The eleven disciples were back in Jerusalem in the upper room somewhere, hiding, quivering and shaking, fearful for their lives. When you know off the leader of a group, the followers disperse quickly, about as quickly as cockroaches when the lights are turned on. They disappeared. And, now the cross would be instead of the banner of Christianity, it would be the banner on the shield of the Pharisees indicating that they had won the battle, that they had evicted and killed the false Messiah. The Ice had won. Cold is stronger than warmth. On the face of it, Christianity seemed dead as a door nail.
It was late afternoon on Sunday when Cleopas and, I think it was DR. LUKE, himself, the unnamed hiker on this trip, when they set out from Jerusalem to go to Emmaus. The road to Emmaus was about seven miles long. As the left to go on this road, they were discouraged. Once, they had believed in Jesus, but not now. Maybe He was a prophet, but not the Messiah. They were dejected, they were hopeless, they were doomed, they were defeated, they had experienced death and despair. They had decided to head home. They had obviously been dead wrong about Jesus. The events of the weekend had stunned their faith. Once, they had believed in Jesus. Now they were utterly disheartened. The Emmaus Two were trapped within a wall of self built hopelessness. They were in total misery. They were strolling along talking doom, defeat, death and despair. It seems like of all 26 letters in the English alphabet, D has the most disheartening discouraging words.
Remember Tim Hansen? He injured his back climbing a mountain. Today he is in continuous agonizing back pain. Tim lives on pain pills. But do you know what he said: "Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional." I like that spirit. That's great!
The two Emmaus travelers were hopeless and faithless, they trudged home walking in the darkness and cold. There hearts were dark. Jesus was dead and the Pharisees were the unchallenged leaders again. They were discouraged. If only they could have seen the whole picture, they would have been happy.
They were depressed. Depression today is one of the most prominent emotional illnesses in the world. They were thinking with their legs instead of their hearts. They were going away, going back home, back to their former occupations.
As they walked they had to travel in the direction of the setting sun. You never want to live on the West side of town. Never buy a house on the west side of town. Because you have to drive to work with the sun and you have to drive home with the sun in your eyes. It stares you in the face all the way. It's bad both ways. You want to live in the east side of town. That's the best. I think that's why Chattanooga is moving out here toward Collegedale because they know that fact. You don't have to stare at the glare on your trips.
Like the sun, their hopes also set. They were disappointed so deeply that they, two grown men, might have been actually crying. (Luke 22:23 the Greek word is syzetein which means a very intense strong feeling). They got past the walls of Jerusalem a ways and a total stranger came up and joined with them and started talking with them. Maybe because of the glare of the sun, because of the tears at filled their eyes, they did not really see Jesus. They missed Jesus. They were thinking all these negative thoughts and they missed Jesus. I will tell you that the negative can cause you to not see Jesus Christ. They were so absorbed with their own gloomy negative thoughts that they missed seeing Jesus.
When we major on the negative side of life we get depressed. They spent time rehearsing their disappointments. They were preoccupied with their problems. Notice how Jesus changed their mood.
The story of these hikers on the road to Emmaus is one of the eleven resurrection appearances of Jesus. Today's sermon is about the most beautiful story in the world. Emmaus was a two hour walk toward the northwest from Jerusalem. Let's pick up the exciting story in Luke.
Luke 24:13,14 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
What were they talking about? They were talking about Jesus! What better topic can you have? The right topic, but the wrong attitude. They were all negative on Jesus. He had died. He had disappeared. He had disappointed them. Actually Jesus had been successful and they thought He was a total failure. They had expected deliverance from Rome. That didn't happen. They had expected deliverance from hunger and pain. Maybe he could just feed all the people. They wouldn't have to work any more. Actually, Jesus came to deliver them from sin, and spiritual hunger, not from Rome. Jesus came to give them spiritual food to relieve them from spiritual hunger. So often we pray, "Lord, help me pay my bills," when actually Jesus didn't die to pay your bills. Jesus died that the heavy payment, the debt of sin would be paid. That's why Jesus died. He died to remove that. He did not come to remove the painful road from us but to walk on that road with us. They had to walk on the Emmaus road.
Luke 24:15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
Notice that oftentimes when the troubles of life come upon you Jesus does not remove those trouble from you but He walks with you to enable you to face those problems. You may say, "Well, I'm having problems at work." You may be, but if you trust in God, if you believe in God, if you put your situation into God's hands, God will deliver you from that situation. He will help you. Friends, each of us are traveling on the Emmaus road. Some of us cry. Others hurt. Jesus did not come to remove the painful road from us but to walk it with us until we arrive home together.
Luke 24:16 but they were kept from recognizing him. They didn't know it. Jesus was right there beside them and they did not recognize Him. Could it be that Jesus Christ Himself could come to this church today, be wearing a suit, be wearing a tie and sitting within ten feet of you and you wouldn't even know it? Could that be possible? I believe it could.
One of the biggest problems in the church today is that its member have eyes and don't see. Jesus Christ is here today. Believe that. we are content to look without seeing. We come in and get inspired but never react. We listen but do not really hear. So we sit in our pews like bumps on the log, walking on our own personal Emmaus road. We're trying to solve all of our own problems. We're complaining about life while Jesus is personally waiting to bless us beyond our wildest imagination. Oh that we could pray that we have eyes to see Jesus. He is the answer. He's waiting to bless us and all se can see are the problems.
Luke 24:17-19A He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. They were discouraged. Now let me share with you, this story is not just for you. This story is so that you can help somebody out of discouragement. Because, here we have two people that were utterly discouraged. These two people were totally in the bottom of the barrel. They were dejected. The cause they believed in was defeated. How can you help somebody like that? Notice how Jesus begins to help them. If you can notice what Jesus did you can go our and you can help somebody that is discouraged in the same way. So, let's look at this very carefully. How discouraged were they?
Luke 24:18,19 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
"What things?" he asked.
And so they proceeded to share with this stranger the sad tale of their leader's death and of the grave robbery. Maybe they thought the Pharisees had confiscated His body. Despite reports from some women, no one had seen Him. It was all a mystery. They undoubtedly shed a few more tears. They had both loved Jesus deeply. Now He was dead and there would never even be a funeral. Luke 24:21. We had hoped... They had no hope. They had thought that He was the Messiah. I love that hymn that we sing in our church: "We have this hope..." They had hoped that he would be the Messiah. But now they knew that He was not. He had promised that on the third day that He would be back with them, but obviously He was not here. Jesus had broken His promise.
They were discouraged. So, at that point the Stranger walked up and gave them a seven-mile long Bible study. You can see it here in verses 25 through 27. He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!"
"Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Jesus had a congregation of two. He proceeded to give them a Messianic Bible study. He proceeded to open their eyes, and He opened it with Scripture. That's how you can come out of discouragement. Now, let me apply this. What is on your breakfast table? It ought to be the Bible. What is on your night-stand? A remote control to the television? Or a Bible? Is the Bible covered with dust? I'm serious here. Or, is the bible open and you've been feeding on it and it's been giving you strength. Half of the reason we as Christians don't have strength is because we aren't eating. We're on a diet. We're reading the wrong stuff: we're eating junk-food.
So, Jesus started with Moses, who is the Alpha of Bible prophecy and Bible history. You know, Jesus has great ability to make the Scriptures plain. You might say: I wish Jesus would come and make the Scripture plain for me. If you pray before you read the Bible that will happen to you. It will happen as much as it did to them.
The darkness gradually became light. Finally tears of joy began to replace tears of sadness. They could actually see all these predictions and how all these things were fulfilled. And their hearts began to burn within them. The ice was melting. The fire was rekindled by the Scripture. That's the method. That's what happened. Great waves of hope came over them. There hearts were burning again. Jesus rekindled that fire.
I will tell you that the true understanding of the Bible will bring you no discouragement. It will give you hope. Whereas before they had looked on His death as the end of all their hopes, now it became the very strongest evidence for their faith.
They never dreamed that the subject of their conversation was walking by their side. By the time they neared the city gates of Emmaus, the sun had set and it was getting dark. Look at Luke 24:28. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther.
Jesus does not invade your privacy. He will not say, "Can I come home with you." He always wants to be invited. The other night we were sitting at our table trying to eat supper. We had had prayer, and I got the food on my fork and the phone rang. I went over to the telephone and a ladies voice with a foreign accent said, "May I speak with Donald Gettteee?" I said, "I am Don Gettys, may I help you?" "Well, I'm with the Vinyl siding company." I said, "Ma'am, did we order any vinyl siding?" "No, but I want..." And I said, "Well, I really appreciate your calling but I'm sorry, we don't want any and you have a great day and I am hanging up." And I hung up as she was talking. How do they know when you eat? I don't understand that. And another problem is: I began to feel real guilty because I said, "Thanks for calling." Was I actually thankful that she had called? No, I wasn't. I was thankful to have a meal and sorry that it was over there getting cold. And here I said, "Thanks for calling." The next time they call, I'm not going to say, "Thank you for calling." I'll have to think of something else. These telemarketers don't respect our privacy. They call when we're eating supper every time. (How about letting the phone ring four times before picking it up? Telemarketers don't have time for that many rings. - Editor) Jesus respects our privacy. Jesus will not come into your heart unless you invite Him.
Look at Luke 24:29. But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." Do you know that if they had not urged Him strongly He would have gone on? And they would have received a blessing from their seven-mile Bible study, but they would have missed the greatest blessing. The greatest blessing was still to come. They would have missed that. You would not have seen these other verses in here. So, when you're dealing with Jesus you need to hold on to Jesus. You need to persist with Jesus. You need to not let go too quickly. You need to carry on with Jesus. they would have missed the greatest gain.
And so it was that Jesus came for supper. Thursday night had been His last supper and this was to be his first supper after his Resurrection. And look at what they enticed Him with. look at the menu. Do you see what the menu was? The menu was only bread. Does that sound pretty exciting? It was probably bread that had been there all day long. Crusty dry bread in the atmosphere of Palestine. Surely that was what it was. I'll tell, it doesn't take much for Jesus to come to your house. You don't have to entice Him with much. You just have to ask Him and he comes in. Praise God for a Savior like that.
Luke 24:30,31. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. This begins to sound like the Communion service. He gave thanks and broke it and began to give it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. At that moment He disappeared.
Their Guest sat at the head of the table and they said, "Would you break the bread for us? So, He did, and the method with which he broke it, they recognized that and their eyes opened and they knew He looked like Jesus. Then he held up His hands to bless the bread and they saw nail-prints in His hands. "It's Jesus! It's Him! He's alive!" And at that moment He disappeared, which is something else supernatural. "It was really Jesus sitting at our table!" Fantastic! That unseen Guest had disappeared. But he was indelibly reported on their hearts.
where did they have this revelation of Jesus? Where did this happen? Did it happen in the church? Where did it happen? It happened at the table. I will tell you that often times around the fellowship of a table great things can happen to you kids, to your teenagers, to your family. I think every Seventh-day Adventist ought to invite somebody home for lunch every Sabbath. You ought to sit at somebody else's table. That's where the fellowship happens. That's where you eyes can be opened to see the real situations of life. That's where this happened. I think Jesus will fully reveal Himself at that great banquet table up in heaven with us.
Look at Luke 24:32. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?
What is it that opened their eyes? There were four things:
These four things opened their eyes. And so they ran back to Jerusalem. They jumped up. They didn't have flashlights. It was dark now. And they ran back to Jerusalem.
And something interesting happened. They didn't know it but they had to go seven miles in the dark. Jesus must have run with them. Jesus was with them. We might have guessed that. Jesus is with us wherever we go if we're in tune with Him. Jesus went back to Jerusalem with them as an unseen traveler on that road. That's great. Christ never leaves us. Christ is a living Savior. Christ is alive today. I will tell you that each of us are on the road to Emmaus. Each of us have to face the problems along the road of our lives. And we really do need Jesus Christ to be the answer to our problems. And He wants to be the answer to our problems. They saw Jesus Christ and it changed their entire world. It changed their life. They were never ever the same.
It was a DARK night. They had not even eaten the first bite of supper. But you can't sit at the table and talk when you possess the greatest news ever given. They got their second wind. Their hunger was gone. The bread is left untasted where Jesus had placed it. They were now filled with the bread of Life. With Joy bubbling out of their hearts, they head back to the big city to share their precious news. You know, the message isn't ours until we share it with someone else.
Through the darkness, over sections of unsafe road and steep places they go slipping and running. They had no flash lights. Some parts were dangerous, yet they press on. Their unseen Companion is close beside them all the way. They didn't know it, but I believe Jesus walked beside them all the way back that dark night to help them. The Sun of Righteousness was shining upon their hearts. Their hearts leap for joy. They seem to be in a new world.
Christ is a living Savior. He is not dead. "Christ is risen"-- over and over they repeat it. He is alive! What a message they carry. They must tell about the most wonderful walk to Emmaus and of the stranger Who joined them. They carry the greatest message ever given to the world, a glad message upon which the hopes of the human family for time and for eternity are hanging. (See Desire of Ages, pp. 795-801) Their world was like an icebox, but their hearts were warm and glad! What a story!
There are so many lessons for us:
1. WE RUN AWAY TOO QUICK. When things get bad in the city we tend to head for the suburbs! They were sharing with one another their misunderstandings and misconceptions. All was foggy. They jumped at a conclusion. Often we flee from one set of problems to the next. From one unsatisfactory relationship to another. From one therapist to another. From one marriage to another. From one job to another. Had they stayed to pray and wait, I believe Jesus would have appeared to them. Only those who really hunger for a deeper understanding of Spiritual things can expect to be supplied with a larger supply of heavenly manna.
2. NOTICE THAT JESUS TOOK THE INITIATIVE! Vs 15-- Christ appeared to the two who were so discouraged. Friend, are you traveling down the road of life with broken hopes and shattered dreams. Maybe your prayers seem unanswered. Jesus is not far away.
Is Jesus now coming up by where you are walking to help you? Will you give Him time? There is so little time and so much to do. There is so little money for schools, activities, and the $100 sneakers, orthodontia needs of our children, building program at our church... There are so many problems we face. But Jesus reaches out to us. Jesus takes the initiative. If clouds of gloom blot out your sunshine, pause and ask for Jesus to help you. He will be right there by your side.
3. THE DARKEST MOMENTS JUST MAY BE THE KEY TO THE BEST ONES! The nicest event in history had just happened. Instead of being on cloud 9 they were in the clouds of fog and despair. The darkest clouds often come just before the sun comes back out again. Here they were all gloom and doom on "V" day!
4. WE ARE NEVER ALONE. Are there times when you have felt like the whole world is against you? Maybe you feel God has left you to walk alone. Could it be that God was there with you? Remember the poem about the footprints in the sand? During the bad times He carries us!
5. IN A CRISIS THE WORD OF GOD IS THE KEY. Because Jesus had died, they were in the pits. It should have been just the opposite. His death should have proved their faith. You know, this is strange, but while the cross destroyed the hopes of the disciples, at the same time it provided Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus with convincing proof that Jesus really was the true Messiah!
When Nicodemus stood there at the foot of the cross he remembered many of Jesus predictions. On that Sabbath afternoon when Christ was in the grave, Nicodemus and Joseph had time to reflect on Jesus words. Their faith was forever established. The very event that destroyed the hopes of the disciples, convinced these two men of Jesus divinity.
Jesus had to start from scratch with the Emmaus hikers. Beginning at Moses He provided a solid Bible Foundation for their beliefs. When you get a chance some day, go through all the Old Testament texts that point to Christ. (Like Isaiah 53) Read these amazing prophecies. (They have a special symbol beside them in some Bibles). Your faith will be greatly strengthened. Misguided men who depreciate the Old Testament scriptures do not realize how great a value Christ placed on them, even after His resurrection.
The Emmaus Two were totally and forever changed by spending two hours with Jesus. Every uncertainty vanished. Every shattered hope was reborn.
As a Pastor of this church I want it said that:
1)-- When you come to McDonald Road, you will have the privilege of walking with Jesus like the Emmaus Two. Jesus will be uplifted in our Pulpit, in our Sabbath School, in our vespers, in all that we do. You will sense Jesus walking beside you. Even tho things may be bleak at work or at home, you will go home with a heart warmed by the rich love of Jesus.
2)-- You will find fellowship with Jesus on McDonald Road. The fellowship will be here. Come early and stay a few minutes in our lobby and you will find a friend. If you linger after the services to talk and visit, you will find a listening ear and a friendly smile. If you insist on bringing your Bible you will gain much. If you enter a pew and bow in prayer and invite Jesus to sit with you, you will have precious fellowship with the Master.
3)-- YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. Luke went on to write two books of the Bible. To spend 2 hours of quality time with Jesus will change your whole life. Come for Sabbath School. For Church. Every week. Share in the warmth of Christian fellowship. Let Jesus warm up your cold blue heart. The disciples hearts were "Burning within them". Then with a warm heart, you go back out to the old world of cold and ice and share the love and warmth of Jesus with some one else. Uplift Jesus. Ice is NOT stronger than warmth.
May the miracle of Emmaus Road happen to each of us here at McDonald Road.
Hymn of Praise: #167, Alleluia! Sing to Jesus! Scripture: Luke 24:30-32 Hymn of Response: #343, I Will Sing of My Redeemer 010421Don Gettys345
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last updated 4/23/2001 by Bob Beckett.