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Weekly Word

Entries in Blindness (2)


On The Road To Emmaus

Luke 24:13-32.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on May 29, 2016.

We pick up the story of the resurrection of Jesus where the disciples are in a mixed state of confusion.  They have experienced great sadness and grief over the crucifixion of Jesus.  And yet, now there is also confusion regarding what happened to the body of Jesus, what the women are saying about a message from an angel.  As we come upon this scene today, we will see much of ourselves in it.  We will see people who are slow to believe what God has said He will do.  We will see people who need their eyes opened to who Jesus really is.  As we look at the evidence today, let us also ask the Lord to open our eyes that we might fully see who He truly is.

Further Proof Of The Resurrection

In verses 13-16 we find the first account that Luke gives of an eye witness interaction with Jesus.  We know from the other Gospels that Jesus would have appeared to the women and possibly to Peter some time before this.  Luke's portrayal of that Sunday morning does a good job of showing the scurrying activity of the disciples in many different directions.  In the midst of all of this Jesus is appearing to different ones at different times, helping them to understand and believe.

Thus we find two disciples who are leaving Jerusalem to go back to their home in Emmaus, which is about 7 miles from Jerusalem.  One of the two disciples is named later in verse 18, Cleopas.  They are at the least headed home after Passover.  However, the death of Jesus and current stories of the women may have spooked them.  They know that the Romans and the religious leaders of Israel will blame someone for the missing body.  Whatever reason led to them going home, it is while they are walking and talking along their way that Jesus joins them.  It is interesting that Luke tells us their eyes were "restrained" from knowing him.  Now it is most likely that Jesus looks somewhat different due to the crucifixion.  We are told that he was heavily beaten and whipped.  Like visiting someone who was in a horrible car accident in the hospital, we can be shocked at how unrecognizable a person is who goes through such things.  But there is also a spiritual thing happening here.  It literally means that their eyes were held shut.  Of course this is about their perception of who he is.  Why would God keep them from perceiving Jesus?  Didn't he want them to know it was him?  I think that this is done on purpose to highlight their blindness (and ours) to His Word and prophecy.  It is important for all who come to believe in Jesus to know that they have been helped over the top of their own blindness.

It is here that Jesus points out there clear sadness (vs. 17).  They were sad that a mighty prophet had been killed (vs. 19).  They had gone 400 years without a prophet from God, and then suddenly John the Baptist and Jesus rose up, demonstrating a clear and authentic connection to God.  Yet, now the leaders have put them to death.  They are also sad that the redemption of Israel would not be happening now (vs. 21).  The messiah was prophesied to free Israel from bondage to the nations.  Like a slave being bought back, God would use the Messiah to purchase Israel back to Himself.  They would not be under His discipline, but rather would enjoy His favor.  Imagine the heights of joy they had thinking about the coming freedom, and then, splat!  Their hopes are dashed in the death of Jesus.  So they explain the death of Jesus and the dashing of their hopes to Jesus unknowingly.  Yet, they also explain the strange events of the morning: an empty tomb, angels saying that Jesus is alive, and the missing body verified.  Verse 24 ends with, "But they did not see."  Seeing is a big part of this passage.  Luke is in essence telling all who would read his gospel, "We were so blind!"

 Starting in verse 25 we see a classic rebuke from Jesus.  They are being foolish.  They path of folly is not to heed the Word of God and they were guilty of not listening to what Jesus had been trying to tell them and what the Old Testament was trying to tell them.  This put them on a path that was different from God's path for them, the path of folly.  Folly always leads to destruction unless we get off the path.  They were also "slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken."  It had been predicted that the Christ would suffer and be executed as well as hard wired into the sacrificial system itself.  Isaiah 53 defies all understanding if one rejects that it points to an executed savior.  Daniel 9:26 literally says that messiah would be executed.  Thus Jesus takes the next hour or two of the trip to explain that the prophets were saying this must happen.  Take joy in the fact that even when we are slow of heart to believe what God is trying to tell us that He continues to speak to us in order to help us believe.  The proper exposition of God's Word has an ability to draw people back from the paths of folly and fill their hearts with faith in God and His Son, Jesus.

At verse 28 we see that they are approaching the turn into their village.  But, Jesus begins to go on down the road without them.  They then invite Jesus to stay with them for the night, since it is getting close to evening and he will need a place to stay.  This is another critical juncture that teaches us something about God.  Jesus has poured an immense blessing into these men's lives with His explanation of Scripture and yet He will go on His way if they don't invite Him in.  The phrase in verse 29, "Abide with us," speaks volumes in light of John 15:4.  "Abide in me and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."  Their hearts desire to spend more time with this stranger and Jesus will deny no one who bids Him to come into their hearts.

A meal is fixed and served.  It would not be normal for a guest to take the bread, bless it, and distribute it.  However this is exactly what Jesus did.  It is in this act that the restraint on their perception is removed and they recognize that this is the Lord.  His manner is so much like Jesus that they finally see it.  I would encourage us to recognize our own generation's tendency to be slow to believe all that God has said in His Word.  We too often embrace parts that we like and discount parts we don't.  Some find scholars who will twist the meaning of Scripture.  Others will simply disregard it.  Regardless, it is only fellowship with Jesus that opens our eyes to who He is and what He is doing.  This is a powerful point that the first Christians leave for us all these years later.  We only truly saw Jesus by remaining in fellowship with Him.  It is still true today.  Unless we remain in a living and loving relationship with Jesus we will never have the blinders removed from our perception and we will never know the amazing plan of the Lord for our lives. 

Road to Emmaus audio



July 12, 2015--Luke 18:35-43

This sermon was preached by Pastor Nick Hauenstein.  Please click the audio link in order to listen to it.

Blind audio