A few hours after the women had reported that Jesus was resurrected, Luke 24:22, we find two disciples, one named Cleopas, Luke 24:27 / John 19:25 and the other’s name isn’t mentioned. They were on their way to their hometown, Emmaus which was around seven miles from Jerusalem.
It seems that they had given up hope concerning the Messiah establishing a physical kingdom, they, just like the other disciples, obviously didn’t expect or believe that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, Luke 24:25.
Notice that when they were talking, Jesus walked with them, but they didn’t recognise Him. Jesus joined them, but He didn’t allow their minds to notice that it was actually Him in their presence. In what way were they kept from recognising Him?
Who knows, but Jesus Himself. Why did Jesus keep them from recognising Him? Possible because He wants to hear their thoughts about what happened in Jerusalem or possible this was a testing of their faith. One thing is clear though, all will be revealed later.
We’re not to think that Jesus didn’t know what they were discussing, He knows all things, John 2:24 / Mathew 9:4. He simply asked the question in order to partake in the conversation they were having and it seems the question puzzled the two disciples because everyone knew, the religious leaders knew, the Roman government knew, the common people knew and all were very much aware of everything which happened concerning the death of Jesus, Acts 26:26.
They all knew about this Jesus who grew up in a small village named, Luke 1:26 / Luke 2:39 / Luke 18:37.
Notice that they said that Jesus ‘was a prophet who was powerful in word and deed’, they recognised that Jesus performed many miracles and taught many powerful things, Matthew 21:11 / Luke 7:16 / John 3:2 / John 12:17 / Acts 2:22 / Acts 7:22. Jesus wasn’t just a prophet, but the prophet, Deuteronomy 18:15 / Deuteronomy 18:17-19.
Jesus had a huge reputation throughout all of Palestine but notice they use the word, ‘was’ which is past tense. In other words, their hope in the Messiah is gone, and all their dreams and expectations have gone, how could a dead prophet establish a new kingdom and redeem Israel?
And so, at this moment, it’s time to go home and get back to living as normal. They told Jesus that the Messiah for whom they hoped was condemned to death and crucified. They obviously thought that the Messiah story ended at the tomb, despite the women reporting about the resurrection.
It’s clear they had witnessed the death of Jesus, but not His resurrection. We know that the crucifixion of Christ took place on Friday since Luke here tells us that this event took place on Sunday. John 21:19 tells us that Jesus appeared to the disciples on this same day. By the time these two disciples had left the other disciples, Jesus hadn’t appeared to any of them yet.
Peter and John had gone to the tomb to confirm the report of the women, Luke 24:12 / John 20:3-6 but they themselves hadn’t seen the risen Lord yet.
I don’t believe Jesus was rebuking them by calling them ‘foolish’, I believe He recognised that these two disciples had fallen victim to the attitude of the Jewish nation as a whole. The Jews were looking for an earthly Messiah, 1 Peter 1:10-12, who would establish an earthly kingdom, Acts 1:6.
Imagine being a Jewish child, going to the temple and the synagogue, listening to the Word of God being proclaimed and explained, week in and week out, all of your life. Imagine wondering Who the Old Testament prophets were speaking of and listening to the descriptions of the coming Messiah.
Imagine hearing Isaiah 53 which speaks about the suffering Servant of God, imagine hearing how He was to be despised and rejected by many, even His own people. Imagine hearing about how He is a man of sorrows and accustomed with grief.
Imagine listening to the very details about how He was to be crucified, Psalm 22. Imagine hearing this all your life, from a young Jewish child to adulthood, even to the point of reciting many of the texts so that you knew them off by heart.
And yet they didn’t get it, they didn’t Jesus as the Messiah, they didn’t believe in His resurrection, everything they practised and heard was pointing to Jesus, but they missed it.
This is surely a lesson for us today, to get very familiar with the Scriptures. Jesus tells them that the Messiah had to suffer and was glorified in His crucifixion, John 13:31 / Isaiah 53:5 /Hebrews 5:8-9. Notice that Jesus began to explain the Scriptures to them, which Scripture do you think He began with?
Remember there are over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament that refer to Jesus and the events surrounding His coming and establishment of His kingdom reign, all of which were fulfilled in Christ, Ephesians 1:18-21.
Spence in his commentary suggests the following Scriptures may have been explained to the two disciples by Jesus.
The promise to Eve. Genesis 3:15
The promise to Abraham. Genesis 22:18
The Paschal lamb. Exodus 12
The scapegoat. Leviticus 16:1-34
The greater Prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15
The star and sceptre. Numbers 24:17
Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
‘Unto us, a child is born’. Isaiah 9:6
The Good Shepherd. Isaiah 40:10-11
The meek Sufferer. Isaiah 50:6
He who bore our griefs. Isaiah 53:4-5
The Heir of David. Ezekiel 34:23
The Ruler born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2
The Branch. Zechariah 6:12
The lowly King. Zechariah 9:9
The pierced Victim. Zechariah 12:10
The smitten Shepherd. Zechariah 13:7
The Messenger of the Covenant. Malachi 3:1
The Sun of Righteousness. Malachi 4:2
Please remember the above texts are just suggestions and can’t be proven and there is a good chance that on that long seven-mile walk home Jesus used many other Old Testament Scriptures to prove His Messiahship.
It seems that Jesus was eager to go further with the two disciples, but He wasn’t invited as their guest, hence why they urged Him strongly to stay with them as their guest. We can only imagine the excitement in their minds as Jesus taught them from the Scriptures, for once they were getting a true interpretation of the Scriptures and not some rabbi’s opinion. Now they’re thinking, ‘this all makes sense now’.
Notice that they didn’t recognise Jesus until after he took bread, gave thanks and broke it. Why? I guess it’s possible that they remembered how Jesus broke bread when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. There was definitely something in the manner in which Jesus took that bread, gave thanks and gave it to them that sparked something in their minds, Luke 24:35.
Their eyes were opened when Jesus decided to open their eyes, we don’t know how He opened their eyes but when they did have their eyes opened, they knew exactly who Jesus was, He was the risen Lord, the Messiah.
Notice also that Jesus disappears from their sight. We must remember that Jesus now has a new resurrected body in which He could do things which He couldn’t do before, John 20:19-20 / John 20:26, this is His real body, but it’s not limited like our physical bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:52 / 1 John 3:2.
There’s nothing like studying the Scriptures and learning new things. Jesus interpreted the prophecies so that they could finally understand the true nature of the kingdom of God, it was spiritual, Luke 17:20-21. The Messiah was to be King but not One who would rule physically here on Earth.
After walking seven miles to get to Emmaus they decided that everything they had witnessed and learned from Jesus was simply too important to keep to themselves, and so, they get up and walk back the seven miles to Jerusalem. We don’t know how many people were assembled together as the text says, ‘they found the Eleven and those with them’.
They are now truly convicted about Christ being the Messiah and more importantly convicted that He indeed did rise from the dead. Luke tells us that Jesus appeared to Peter as does Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:5 but there’s no Scripture reference to say that He actually did. That’s not a problem though because we know that Jesus did many other things which weren’t recorded in the Scriptures, John 21:25.
We don’t know the answer, possibly to let him know that everything went to God’s plan, or to reassure him after his denials of Christ. We simply don’t know, but we do know that Peter was never the same person again, Acts 2:16-38.
Cleopas and the other unnamed disciple explained everything which had happened to all those present, which I’m sure would have brought a lot of comfort to everyone. Their testimonies about the risen Lord would only strengthen the testimonies of the women and all those present.
The resurrection of Christ is fundamental to the Christian faith, everything, our hopes and dreams are realised in and through the resurrection of Christ, because without it, we have no hope, 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.
We can only imagine the excitement in those two disciples as they learned from the Master teacher, realising that He is the risen Messiah. When was the last time you learnt something new and exciting from the Scriptures? Are we just as eager to learn from God’s Word?
It’s no surprise that the very first disciples sat at the apostle’s feet to learn and grow in their faith, Acts 2:42, imagine all the questions they must have had. It’s not surprising that the Scriptures command us over and over again to brow grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
I know a man, maybe you know him too, You never can tell, he might even be you,
He knelt at the altar and that was the end, He’s saved and that’s all that matters to him,
His spiritual tummy, it can’t take too much, One day a week, he gets his spiritual lunch,
On Sunday he puts on his spiritual best, And gives his language a spiritual rest,
He’s just a fat little baby, He wants his bottle and he doesn’t mean maybe,
He’s sampled solid food once or twice, But he says doctrine leaves him cold as ice,
He’s been baptised, sanctified, redeemed by the blood,
But he says his daily devotions are down in the mud,
He knows the books of the Bible and John 3:16, He’s got the biggest King James you’ve ever seen,
I’ve always wondered if he’ll grow up someday, He’s mama’s boy, and he likes it that way,
If you happen to see him, tell him I said, He’ll never grow, if he never gets fed,
He’s just a fat little boy; He’s just a fat little boy.
‘Fat Baby’ by Amy Grant.