A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Emmaus (Luke 24)
1. Oh good, you're still here! Boy, those steps keep getting steeper and steeper. I tell ya, we're going to have to stop meeting in these upper rooms. A ground floor meeting room would be much better. Anyway, you'll never guess what happened on the way to Emmaus today. WE SAW JESUS!! We did! I know, you're going to say, "Cleopas, you sound as crazy as the two Marys did this morning." If I hadn't been there, I'd be just as skeptical, but Simeon can back me up. He saw Him too!! You don't believe me. Well, let me tell you how it happened.
2. Simeon and I were walking to Emmaus. And we were talking. Both of us were trying to wrap our heads around everything that's happened this weekend. Jesus being the Messiah, but he's dead now. We just couldn't figure it out. Jesus was such a great prophet who could work miracles. Surely He must have been from God. That's the only logical explanation. The only problem is that He's dead. We saw Him die. Then again, the women said that they had seen angels at the tomb who said He had risen. Then, Peter and John, you went to the tomb. You saw that it was empty. What did all this mean? How could such a man like Jesus die? Especially if He was the Messiah? And how could anyone rise from the dead? I mean, we saw Jesus raise people from the dead, but who raised Him? And is that one the one we should be following? All these questions were circling around in our minds and conversation.
3. While we were discussing these things, this stranger walked up to us. We were minding our own business and he came along with us and asked the question: "What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?" (v17). We were flabbergasted. We asked Him, "Are you the ONLY visitor to Jerusalem who doesn't know what's happened in these days?" (v18). He had to be the only one in Jerusalem who didn't know about the crucifixions! So we filled Him in on all the details of the last three days. He still didn't seem like He had heard about any of it. But, then again, He seemed to understand exactly what happened.
4. At that point, this stranger became one of the greatest teachers we've ever known. He began by questioning our understanding of the Scriptures and asks another question: "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?" (v26). Then, He started with the Law of Moses and went through all of the Scriptures and pointed out how everything that has happened was prophesied to happen to the Messiah--including His resurrection from the dead!! He didn't just point out proof texts here and there and try to string them together. He went through the entire Scriptures and thematically pointed out that everything in the Scriptures points to the Messiah's life but also His death by crucifixion and His resurrection from the dead. We couldn't believe our ears! Why hadn't our rabbis taught us this way? Why were they pointing us to see a different presentation of the Messiah?
5. By the time we got to Emmaus, we had a completely different picture of Jesus as the Messiah. We could even begin to understand a resurrection from the dead. We wanted to hear more. We wanted to learn more. We wanted to know more. But He seemed to be going even further. We begged Him to stay, especially since it was so close to nightfall. Finally, we prevailed upon Him to stay with us for the evening. So we came into the house and got ready to eat since we hadn't eaten much today.
6. The stranger came to the table. He took bread and blessed it and broke it. That's when we knew it. This was Jesus sitting at the table with us! Jesus had risen from the dead! We could believe it! We both started to ask questions, but He disappeared right in front of us. We couldn't find Him anywhere. It was amazing. We couldn't help but wonder why we didn't recognize Him before supper. Our hearts even burned inside of us as we heard Jesus teaching us about Himself in the Scriptures. Why didn't we see it before? We don't know. The only thing we knew was that we had to come back here and tell you about what happened to us.
7. So, we came here as fast as we could--even in the dark of night. We ignored our own reasons for safety that we used to have Jesus stay with us because the message we had was much more important than our own physical safety. Jesus has risen from the dead! We've seen Him with our own eyes! He is truly the one who has redeemed Israel. It's not something that we have to wait for. It's what has already happened because Jesus died and rose again. We no longer have to wait for it. It's here already! We have been redeemed by Christ the crucified! Christ is risen! Amen.