THE UNEXPECTED HOST
Lord, You are the master of the Scriptures.
Read LUKE 24:13–35
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
a Luke 24:13 Or about 11 kilometers
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.” (Ephesians 1:18)
Jesus has been raised, but on that first day his disciples are still struggling with the bitter disappointment of his death. They have hoped (21), but their hopes are dashed. These two have heard the morning’s report of the empty tomb but do not yet know that Jesus has appeared to Peter (34). Failing to recognize him, they inform Jesus of what has happened to Jesus! In return he tells them what has really happened and why.
He begins with Scripture. Their future relationship with him could not be based on the memory of a brief face-to-face experience; nor can ours be based on particular moments of spiritual closeness. Something more lasting is needed, something that is found in Scripture. As disciples, they observed Jesus’ deep knowledge and trust Old Testament and how it shaped his life. Now their hearts burn as he uses the Scriptures to interpret the events that have caused them such grief and have undermined their trust. What none of them had grasped during the past few days they now see in Moses and the Prophets: “Did not the Messiah have to suffer … ?” (26).
Having revealed himself in the Scriptures, he now reveals himself personally. It is customary to offer hospitality to passing strangers, but this guest breaks protocol and acts as the host. He breaks, blesses, and shares the bread as they have presumably seen him do before, and at that moment they recognize him. Following Pentecost, the church accordingly has practiced “the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42) in “remembrance” of Jesus’ sacrifice (Luke 22:19). Whatever our theological understanding of that activity, it is a time to get refocused on our risen Lord’s true identity and get reinvigorated in his service. Today we encounter our risen Lord through the Scriptures and the breaking of bread.
It seems Jesus was the last person these two expected to see. In what aspects of our lives do we fail to expect Him or recognize His presence?
Lord, we long to have the eyes of our understanding opened by You the same way in which You did for these early disciples.
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