The Road to Emmaus Experience

Pastor Joseph Prince explains the significance of the Emmaus experience in Luke 24:13-36 for the personal Christian walk during the service on 10 October 2010.

Here’s my “digested” summary but first, the passage in question.

Luke 24:13-36
13And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was [a]about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.

15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 17And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” 19And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21″But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. 22″But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also 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 exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.”

25And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26″Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. 28And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.

29But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”

33And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.

36While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39″See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43and He took it and ate it before them.

44Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48″You are witnesses of these things.

49″And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

The Road to Emmaus event happened on the first day of the resurrection when Jesus was raised bodily. Pastor Prince pointed out that there are several parallels between this passage and Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and fell short of God’s glory. He believed that the Road to Emmaus signifies restoration from the fall and highlights an important key to receiving the restoration already won by Christ for all.

1. Finding Jesus in the Scriptures

The most important point he made for me was that Jesus pointed out scriptures concerning Himself to his disciples and followers. Jesus kept Cleopas and his companion from knowing who He was in person and “explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures“. Later in Jerusalem, He appeared to the 11 disciples and again, taught them to “understand the Scriptures” which is “all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms“.

Prince encouraged us to find Jesus in our quiet time. To seek revelations of the goodness and beauty of Jesus as recorded in scriptures. He said that it will be life and health to the reader as was promised in Proverbs 4:20-22.

20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they [are] life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

This brought to mind the times when I did receive revelations from my personal bible study. When I discover a nugget of truth myself, how warm, happy and well I felt, and the feelings last for quite a while. The Lord’s words are like medicine without side effects.

However, I also remembered the times when bible reading was dry and boring. Pastor consoled and encouraged me by explaining that Jesus Himself drew near the couple on the road to Emmaus when they were sharing and discussing Jesus and the resurrection event. They didn’t understand it and didn’t know what to make of it. Jesus Himself approached them and found the opportunity to explain the event to them and help them to understand His redemptive work. Jesus is eager to teach and help us understand. I should therefore press on even if the passage doesn’t make sense because Jesus will definitely draw near and explain it to me. I like the part about Jesus drawing near. 🙂

2. The Cup and the Bread

The other thing I picked up was the difference between the cup and bread of the Holy Communion. Pastor Prince pointed out these 2 verses:

“He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.”

He explained that if this is the Holy Communion it is missng the cup. Yet, the eating of this blessed bread alone opened their eyes to recognize Jesus.

He then compared this to Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened when they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But their eyes were opened to recognize their nakedness. I wonder what would have happened if they have eaten the fruit from the tree of life.

Could it be that the bread of life could also mean the fruit from the tree of life? If so, then by partaking the bread of life, we are also eating from the tree of life which is what God told Adam to do in the first place. Although we partake of the Holy Communion on a weekly basis, I have a feeling that what Jesus desires more is to draw near to us when we are looking for Him in the scriptures. Doesn’t this resemble a little game we used to play when we are young … hide and seek. Remember how happy we were when we find our playmates’ hiding places?

That’s all I have for this week’s message.

This sermon note is based on my thoughts and understanding of what was preached. It doesn’t represent the opinion and stand of New Creation Church.