Today’s text is about the two disciples who were going to a village called “Emmaus.” It was the the first Easter Evening–the day Jesus had risen from the Lord! But they were still sad and disappointed because they could not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. The City of Emmaus was 7 miles North West from Jerusalem. On the way, they were talking to each other about what had happened for last couple of days. While they were walking and talking, Jesus the risen Lord joined their journey.
But they could not recognize him because “Their eyes were kept from recognizing Jesus.” They were sad, confused, disappointed about what had happened to Jesus. Jesus said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” One of the disciples whose name was Cleopas answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” Jesus pretended by saying, “What things?” Jesus often used this kind of conversational technique to help others share their concerns from their hearts. So Cleopas said to Jesus, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us (they were probably Peter and John) went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” These are the words of people whose hopes are dead and buried. Their hope and dreams were shattered since they were spiritual blind.
So Jesus told them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.” No wonder Jesus rebuked their unbelief and foolishness! Although they had heard the good news of Jesus’ resurrection from their friends several time, they did not believe. How was it possible for them not to believe in the resurrection? They said that they were friends of the women who had visited Jesus’ tomb and Peter and John who also found the empty tomb. You know what? I know that it is very possible for us to make same mistake, if we continue to misuse the gift of freedom of choice. One of the gifts God gave to us is a freedom to make choices. A long time ago, Adam and Eve made a wrong choice. We can choose to do what God wants us to do or choose to do what we want to do. That’s why prophet Isaiah described Jesus’ suffering like this, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v.6).
What would Jesus say to you if he visits you right now? Like the two disciples, we have heard about the good news many times through Bible readings, sermons, and Bible Studies. We have even experienced his amazing grace. You and I know that God is with us and God knows everything we have done, yet still loves us. How is your soul? Is your soul filled with hope, joy, peace, and love or anger, doubt, disappointment, and anxiety? Here is good news for you. God’s grace and mercy are still available to us. We have power to make right choices! We can start a new life in Christ. We can have a new beginning.
Jesus’ resurrection becomes a reality to these disciples through two special experiences such as interpretation of the scriptures and the breaking of the bread. Luke said in verse 31, “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him . . . they said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us?” With a great joy, they ran back to Jerusalem (toward sunrise, before they were talking toward sunset since Emmaus was located northwest of Jerusalem), and told the eleven disciples what had happened on the road and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” When they received such great joy, hastened to share it. It was seven miles journey back to Jerusalem, but they could not keep the good news to themselves until next morning. The Christian message is never fully ours until we have shared it with someone else! When they arrived Jerusalem, the eleven disciples were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” It is the glory of any Christian to live in a fellowship of people who have all had the same experience. It has been said that true friendship begins only when people share a common memory and can say to each other, ‘Do you remember?’ Each of us is one of a great fellowship of people who share a common experience and a common memory of AMAZING GRACE OF GOD!
Psalm 116 is one of the Halle psalms. The word “halle” in Hebrews is “Praise” and “El” is Lord or Yahweh. So when we say, “Halleuya,” we are actually saying, “Praise the Lord!” Anyway, in this psalm, the writer is thanking God by celebrating God’s deliverance from his trouble. Although he was very sick, God healed him as an answer to his sincere and desperate prayers! So he expressed his thankful heart and his love for the Lord in this Psalm. And it begins like this:
“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, save my life” (vv.1-4).
*John Wesley’s Aldersgate Experience on May 24, 1738 He said, “I felt my heart strangely warmed . . .”
*Saul’s journey to Damascus (Acts 9): *Two disciples who met the risen Lord on the way of Emmaus
None of them lived same lifestyle. All of their hearts were transformed. As a result, the ways they lived and do ministries were greatly changed.
And I who just walked “Florida Sonrise Walk to Emmaus #48. I tell you what, the risen Lord also transformed my heart and life, I will not live same kind of lifestyle. The way I treat my family has been different. The way I do my ministry will be different. The way I follow Jesus will be different since Jesus opened my eyes and warmed my heart also! And I understand that “Walk to Emmaus” is not the only way you can have this kind of experiences. But I strongly recommend it to all of you to try out since it’s God’s will for us to have new beginnings. And remember that you are the who have power to make a right choice. Try “Walk To Emmaus” next year and I guarantee that God will do the rest!
God bless you. Let us pray!