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This week we are continuing our series titled Understanding Christ’s Passion.

The death of Christ was interpreted only as a great personal tragedy and a political catastrophe by the disciples until the light of God was shed on this event through the doorway of an empty tomb and the presence of a living Lord.

This week we are talking about,

Realising the Resurrection.

Text

Luke 24:15-16 (ESV)

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.

Luke 24:30-31 (ESV)

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.

Scripture Reading

Luke 24:13-35 (ESV)

On the Road to Emmaus

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] 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.

Introduction 

Approached from the standpoint of the two disciples who walked with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, our scripture reading is a beautiful story.

Luke told it simply, and in great detail because the experience of these two disciples was representative of all Jesus’ followers.

This story illustrates that it is possible to see and yet not perceive, to behold but not to recognise, to have the risen Christ walk beside us without realising it is truly Him.

This story has two key verses, Luke 24:16 and 31.

There is a dark side to this story, 16 But their eyes were kept from recognising him.

But there is also a bright side, 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognised him.

Heartbreak and sadness gave way to joy and gladness.

As clearly as in any record in the New Testament, here are two sides of a coin.

  1. The dark side of the coin.

“But their eyes were kept from recognising him.” 

Imagine it!

These disciples were walking beside their risen Lord and did not realise it!

  1. What is the fact here?

Simply that these disciples were in the presence of the greatest reality in history, the reality of the risen Christ, but they did not know it.

Can we sit in judgement of them?

Is it not pathetic that our own eyes are so often dimmed by unbelief that we fail to realise His presence.

B. What explains this fact?

The statement “They were kept from recognising him.” Does not mean their physical sight was in any way impaired.

Nor does it mean that God had blinded their eyes.

Their failure to recognise Him was a judgement they had brought on themselves.

  1. They were victims of their preoccupation with other thoughts, other things.

Obviously they did not expect to see Jesus.

They were absorbed in their grief, their frustration, their disappointment.

2. They were victims of their own presuppositions.

They said in verse 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.”

Here they reveal the popular misunderstanding of the role of the Messiah of their hopes.

The crucifixion of Jesus was seen as fatal to the hope that He would prove to be the Christ. 

3. They were victims of their own unbelief.

Their words to Jesus were a confession of obstinate unbelief.

They did not expect their Lord to fulfil His own promises, and they refused to believe the word of cheer sent by heavenly messengers.

4. Jesus rebuked them, saying Luke 24:25-26 (ESV)

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?”

Jesus rebuked them for not believing the Old Testament.

They had failed to believe all that the prophets had spoken, particularly His atoning death and His return to heavenly glory.

C. What resulted from this fact?

What were the consequences of not recognising their Lord?

How dark is the picture! 

Because they did not believe the resurrection had truly taken place, they had not experienced its uplifting power.

  1. Sadness still ruled their hearts.

As the two disciples were talking with each other, Jesus asked “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.

2. They had abandoned all hope.

Verse 21 says “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”

Notice the past tense, “we had hoped.”

Now their hope was gone.

3. The fact that the disciples did not recognise Jesus demonstrates the extreme darkness of unbelief.

They continued their speech sadly, in Luke 24:21-24 (ESV)

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.”

Note “it is the third day since all this took place”

They did remember Jesus’ promise, but they did not recognise Him as the risen Christ.

To paraphrase their thoughts, “We remember His promise to rise on the third day, but as you can see, He didn’t keep His promise.”

Being disappointed in Jesus is like dwelling in a pit of darkness and doubt.

2. The bright side of the coin.

Luke 24:31 (ESV)

31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

  1. What led to their open eyes, their recognition of Christ?

It happened in a second, but it had its light bulb moments

  1. First came the revelation of Scripture.

Luke reported in Luke 24:27 (ESV)

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

When finally they recognised Him, they said in Luke 24:32 (ESV)

32 “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Under the touch of the Bible’s central figure, the Scriptures they had known from childhood were coming alive with light, and they saws the suffering servant of the prophet’s vision as the very Jesus to whom they had grown close.

He who offered Himself to God without flaw has a rational claim to be Scriptures best interpreter.

2. Then came their burning hearts.

How do you define the Scriptures or the quality that makes the Bible different to all other books?

It defies definition, but the witness of God’s Spirit in our hearts is the inward glow that confirms the outward revelation.

After these two disciples had joined the others in Jerusalem that night, had given their witness, and had heard of the Lord’s appearance to Peter, Jesus Himself appeared in their midst.

Luke wrote in Luke 24:45 (ESV)

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

An open Bible and open minds result in passionate hearts.

3. Then came the breaking of bread.

The simplicity of Luke’s writing here is full of reality and truth.

Luke 24:30-31 (ESV)

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.

Was it that familiar, characteristic gesture that gave them their clue, some mannerism reminding them of an unforgotten meal with the Master?

A symbol is an interpretation to the heart.

Our Lord’s symbolic act in the Emmaus cottage was certainly an interpretation of the heart, and two hearts left to meet it.

B. What resulted from their open eyes, their recognition of Christ?

This was a joyous event.

When they did recognise Him, when they released that the resurrection truly had occurred, all of life was changed by the experience.

Every shattered hope was reborn.

Even uncertainty vanished

The disciple smouldering hearts burst into flames of joy, and all of life took on a different look.

Note the deep haste that is suggested.

Luke 24:33 (ESV)

33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,

The disciples were in the grip of the greatest feeling in the world.

Something had happened to them.

They had wonderful news to tell, news that would set the hearts of all who heard it on fire with joy, and they couldn’t wait to reach Jerusalem so they could share it.

In the intense excitement, they met the eleven and others,  saying, “Have you heard?

Do you know?

Isn’t it wonderful?

And the disciples replied in Luke 24:34 (ESV)

34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Conclusion.

Someone has defined the Christian life as a long Emmaus pilgrimage.

This is true, for now that He is risen and ascended, geography no longer exists in God’s kingdom.

A believing heart has everywhere as its Holy Land.

Emma’s is anywhere when we meet the risen Lord and welcome Him into our hearts.

And when we meet Him, we will know Him, because we will see Him as He is.

The resurrection is a historical fact.

May god help us realise this fact.

Until next time

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

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