Lessons on the Road to Emmaus

Taken from a Red Rock News Article
Rev. Dona Johnson | April 21, 2024

”So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. 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. And he vanished from their sight. 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?’ And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:28- 35).
       Many Christians have had an Emmaus experience, where we learn to see God with new eyes and in different ways. In the Christian journey there are times when our faith life gets dry. At times like these, we need to be inspired and renewed to get that spiritual hunger back— whether you are new to the faith or seasoned, it happens to all of us.
Jesus had just risen from the dead. But some of his friends, his disciples, didn’t believe it. Some still didn’t get it. Two of them, on the same day this all happened, were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.
They were talking over all the events of the last three days when suddenly a man came up and began walking with them. “What are you talking about?” He asked. The two seemed stunned. Did this guy have his head in the sand? Did he not know what happened? It seemed everyone knew.

       They walked and talked. They told him about Jesus. Yet, they still did not understand who Jesus was. This stranger then opened up the Scriptures and told them all about Jesus. When they got to their destination, the man looked as if he was going to continue onward, but the two insisted he come with them into their home and stay with them. They invited him in. Then, as they were at the table and bread was broken, suddenly the eyes of their hearts were opened, the veil had been lifted from their eyes and they realized the stranger was JESUS. As soon as they recognize it was him, he suddenly disappears (From Luke 24:13- 35).
       There are several truths we learn from the Emmaus story. First God meets us where we are— in our doubts, confusion and even in times of our disbelief. God doesn’t scold us in these times. Instead, he patiently waits and walks with us. He listens to our hearts. And while others turn away, Jesus remains close. Secondly, we learn Jesus isn’t pushy. He doesn’t force anything on us. The two disciples invited him to stay longer and so he did. Nagging someone about their lack of faith never works. In fact it drives them away. Thirdly, as Jesus broke bread with the two disciples God opened their hearts by grace to receive him by faith. In Holy Communion, God opens our hearts to the real presence of who he is and forgives us our sin. In communion God generously pours out his grace on us. And lastly, we learn that once we meet God face-to-face, just as the two disciples did, we are changed, we are never the same. God puts a hunger in our hearts, a burning desire to know him in deeper ways. Thanks be to God! Amen.

When was the last  
time you had a  
burning desire to  
know Jesus, to sit in  
his presence and ask  
him to stay a little longer?