Have you ever given up something you enjoyed because you realized it was distracting you from bigger things? I recently did. My reason? It was interrupting my relationship with God. It isn’t easy, and I’ve been fighting off the urge to return (isn’t that a sign of addiction? :-D), but I know it’ll ultimately be for the best.
Anyway, moving on…
The Gospel of Luke is one of my two favorite books of the Bible (tied with Deuteronomy). My favorite part of that book comes near the end, in chapter 24. My NASB gives this section the title “The Road to Emmaus:”
13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.
15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself 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 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 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 “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 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 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.
29 But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them.
30 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 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 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?”
33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,
34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.”
35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
Later, it goes on to say:
44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
I would note that verse 47 above does say, “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations,” not just “forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed…” but that isn’t the point I’m trying to make (tonight, anyway).
I bolded all the stuff that stood out to me. While we’ll not have the opportunity to learn at the feet of the Master anytime too soon, I still think we can all have an experience similar to those mentioned above.
The writings of Luke, both the above quoted Gospel and The Acts of the Apostles, use to really bug me. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems any time someone is explaining from scripture how Jesus is Messiah, LUKE SKIMS OVER IT! Why doesn’t he tell us what Jesus said, starting with Moses, on the road to Emmaus? He does something similar involving Paul in Acts. Why?
While I don’t have a good answer, I suspect it’s because God doesn’t want lazy followers. There’s no faith or commitment if the answers come easy. Truth be known, all of the answers to how Jesus is Messiah are in the Bible. The Apostles had no “New Testament” to reference, yet this didn’t seem to be a problem. Seems to me we have it easier than they did. 😉
I heard a lecture by the dude from http://www.followtherabbi.com/ that said one cannot claim to be a follower of Jesus if you aren’t studying the Gospels at least once a week. I agree with this statement. Your own personal “road to Emmaus” is there, you just need to start walking.