On Sunday, April 27, Rev. Margaret Minnicks preached at New Canaan Worship Center in Richmond, Virginia. She preached from Luke 24:13-35 about the two disciples who walked to Emmaus on the evening of Resurrection Sunday.
Rev. Minnicks introduced her sermon by saying that after Jesus rose from the dead, He walked the face of the earth 40 days and appeared before about 570 people before His ascension. The stories surrounding Jesus and what He did after His resurrection are the Post-Resurrection narratives.
Of all the Post-Resurrection stories, this one is the most detailed and considered to be the one with the most lessons for us to learn as we take our own walk on the Emmaus Road. This was "A Life-Changing Walk.”
The story begins with two disciples leaving Jerusalem after the resurrection. These are not the disciples in Jesus close circle. These were two others because any follower of Jesus is called a “disciple.” As the two set out to Emmaus, they talked to each other as they walked the seven miles away from Jerusalem. These two were breaking fellowship. They were abandoning those who were still celebrating the resurrection in Jerusalem.
Instead of celebrating with the others, they were sad about what happened because even though they witnessed it in the natural, they did not understand what the resurrection was all about. They were hashing out and going over the events of the last three days. Yet they were saddened because they expected Jesus to come to redeem Israel.
As they discussed all that had happened, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them. With so many people in Jerusalem at that time for the Passover, the two disciples did not find it odd that a stranger would join them on their walk. What they found odd was that the stranger didn’t know what had happened during the last few days.
So Jesus questioned them. He knew the answers because He was Jesus. But He wanted them to articulate their feelings. Jesus had to bring them from their natural self to a spiritual awakening of who Jesus was as He walked and talked with them. Jesus comes right out and asked them who they were talking about. This shocked them to the point that they stood still. They were stunned. They were amazed. They couldn’t understand how anyone couldn’t know the news of the day. While Jesus talked to these two disciples, they never looked at Him because their faces were downcast. They were looking down the whole time they were walking and talking.
One of the disciples, the one named Cleopas, asked Jesus if He was the only one in Jerusalem who didn’t know what had happened. It is interesting because Jesus was the only one who knew for sure what had happened.
Jesus asked them why they were so sad. Then they began to enumerate and list everything that had happen from their point of view. Because of their lack of understanding, Jesus calls them foolish and slow to believe what the prophets had spoken. So Jesus had Bible study with them. He took them all the way back to the Old Testament to the prophets and explained what had happened according to the Scriptures. What was happening on the Emmaus Road was that misery loves company. These two disciples were not encouraging each other. Instead they were wallowing in each other’s sadness. Remember they had left the other believers in Jerusalem, and they were trying to sort things out themselves. That’s not good. We should be with other believers during our time of sadness.
As the three approached the village of Emmaus, the two disciples turned to go into their house, but Jesus pretended to go on further until they invited Him to come in. Jesus wasn’t playing games. Jesus was testing their hospitality. It was an Old Testament law that one must be hospitable to strangers and insist that they spend the night. Jesus was not going to intrude. The disciples knew the custom, so they invited the stranger in. It was another custom that no matter how poor a family was, or how late it was, they had to offer their guest a fresh loaf of bread. This might seem strange because Jesus was the guest, but at this particular time He became the host. While Jesus was at the table with them, Jesus took the bread and gave thanks, then He broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened. It was at that precise moment that they recognized Jesus. They had seen Jesus do this when he fed the five thousand and when fed the four thousand.
It wasn’t the right time at the beginning of the story for the disciples’ eyes to be opened. It was only after the the word of God had been shared with them. It was only after the breaking of bread that their eyes were opened. The teaching and the breaking of bread made the disciples remember and recognize. This meager meal had become a sacrament.
After this happened Jesus disappeared. The two disciples got up and went back to Jerusalem to tell of their experience; to tell the others that Jesus was alive just as He said He would be. These two disciples had gone from mourners to missionaries because of this “Life-Changing Walk” with Jesus.
Jesus wants to meet you on a “Life-Changing Walk.” He wants to walk with you. He wants to talk with you. He wants to tell you all about Himself. At first you might not recognize Jesus, but He will keep talking to you until you recognize who He is. Don’t be like the disciples on the Emmaus Road. Don’t be so wrapped up in your own sadness and sorrow that you don’t recognize Him when He walks up beside you. Don’t be so self-absorbed that you don’t recognize the voice of Jesus.
You can focus on the things of God only after you stop focusing on yourself. You will never know who Jesus is unless you attend a good Bible study where someone will help you understand the scriptures going all the way back to the Old Testament. Jesus Himself said you are foolish and slow of heart if you don’t know who He is.
Jesus wants to walk with you on your own Emmaus Road, and Jesus wants to talk with you just as you did with the two disciples over 2,000 years ago. Jesus wants to go on “A Life-Changing Walk” with you so He can tell you all about Himself; how He was crucified on the cross at Calvary; how He was buried and rose on the third day so that we can be saved and have eternal life. Jesus wants to go with you on “A Life-Changing Walk.”