On the road to Emmaus

One of the more striking episodes in scripture is the post-resurrection encounter Jesus has with two his followers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24.13-35). This road to Emmaus is a road of questions and doubt, but it leads to place of remarkable awakening. Amongst the many lessons packed into this story, I mention only one: it is insufficient to know about the death and resurrection of Jesus; our lives are changed when we encounter the resurrected Lord.

Notice these details:

1) These disciples knew about the crucifixion

They related the story Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. Luke 24.19-20

2) These disciples knew about the resurrection

Some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Luke 24.22-23

3) These disciples did not understand the scriptures until taught by Jesus.

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24.25-27

4) These disciples didn’t believe until their eyes were opened

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. Luke 24.30-31

5) These disciples had been hungry for more.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24.32

6) Observations

This episode is the story of the incomplete becoming complete in Christ. These disciples had an incomplete understanding of Scripture; Jesus completed it. These disciples had an incomplete understanding of the events of the last few days; Jesus completed it. These disciples had an incomplete understanding of their place in the big picture; Jesus completed it.

It’s not enough to know the facts of the gospel; salvation comes through an encounter with the resurrected Lord. Although these disciples knew the facts – Jesus died on the cross, and the tomb was empty, they still misunderstood the significance of the events; Jesus had to open their eyes, and he did so through personal encounter. Following Jesus includes believing the promises, but it also involves personal encounter with the resurrected Lord of glory. Our lives are completed through a personal encounter with Jesus.