The theme of the weeks following Easter has been "The Road from Emmaus." I don't know how many of the sermons preached during this time have been on the theme, because I have not been here (except once). I've been "on the road" from Emmaus. I was here for the first worship. Lawson Stone preached and the Gospel lesson of the Emmaus story was read. But Lawson is an Old Testament man. He couldn't stay with the New Testament. He did a powerful exposition of Psalms 84.
But he began with Emmaus and made the challenging point that the Christian faith is not about arriving somewhere; it's not about destinations but journeying. When a truth like that is sounded, it evokes a "yeah." It seems too obvious.
Even so, in most of our considerations of the Scriptural account of the Emmaus story, we read from Luke 23:13-35 — and we usually stop there. You noted that I picked up with Luke 23:36 because here is, as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story" — and the rest of the story adds tremendous meaning. So, I want to talk to you not about the walk to Emmaus but the walk from Emmaus.
Did you hear the story of that important business executive who boarded the New-Orleans-to-Washington train? He was a heavy sleeper and he needed to be awakened in order to get off the train in Atlanta about five o'clock in the morning. He had a very important business engagement there so he found a porter and told him, "I want you to awaken me in order that I might get off the train at five o'clock in the morning. Now I'm a heavy sleeper," he said. "It doesn't matter how much I fret and fuss and fume or what I do to you — I have to get off the train in Atlanta. If you have to remove me bodily," he said, "you get me off that train in Atlanta."
Well, the next morning he awakened about nine o'clock, having slept all night and having missed Atlanta, found that he was speeding toward Washington. He located the porter and really poured it on with all sorts of abusive language, almost attacking the poor guy bodily. After he left, someone said to the porter, "How could you stand there and take that kind of talk from that man?" The porter said, rather bewildered, "That ain't nothin'! You should've heard that guy I put off in Atlanta!"
Many of us not only fail to get off at the right station, we miss the train — and too many of us, I'm afraid, miss the train of the total gospel message — that's the reason we have to read the rest of the story — and we have to think about the walk from Emmaus.