ONLY JESUS CAN OPEN OUR EYES TO BELIEVE THE FULL SCOPE OF HIS MESSIANIC MISSION WHICH DELIVERS US FROM CONFUSION AND DESPAIR
Here we have the best Bible expositor ever holding a private tutorial session with two discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were weighed down with the confusion and despair of unfulfilled expectations. Because their understanding of the prophetic promises regarding the redemptive mission of the Messiah was deficient, they could not grasp how the Jewish leaders could condemn to death one whose ministry seemed so promising. It was now the third day and despite some testimony regarding the empty tomb and some supposed angelic revelation, they were still far short of understanding or believing in the resurrection. They were captive to spiritual blindness and needed the intervention of the Savior.
Liefeld: The Emmaus story is a literary and spiritual jewel. It is at once a moving story, a testimony to the Resurrection, an explanation of the empty tomb, and an occasion for Luke to summarize several of his major themes.
I. (:13-16) SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS REQUIRES DIVINE ENLIGHTENMENT
A. (:13) Trip to Emmaus –
In the Vicinity of the Key Events of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection
“And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus,
which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.”
B. (:14) Talk About Recent Events Concerning Jesus in Jerusalem –
Inquiring About the Key Events
“And they were conversing with each other
about all these things which had taken place.”
Donald Miller: These two had received the report of the women that the grave of Jesus was empty, and had had it confirmed by others who went to investigate (vss. 22-24), yet they had not believed that Jesus was alive. The empty tomb, however, was a strange phenomenon, and that must have been the subject of their conversation when Jesus overtook them, almost unnoticed (vss. 14-15).
C. (:15) Travel Companion –
In the Presence of the Key Figure – the Risen Messiah Himself
“And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing,
Jesus Himself approached, and began traveling with them.”
Chuck Swindoll: Luke describes the disciples’ conversation as bantering ideas back and forth with great emotion in a shared search for answers (24:14-16). The Greek phrase homileo suzeteo, “talking and discussing” (24:15), would be more literally translated as “conversing” and “disputing.” The disillusioned followers desperately wanted to know why their expectations of the Messiah had come to such a tragic end.
D. (:16) Thwarted From Recognizing Jesus –
In Total Spiritual Darkness
“But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.”
II. (:17-24) ONLY JESUS CAN RESOLVE OUR SPIRITUAL CONFUSION AND DESPAIR
(:17) Jesus Invites Our Spiritual Questions
“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.’”
A. (:18-21) Confusion Concerning Jesus’ Messianic Redemptive Mission
1. (:18-20) Clarity Needed Regarding the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
a. (:18) Ironic Question
“And one of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ‘Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?’”
Anyabwile: Cleopas will forever be remembered for what he said next: “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” Imagine being known for asking Jesus whether he knew about the crucifixion. That’s hilarious! Jesus is the only one in the world who truly does know!
b. (:19a) Inquisitive Response
“And He said to them, ‘What things?’”
Geldenhuys: He again uses the effective method of asking questions and of persuading them to unburden their inmost thoughts.
Lenski: As is the case in other instances when he asked about things that he himself knew well, so this question had the simple purpose of making these disciples state their problem to him as directly as possible in order that he might solve it for them in a perfectly objective way. His question looked forward to what he intended to say after he had received the answer.
c. (:19b-20) Irreconcilable Tension – Why Was Jesus Rejected by the Jewish
Religious Leaders and Seemingly Came to Such a Bad End?
1) (:19b) Jesus Looked Like the Messiah
“And they said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,’”
Geldenhuys: Like many other disciples of Jesus, they not only loved Him affectionately as their Master and Leader, but they saw in Him the promised Messiah and expected that He might assert His Messiahship with power at the great Feast and establish the Messianic kingdom
2) (:20) Jesus Was Crucified by the Jewish Religious Leaders
“and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.”
2. (:21) Clarity Needed Regarding the Messianic Redemptive Mission of Jesus Christ
a. Hope of Israel’s Redemption
“But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”
Liefeld: there is a big difference between trusting Jesus as our Deliverer and Savior and hoping that he will prove to be our Deliverer and Savior.
b. Disappointment over His Death
“Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.”
Geldenhuys: In this confession of the men of Emmaus one clearly sees the violent struggle between hope and fear that raged in their hearts. And this gives us a clear picture of what went on that day in the hearts of all the other perplexed followers of the Crucified One.
B. (:22-24) Confusion Concerning the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection
1. (:22-23) Testimony of the Women Raised Questions
“But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive.”
2. (:24) Testimony of our Companions Raised Questions
“And some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.”
III. (:25-27) WE MUST LISTEN IN FAITH TO THE EXPOSITION OF JESUS IN THE SCRIPTURES
A. (:25) Reprimand Over Failure to Believe the Messianic Message of the OT Prophets
“And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!’”
When Jesus disappoints us, we need to go back to the Scriptures and pray for divine enlightenment to fully understand both the biblical record and the power of God.
Morris: They had no doubt seized on the prediction of the glory of the Messiah, but it was quite another thing to take to heart the prophecies that pointed to the darker side of His mission. But the dark side was there, in the prophecies. And this means that the passion was not simply a possibility that might or might not become actual, depending on the circumstances: it was necessary. Written in the prophets as it was, it had to happen. The Christ must suffer. But that is not the end of it. He must also enter into his glory. God is not defeated. He triumphs through the sufferings of His Christ.
Constable: A fool in the Old Testament is a person who does not allow the Scriptures to influence his thinking or behavior. These disciples had failed to do that. They were also slow to believe what they did know that the former prophets had revealed. They had overlooked the prophecies about the Messiah having to suffer preferring rather to focus only on those that predicted His glorification. Their error constitutes a warning for all subsequent disciples. All Scripture is profitable. We should not slight any part of it but should strive for a comprehensive understanding of its teaching. If these disciples had understood and believed what the Old Testament revealed, they would not have felt depressed but would have been full of joy.
B. (:26) Reinforcement of the Essential Link Between Christ’s Suffering and Glory
“Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
Chuck Swindoll: Finally, Jesus broke His silence to bring a reproof, ask a question, and offer an explanation. In the reproof, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (24:25), Jesus demonstrated that the two followers knew the contents of Scripture but did not accept its message as truth. As a result, they failed to see God’s sovereign plan. His question, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” pointed to the reason for their unbelief (24:26). They had confused their own expectations with the hope God was offering, and they had failed to see God’s ultimate purpose.
C. (:27) Revelation of Christ in the OT
“And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets,
He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”
Morris: throughout the Old Testament a consistent divine purpose is worked ouot, a purpose that in the end meant and must mean the cross. The terribleness of sin is found throughout the Old Testament and so is the deep, deep love of God. In the end this combination made Calvary inevitable. The two had wrong ideas of what the Old Testament taught and thus they had wrong ideas about the cross.
Anyabwile: we don’t properly read our Bibles until we see how it connects to Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection.
Deffinbaugh: Among the texts that Jesus must have referred to would be these: Deut. 18:15-19; Psalm 2; Psalm 16; Psalm 22; Psalm 118:22; Cf. Exodus 20:11; Ps. 146:6; Daniel 9:24ff.
We are not told until later what impact this teaching had on the disciples, but when we get to verse 32 we overhear them saying to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Here was the basis for the change, from “heartbreak” to “heartburn”: the Scriptures were taught and were “caught.” There was no more need for despair.
IV. (:28-35) DIVINE ENLIGHTENMENT — THE OPENING OF OUR EYES TO SEE JESUS — CONFIRMS THE RESURRECTION
A. (:28-29) The Blessing of Being with Jesus
1. (:28) Opportunity Almost Lost
“And they approached the village where they were going,
and He acted as though He would go farther.”
Geldenhuys: If they had not invited Him He would have passed on, and they would have forfeited the inexpressible privilege of discovering that it was their risen Lord who had been with them and had instructed them.
2. (:29a) Opportunity Pursued
“And they urged Him, saying, ‘Stay with us,
for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.’”
MacArthur: So as they arrive at their home, Jesus looks like He’s going to go further. “They plead with Him, urge Him, ‘Come in, please.’” It’s not because they want to be hospitable to Him, although they certainly would want to be; they want more of this teaching, because verse 32 says, “Their hearts had been set on fire.” There’s nothing, there’s nothing that produces the joy, the exhilaration, the thrill that the comprehension of Scripture brings to you, that comprehension which is connected to your eternal salvation.
3. (:29b) Opportunity Realized
“And He went in to stay with them.”
B. (:30-31) The Blessing of Truly Seeing Jesus
1. (:30) Truly Seeing Jesus is a Gift from God Associated with Genuine Fellowship
“And it came about that when He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.”
Donald Miller: As they sat at table, although he was a stranger, he acted as host.
2. (:31) Truly Seeing Jesus Physically Confirmed the Reality of the Resurrection
“And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him;
and He vanished from their sight.”
Donald Miller: Can anyone imagine the joy of that moment? Those who had begun to scatter were together again. Disillusionment and disappointment had yielded to joy and hope. The One whom they had followed had not failed them. He had emerged victorious over death. The decisive event of all history had taken place. Death was swallowed up in victory.
Lenski: They must realize that while Jesus was alive after his soul and his body had been reunited he was not to enter and to continue the old, earthly life in which they had known him so long. He had entered a new state in which he appeared and disappeared at will. As he had left the sealed tomb, so he now left the closed house. The thought was overwhelming – incomprehensible, yet infinitely blessed.
C. (:32) The Blessing of Divine Spiritual Illumination and Exposition of Scripture
“And they said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’”
D. (:33-34) Testimony of the Disciples to the Resurrection
“And they arose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem,
and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,
saying, ‘The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon.’”
Geldenhuys: They know now that He is risen and that He lives as the Messiah, the promised Redeemer. And this certainty immediately brings such a light and joy into their hearts, that they have an irresistible urge to give others also a share in their joy. So without delay they went back to Jerusalem the same evening. Sustained by the extraordinary enthusiasm created in their souls, they went thither quickly and probably arrived there about nine o’clock that evening.
MacArthur: The eleven becomes, at this point in the gospel record, a technical term for the apostles who are different than the disciples. You understand that? Disciple is just a word that means “learner,” mathētēs, all those who were followers of Jesus. The apostles were the sent ones, commissioned, set apart; originally twelve, Judas is out, that left eleven. So instead of being called the twelve, later in the book of Acts they are referred to as the twelve, because that becomes their new name with the addition of Matthias in the first chapter of Acts.
But for now, they’re the eleven, even though there aren’t eleven of them there, because Thomas on this occasion happens to be absent; we know that from John’s gospel. So they’re still the eleven. It refers to the apostles. They’re gathered, and the others who were with them.
E. (:35) Confirming Testimony of the Emmaus Road Disciples
“And they began to relate their experiences on the road
and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.”