2015 4-19 ‘On the Road to Emmaus’ Luke 24 13-32

“ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS”
LUKE 24:13-32

I. Introduction
I have a question for each of you this morning. Why do you come here? What’s the point? Let me be a little more specific. What would you say is the most important thing that I, as your pastor, can do for you? Or let me ask it this way: What one thing, more than any other, do you need from me? My question is not, “What do you want from me?” My ques-tion is, “What do you need from me?”

The day will come when you, the members of LBC, will be called upon to replace me as your pastor. Let me be clear. I believe that God has put me here and called me to this task. He has equipped me and ordained me to do it. And I love my job, I love this church, and I love each and every one of you. So I’m in no hurry to step down from this pulpit. But I’ve lived long enough to have learned that God takes care of these things. He rules His church. Therefore, my time here is in His hands.

So I say again, I am in no hurry to step down, but that day will come nonetheless. And until that day comes I have one primary task – one thing above all others – one thing God expects of me. So I go back to the questions I asked at the beginning. “What is the most important thing that I can do for you? What one thing, more than any other, do you need from me?” My question is not, “What do you want from me?” It is, “What do you need from me?”

Truth! The answer is God’s truth! That’s it – God’s perfect, pure, unchanging, and holy truth. It doesn’t matter how long I remain as your pastor, or who your next pastor happens to be. If the man who stands in this pulpit is committed to preaching and teaching the Word of God without compromise, then he will be bringing you God’s truth. And if he does that – consistently and faithfully – he will be giving you what you need.

My desire to preach and teach God’s truth compels me as I study, write these sermons, and bring them to you on Sunday morning. The fact is that most of my work time during the week is taken up with doing so.

Why do I spend so much time on one sermon? Do I do it because I’m a great guy? Not hardly! I do it for three overarching reasons. The first reason is that God’s Word is true, it is righteous, and it is eternal. And He has given me a passion to communicate it.
Psalm 119:160
160 The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

James 1:18
18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.
Colossians 1:5
5 …because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel.

2 Timothy 2:15
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

John 17:17
17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

God’s Word is truth! He has given me a passion for His truth and a deep desire to pass it on to you.

Now listen to the Apostle Paul as he tells of his love for the church at Philippi. It addresses the second reason for my commitment to preach and teach the truth on Sunday mornings.
*Philippians 1:8-10
8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real know-ledge and all discernment,
10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.

The third reason for my commitment to preach and teach the truth is really quite simple. It is because I fear God.
James 3:1
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.

So, God’s Word is true, I’m passionate about communicating it to you, my brothers and sis-ters in the Lord, I pray that you all grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and I take my calling seriously. Therefore, I’m convinced that the greatest service I (or any other pastor) can do for you is to prayerfully and carefully preach and teach God’s truth. The results of doing that are beautifully illustrated in Luke 24:13-32.

In this passage we’ll meet two believers – true believers – who find themselves in the grip of doubts, fears, and confusion. But when they’re taught the Scriptures, everything changes.
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II. Review
Jesus was crucified and died on Friday. His body was placed in the grave just before sunset on Friday evening when the Jewish Sabbath began. He remained in the tomb throughout the day on Saturday (the Sabbath). Sometime after the Sabbath was over (at sundown on Saturday) and before sunrise on Sunday morning, Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
On Sunday morning some of the faithful women and Peter and John went to the tomb, found it empty, and Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene. Later that same day He appeared to the other Mary, Salome, Joanna, and Peter.
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III. Text
Now it’s the afternoon on Sunday, the day of the resurrection. And that brings us to our text.
*Luke 24:13-32 (Please stand with me in honor of reading God’s Word.)
13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emma-us, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 And they were conversing with each other about all these things which had taken place.
15 And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Him-self approached, and began traveling with them.
16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
17 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.
18 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?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?” 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,
20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.
21 “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.
22 “But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning,
23 and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive.
24 “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.”
25 And He (Jesus) said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures (the OT).
28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He (Jesus) acted as though He would go farther.
29 And they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” And He went in to stay with them.
30 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.
31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 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?”

Let me repeat what I said earlier. These two men are followers of Jesus. They are disciples; they are believers. It isn’t that they do not believe the Scriptures (the OT). It is that they do not know the Scriptures. That is to say that they do not understand them. As a result of their lack of understanding, they are filled with doubts, fears, and confusion.

As we come to today’s text I’m going to ask you to think about how that applies to you. Are you sometimes assailed by doubts, fears, and confusion? Could the problem be that even though you believe the Scriptures, there are some things about them you just don’t under-stand? I would suggest that this is a major problem in the Church of Jesus Christ today. Far too many true believers are struggling with things they shouldn’t be struggling with at all.

I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons for this is that too many pastors are spending too little time preaching, teaching, and explaining the meaning of God’s Word to God’s peo-ple. Why? Because too many churches are too busy trying to be all things to all people.

Luke 24:13-14 introduces us to two followers of Jesus. They aren’t two of the remaining eleven apostles. Rather, they’re disciples in the broader sense, as you and I are disciples. They’re on their way home to Emmaus (about seven miles northwest of Jerusalem). The events of the last week have served to sadden, frustrate, and discourage them. All of their hopes for the Jewish Messiah, the hopes that had seemed so real only seven days earlier on Palm Sun-day, have been dashed to pieces.

In theologian David Gooding’s commentary on Luke’s gospel he says this:
“Death and resurrection formed no part of their concept of (the) Messiah’s office
and program, which is why they had not really taken in what Jesus had said about His coming death. They were hoping for a Messiah who would break the imperial-ist domination of the Romans by force of arms. A Messiah who managed to allow Himself to be caught by the Jewish authorities, handed over to the Romans and cru-cified before He had even begun to organize any guerrilla operations, popular uprisings or open warfare – what use was He? If the Old Testament prophesied a liberator who should not die, but be triumphant, Jesus was already disqualified: He had died. After that, it was almost irrelevant to talk of resurrection.”
So the two men on the road to Emmaus are just like the eleven remaining disciples. They had believed in Jesus, but now – not so much. What is their problem? Their problem is that they’ve understood neither the OT prophecies, nor what Jesus said about His pending death and resurrection when He taught and ministered among them. And now that He was cruci-fied, dead, and buried, their faith has been shaken to its core.

Now look at vv. 15-16. As they are walking along the road a stranger approaches and begins to walk with them. This was not uncommon since traveling alone from one village or city to another could be dangerous. You remember what happened to the lone traveler who was found and ministered to by the good Samaritan.

These two men knew who Jesus was, but they didn’t recognize Him. That may seem strange to you until you remember that this is the Lord Jesus in His resurrected and glorified body. Yet His appearance is not dazzling as it was at the transfiguration where Peter, John, and James were given a glimpse of His glory.
Luke 9:29, 32a
29 And while (Jesus) was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.
32a Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory…

Cleopas and his traveling companion didn’t recognize Jesus, and they weren’t frightened or even startled by His appearance. He looked like any other man walking along the road.

Don’t you wonder what your glorified body will be like? The fact is that after our resurrect-tion we will have a physical body just like Jesus has a physical body. If you want to know about your resurrected and glorified body, consider what we know about His.
• In 1 John 3:2 the Bible tells us that “…we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”
• In Luke 24:39 the resurrected Jesus says, “…touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
• In Luke 24:43 the disciples gave Him a piece of broiled fish “…and He took it and ate it before them.”
• And John 20:19 tells us He could pass through solid objects. “…and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst.”

And here in Luke 24:16, on the road to Emmaus, He could alter His appearance so as not be immediately recognized. How is all of this possible? The Apostle Paul tells us.
2 Corinthians 5:1
1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Why would Jesus not want these two followers to recognize Him? I believe it is because He intends to explain the Scriptures to them and He wants to make it clear that the power lies in the truth and not in the teacher. Our focus should always be on the purity of the truth. It should never be on the prominence of the teacher. If you’re hearing God’s truth, it doesn’t matter who your teacher is. That’s a lesson for all of us!

In v. 17 Jesus asks them what they’re talking about. The men are amazed at this stranger’s question. They wonder how anyone could be anywhere near Jerusalem and not know what has happened in the past few days. So in vv. 18-24, one of the two men, named Cleopas, proceeds to tell Jesus all about it. How can you not smile at this? Can you imagine Jesus asking you to explain something to Him? (It is interesting to note that some theologians believe Luke mentions Cleopas by name because he was Luke’s source for the story.)

So in v. 19 Cleopas and his traveling companion inform Jesus of Nazareth that Jesus of Nazareth was a prophet of God who was mighty in deed and word. They are right. In fact, Jesus is the prophet about whom Moses wrote and Peter would later preach.
Acts 3:22
22 “Moses said, ‘The LORD God shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed in everything He says to you.”

In v. 20 they relate the story of Jesus’ sentence, death, and crucifixion. This is what has devastated Cleopas and his companion. They had believed the Messiah would be Israel’s redeemer. And, of course, the Messiah will be Israel’s redeemer. He will be, but not at His first coming. He will save, redeem, and restore Israel at His second coming.
*Romans 11:25-27
25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob (Israel).”
27 “And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

Go back to Luke 24. The OT made it clear that this Redeemer, this Deliverer would shed His blood. That should have been crystal clear during Passover. Yes, they were believers, but they were untaught believers. It never occurred to them that the price for redemption would be the shed blood of the Messiah. And so, when Jesus died, they were shocked and confused. They thought (and I paraphrase), “Jesus could not possibly have been the One we were looking for. He’s already been dead for three days.” And in v. 21 they say: “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”

Do you see how their lack of understanding and their lack of faith work together to feed their doubts and fears and confusion? God has done everything He promised to do, but His own people don’t “get it” and their faith suffers for it. “Oh, how we need to know God’s Word!”
Look at vv. 22-24. Cleopas and his companion really wanted everything they knew about Jesus to be true. But He was dead. So that was that!

However, they continue telling Jesus about something else they had heard earlier in the day. Again I will paraphrase. They say, “But it seems that some of the women went to the tomb this morning, and His body wasn’t there. And there were some angels who said Jesus was alive. Then some other disciples went to the tomb and found out that the women were right. His body wasn’t there. Can You imagine that? What a story! But all is lost. He’s dead.”

Jesus loves these two believers, but in the next few verses His frustration with them comes out. They suffer from a common malady among God’s people – a staggering ignorance of His written Word. That ignorance leads to a lack of faith. That lack of faith leads to unbe-lief. Not the hard-hearted unbelief of the lost, but what you might call “the believer’s unbe-lief.” That’s the “unbelief” that you and I struggle with in our daily lives.

Do you remember the man with the demon-possessed son? He approached Jesus and said…
Mark 9:22b-24
22b “…if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”
23 And Jesus said to him, “If You can! All things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Such, I think, is the “unbelief” of these two men. You can relate to that, can’t you?
*Luke 24:25-27
25 And He (Jesus) said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures (the OT).

Calling the two men foolish and slow of heart gets right to the core of their problem. “Fool-ish” basically says that they have not been using their brains. They have some knowledge of the truth, but they haven’t been applying it. “…slow of heart” does not imply moral failure. Rather it speaks to a certain intellectual sluggishness or laziness. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.”

Cleopas and his traveling companion had a little knowledge. They had believed what the prophets had said about the Messiah’s glory. But they hadn’t believed what the prophets had said about the Messiah’s suffering. The point is that they believed the passages they thought they understood and liked, but they had not believed the passages they didn’t understand or like. Aren’t many of us just like that? Let me cite two examples for you.
• How many Christians do you know who really do not believe the Genesis account of creation – you know, a young earth created in six literal twenty-four hour days some six to ten thousand years ago?
• Or how many Christians do you know who reject the Bible’s teaching of original sin and the depravity of man?
• Or how many Christians do you know who reject the biblical account of the last days in Revelation when it speaks of an Antichrist who will rise to power and a coming seven-year hell on earth?

They all have the same problem. They believe some of the Bible, just not all of it.

In Luke 24:25 Jesus indicts such believers as being “foolish and slow of heart.” Here once more is an example of the “believer’s unbelief.” So how many Christians do you know who believe everything about Jesus’ first coming and His suffering, but do not believe in His second coming and His glory? You can see the problem – “…foolish and slow of heart!”

If Israel (corporately) and Cleopas and his friend (individually) had believed all that the Scrip-tures had said, they would have known that the Messiah would suffer, would die, and would be resurrected from the dead. But they didn’t. So Jesus asked them the question in v. 26. “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” This question is nothing less than a rebuke for their ignorance.

But now, in v. 27, Jesus will teach them all they need to know. (Can you imagine having the Lord Jesus Himself teach you His Word?) What did He teach them? I suppose He began with the first Messianic prophecy in Genesis 3, and continued to the ark and our safety in Christ. He would have spoken of the Passover lambs and the manna from heaven. He would have taught them about the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, Isaiah’s prophecies, and Daniel’s account of the day Jesus would enter Jerusalem. He would have told them of the details of the crucifixion in the Psalms, the second coming in Zechariah, and probably much more.
*Luke 24:28-32
28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He (Jesus) acted as though He would go farther.
29 And they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” And He went in to stay with them.
30 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.
31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 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?”

Cleopas and his friend were no longer ignorant. They were no longer filled with doubts, fears, and confusion. Jesus opened the eyes of their hearts as He spoke to them. And that is precisely what His written word – the book you have in your hands – will do for you. It can make you wise. Itcasn change your life. But it will do so only if you read it. It will do so only if you believe it. This was Paul’s point when he mentored young Timothy.
*2 Timothy 3:14-17
14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them;
15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings (for Timothy the OT – for us the whole Bible) which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

In Luke 24:29 Cleopas and his friend asked Jesus to stay with them. They had been fed spiritual food (truth), and instead of being full, they wanted more. Like babies they had had their milk. Now, like men, they had had their meat. And it only made them hungry for more. That’s the way it works when you start to feed on truth. You can’t get enough.

And what happened to Cleopas and his friend in v. 31? “…their eyes were opened and they recognized Him!” I trust that no one here misses the significance of that. Finally, in v. 32, their hearts were set in fire.
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IV. Conclusion
I wish I could set every one of your hearts on fire for the truth. But I cannot. All I can do is give you the match. You’ll have to strike it. Why not get the fire going with a book about which you know very little?
• What about Ezra and Israel’s restoration after the Babylonian captivity? Look for a key verse (7:10) and see what Ezra says about the Messiah.
• What about the Psalms? Jesus’ presence in them is unmistakable.
• What about Ecclesiastes and the things of this world versus the things of God?
• What about the Song of Solomon? It will surprise you.
• What about Revelation? Go ahead – you’ll be blessed. I know you will because it says you will. (Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”)

Just take up the Word of God and read something. Let the truth dispel your doubts, your fears, and your confusion. It will set your heart on fire.

~ Pray ~

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