will be set ablaze with faith to the glory of God as we live the Word of God. As we live out and practice the Word of God, we will be postured to share the Word of God with others, and the cycle continues.
Another thing we must be prepared to do, as we follow the example of Christ with blazing hearts of faith, is to go out into the highways and byways, and walk and talk with others as they travel their Road to Emmaus, with the hopes that they may be detoured back into the presence of the Lord.
Metaphorically speaking, everyone - one way or the other has tried, and may be trying right now to find their way to a place of comfort in the finiteness of our own mind, our own intention. Often times we find ourselves, just like the two disciples found here in scripture, walking away from the place of power; the very place where God intends to infuse us with all that we will need to not only be comforted, but kept, satisfied, and empowered to fulfill our calling and purpose for life.
So as we share the Word of God with others, not just in Word, but by our deeds also, others can be exposed to the blessed faith that leads out of darkness and draws us to God's marvelous light.
May we indeed be those who with burning hearts en route to the spring of Living Water, find ourselves in the presence of the Lord where there is fullness of joy and at His right hand pleasures forevermore.
In His Service,
Pastor E.B. Barber
FaithWorks Christian Fellowship