Series: Jesus Never Stops
Luke 24: 13-35
Good morning to my friends at Cross Church. Turn in your Bibles to Luke 24. As you are finding the last chapter of Luke 24, I want to invite you to a powerful time of prayer two Sundays from today. I am calling our church to pray for spiritual awakening. Personal awakening… for our church to awaken, and for our nation to awaken. There will be no sermon on Sunday, April 17, but simply a time for us to call out to God. ”Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). We need a spiritual awakening like no other time in my lifetime. Let’s gather together during all of morning worship services and beg God to bring fresh anointing on His people.
What did Jesus do after His resurrection? Sometimes the truest things of the universe slip past us for our minds for less important matters. A girl walks into a school lunchroom for the first time and all eyes are on her. She wonders who will be her friend in a new school. She quickly leaves the room to retreat into the restroom where she cries in loneliness. Our minds are on the needs of the day but no one is caring for this teenage girl. Sometimes our minds miss the most important matters for the mundane.
Years ago two people walked along a road with their hearts sunk to their stomach. These two were dejected in the worst of ways. These men nearly missed one of history’s great events.
It’s here on the Road to Emmaus that you and I learn powerful lessons on how to experience a personal awakening. My aim this morning is this: for you to experience a personal time of worship.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, ”What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ”Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, ”What things?” And they said to him, ”Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 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 happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even 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 as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, ”O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 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. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 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?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, ”The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:13-35)
For many, this is one of their favorite stories in all the Bible. Watch these two as they Walk, as they Talk, and lastly as they Eat. Along the way, we’ll see Jesus move from stranger, to guest, and lastly to a friend.
Let’s take the seven miles journey with these two and may your heart be warmed by Him along the way.
1. A Poignant Walk Beside a Stranger
1.1 Jesus was a Stranger
We are not told the second person other than Cleopas was on the road. Was it Cleopas’ wife? Was it a friend? And while we don’t know Cleopas’ companion on this day, we certainly know more than Cleopas does from the beginning of the story. All through the narrative, we wait with eager anticipation for the two to finally identify who the stranger is. It’s this ”waiting for the other shoe to drop” that builds the tension in the story.
1.2 What a Walk!
Yet, what a walk this must have been! You get something of the power of this conversation when you see their reaction when Jesus about to depart: ”but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us…”’ (Luke 24:29). Surely, these two would have walked another seven miles with their mystery guest. The conversation was so good they never wanted it to end. It must have felt like the journey had just begun when it ended. A king would give His crown away to have such a walk with the Savior as these two had. Surely, these two looked at one another for the rest of their lives and said, ”We walked with Jesus and didn’t even know it.” ”The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).
You realize don’t you that the risen Christ is now available to walk with tens of thousands of people. Prior to His resurrection, He would have been available to one place at a time. Here He walks from Jerusalem to Emmaus, but by virtue of His resurrection, He walks the streets of village, cities, and neighborhoods everywhere. I pause to say, that Jesus loves to walk with you, His children.
1.3 Missing Jesus
A young man knows he is a believer, yet he lacks a real joy, a real passion for Christ. A young lady loves the Lord, but her mother dies in a matter of months. She hurts because she doesn’t understand God’s ways. They have Jesus but they miss Jesus. There is no sorrow like losing Jesus. A believer is always down when Jesus is not present with them. You can never be happy if the Lord is hidden from you. Here were two individuals who missed Jesus. I find it insightful that even when their Lord was gone from them, they spoke of Him. Their passion for Christ was evident even when He was ”gone” from them. A lot of Christians today have all of the facts, but they lack the fire. They have theology, but they lack doxology. Dead orthodoxy is when you have the cardinal doctrines but there’s no expectation of meeting God. The church is turned in a religious cushion.
”And they said to him, ”Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God…” (Luke 24:19b). Circle the word ”was” in your Bible. They speak of Jesus in the past tense. They had seen Jesus walk on water and He called dead men from the tombs, yet they spoke of Him in the past tense. Jesus said to them: ”O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25)!
1.4 Tenacious Faith
But watch this … even though they were afraid that Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, they were still followers of Him. When a stranger asked them what they were talking about so intensely, they identified themselves with Jesus immediately. Even though their faith was faulty, it was nevertheless, tenacious. When it was dangerous to be indentified with Jesus (remember Peter’s denial of Jesus on Friday?), they nevertheless, were unashamedly said they were followers of Christ. Think of it – they were afraid He had not risen from the dead yet they remained His disciples. Yes, they were confused. Yes, they were downcast and depressed. But would never give up on Jesus. To be like Job, ”Though he slay, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15 KJV). You need tenacious faith for tough times. If Jesus will search for us when we are sinners, will He not search us out when we’re saved but distant from Him?
”But their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16). Now, we have all had the experience of failing to recognize someone we know quite well. Here, Jesus is near but He is unrecognized. Jesus is incognito, if you will. Did you realize the Lord may be present with you even if you are not conscious of it? By some mysterious way, these two simply thought they were walking with an anonymous visitor to Jerusalem. Would they have spotted Jesus if they were EXPECTING to see Him? What if they had taken Jesus’ predictions about His resurrection seriously? What if they walked to Emmaus with the expectation that Jesus is alive and roaming the earth. What if they said to one another earlier that morning, ”Could He meet us even in our journey today?” So many times in our lives we are blinded to the presence of the Lord by unbelief.
And then there was their ignorance. Part of the reason they didn’t see Jesus was due to their ignorance of Scripture. They were blind because they failed to Jesus plainly from Scripture.
2. An Engaging Talk with a Guest
Their holy conversation was about to end after their walk with their mysterious guest. Did they pull on His arm to beg Him to stay? ”So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, ”Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent” (Luke 2428-29).
2.1 What if They Hadn’t Insisted?
Can you imagine these two had they not pressed Jesus to stay? Imagine the blessing they missed had they not insisted Jesus stay and eat with them. I can see the two sitting across the table asking one another, ”Why didn’t we insist on him staying?” These two would have experienced a sleepless night, tossing and turning in their beds as they missed the comfort the stranger brought them. The stranger was worth constraining to stay put for the night. Remember, we know what they didn’t – we know Who the Stranger is. We cannot let Him go. We must detain Him. He is worth pressing Him to stay.
2.2 What to Do When God is Confusing
Some of you are not the joyful believer you used to be. Pray then like this: ”Lord, stay with me.” Some of you are hurting in a terrible time of affliction. ”Stay with me Lord and give me the light of Your presence. For Your Presence warms my heart like nothing else.” Unbelief offers the Lord no place to stay. Self-righteous pride pushes Him off the property. The world sees no beauty in Him while house after house locks their doors against His presence. Will you say to Him, ”Here is a place for you to stay. Come into my home. Stay in my life.”
Let me show you a pattern in Scripture of people begging God to stay with them.
Abraham at Mamre
”O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5 while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on-since you have come to your servant” (Genesis 18:3-5).
Manoah and the Angel
Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, ”Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” 16 And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ”If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) (Judges 13:15-16)
Jacob and God
Then he said, ”Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, ”I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). If you don’t have more of Him, it’s because you don’t want more of Him. ”Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). Do you remember the story in the gospels where the blind men had to cry even louder in order for Jesus to stop? Often, God will not visit until your desire is intense. We are told to knock repeatedly in prayer. Do you keep on seeking Him or do you ask simply once?
2.3 Jesus in Crowded Places
There are so many pressures in life that threaten to crowd out Jesus. There are financial concerns that crowd out Jesus. There are family concerns that crowd out Jesus. Be careful your heart isn’t a rock of ice so cold to the warm affection of Christ’s love. Let our hearts not forget to spend time with Christ. The happiest moments you’ll have are the time you spend in His company. We are never more alive than when He opens the Scripture for us. Let nothing so press you that you fail to say, ”Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.”
Now, pause and remember it was a stranger they asked into their home for they had yet to understand it was Jesus. ”Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). It was inhumane for them to allow this stranger to travel on without a place to rest: ”For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” (Matthew 25:35).
Don’t let a crowded life crowd out your time of personal worship.
2.4 A Rebuke
And he said to them, ”O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25)! The person who loves the Lord doesn’t mind a rebuke from Him. ”Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). There’s no resentment from these two because Jesus disciplined them.
2.5 Jesus Taught
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27) You know there’s never been a better school, there’s never been a better Teacher, and there’s never been a better explanation than these two had on that day. Here’s these two listened intently to Jesus as started in Genesis and went right through the Old Testament. ”You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…” (John 5:39). They had a teachable heart. As they walked with this stranger, they sat at the Lord’s feet and became the Master’s disciples afresh.
3. A Cherished Meal with a Friend
3.1 The Reveal
”When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight” (Luke 24:30-31).
Can you imagine the look on their face when they understood it was Jesus? Can you count the Goosebumps on their skin when they put it together? Can you clock their speed as they run off to tell the other disciples what happened?
3.2 They Had to Tell Others
And when they saw Him, they had to tell others. Think of it: these two took off in the dead of night and traveled seven miles to tell others. Though they had just walked seven miles, they no sooner than sat down then they walked/ran the seven again. Oh, their enthusiasm! Whenever and wherever the Lord meets you, you tell others – even when it is inconvenient to do so.
3.3 The Passion
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” (Luke 24:32)?
It was July 12, 1739 when he was born. A contemporary, Benjamin Franklin, was but thirty-three years old. This young man was born one of nine children to his parents, Hezekiah and Dorothy. He would suffer from depression for much of his life and die of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine. Yet, this young man and graduate of Yale had a strong appetite for God. At his conversion on July 12, he later wrote these words to describe his powerful experience: ”As I was walking in a dark thick grave, ‘unspeakable glory’ seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul … It was a new inward apprehension or view that I had of God; such as I never had before, nor anything that I had the least remembrance of it. So that I stood still and wondered and admired … I had now no particular apprehension of any one person of the Trinity, either the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, but it appeared to be divine glory and splendor that I then beheld. And my soul ‘rejoiced wit joy unspeakable’ to see such a God, such a glorious divine being, and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied that he should be God over all forever and ever. My soul was so captivated and delighted with the excellency, the loveliness and the greatness and other perfections of God that I was even swallowed up in him, at least to that degree that I had no thought, as I remember at first, about my own salvation or scarce that there was such a creature as I.” That man was David Brainerd, whose diary was published in 1749 and has never been out of print in the nearly 300 years span of time.
”Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8a). This is the way it is for believers. Our heart’s needle always turns toward true north. Whenever the Lord is near us, we burn with passion for Him. When a coal is placed near the fire, the embers are stirred hot. When you were first converted you would have stood in the rain to hear of Jesus’ love for you. You would have flown to another continent to get a glimpse of Christ. But for many, any excuse will do. Where is your warmth for Him? Why is your heart so cold toward Him?
For more sermons in this series please visit SermonSearch.com