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The Walk to Emmaus

Luk. 24:13-35
Sometime in the afternoon of the day on
which Jesus rose, two of His disciples, not
apostlesbut friends, took a long walk into
the country. We are not told why they went
to Emmaus. Perhaps they had given up
hope. Thus it is too often with Christs
friends in these days, when trouble comes
upon them. The bright dreams fade, they
grow disheartened and turn awayas if the
sacred beliefs they had cherished so long
were only delusions. We see here, however,
how needless was the discouragement. No
hope really had faded. What they thought
was cause for sorrow was the secret of the
most blessed hope the world ever has
known.
As these men walked along the way, they
talked together of the strange things which
had happened. This was natural. Their
hearts were full of these things, and they
could not but talk about them. If the
conversation of Christian people is
sometimes vapid and trivial, it must be
because their hearts are not filled with the
holy themes which ought to occupy them. Is
there much truly pious conversation? What
did you talk about yesterday, or last
evening, in the long walk you took with your
friend? This example suggests to us, at least
the value of good, earnest, wayside
conversation. Most of us walk more or less
with our friends. Why should two sincere
Christians talk together for an hour or
longer, and neither of them say one word
better than the idlest chitchat about the
merest nothings ?
Now a most interesting thing occurred. As
they went on talking together, Jesus
Himself drew near and walked with them.
That is always the way. Jesus said, Where
two or three are gathered together in My
namethere am I in the midst of them. We
are met in His namewhen love for Him
draws us together. Then He will always join
us. If only idle words are on our lips, if we
are gossiping about our neighbors, saying
mean and disagreeable things about them;
if we are talking of things which are not
beautiful and goodwe have no reason to
expect Christ to draw near and join us. He
would not be interested in our conversation,
nor would we care to have Him listening to
what we are saying. In order to have Christ
go with us in our walkour talk must be of
things which will be congenial to Him. This,
therefore, is the testWould Jesus want to
enter into this conversation with us? Would
He be pleased to hear the words we are
saying drop from our lips?
Sometimes we join a group of busy talkers,
and suddenly the conversation ceases. They
do no want to go on with it, in our presence.
Would we keep on with this talk of ours
without embarrassment or sense of
unfitness, if Jesus were to come in and sit
down visibly in our circle?
He walked with these friends unrecognized.
They did not know him. This is often the
way with usJesus draws near to us and we
fail to know that it is He. He comes to us in
our sorrow, and we do not see Him by our
side. We go on weeping and breaking our
hearts, while if we saw the glorious form
that is close to us, and knew of the love that
is throbbing against our breastswe would
put away our tears and rejoice. Many people
fail to recognize the divine love and comfort
in their griefand go on as if there were no
stars shining in the sky. How may of us are
conscious of the presence of Christ with us,
or get from it the full comfort, inspiration,
and help which we might get?
Sir Launfal, in Lowells poem, wandered
over all the earth in search of the Holy
Grail. When at last, after long years had
passed, he returned, aged and bent, to his
old homethere under his own castle walls
did he find the object of his search! Just so,
often we would find close beside us, in the
Scriptures we already possess, in the
circumstances in which we are place, in the
human tenderness that is about usthe
help we are seeking and the truth we need,
if only we had eyes to see.
The Stranger showed a deep interest in the
two men. The sorrow in their faces and
tones touched His heart. Jesus always has a
quick ear and sensitive heart for human
grief or need. He knows when we are sad;
when our burden is greater than we can
bear. Then He is quick to express sympathy.
He wants to give help.
This conversation shows that Jesus desires
His friends to confide in Him. It does good
for a burdened heart to tell out its trouble to
Him. So when these men spoke to Him of
the things that filled their hearts that day,
He asked, What things? He knew, of
course; but He wanted them to speak out
their fears and doubts and ask their
questions. So, when we are in sorrow,
Christ wants us to tell Him of all that
troubles or perplexes us. The telling will do
us good. Then, by bringing them to Him
we shall have the tangles unsnarled .
Jesus spoke to these disciples out of a
loving heart, telling them how slow they
were in believing in what the prophets had
spoken. He then told them that it befit the
Messiah, to suffer the very things which this
Jesus they were grieving over, had suffered.
He told them that if they had only
understood the Scriptures, their hearts
never would have been cast down by the
things which had befallen Him. Gods way is
always the true one. Our way would not
bring us to the glory we desireany more
than the disciples idea of the Messiah
would have brought salvation to the world.
When God sets aside our plans for our
liveswe may know that His plan, however
different from ours it may be, and however
it may seem to thwart our plansis the
right one.
These two men enjoyed a rare privilege that
day in having Jesus as an interpreter of the
Scriptures concerning Himself, He
expounded unto them in all the Scriptures,
the things concerning Himself. It would be
interesting if we could read the
interpretations he gave. What a wonderful
talk that was! We may be quite sure that He
quoted the passages which depicted the
sufferings of the Messiah, showing that the
cross was part of the divine plan of
redemption. Doubtless He quoted the fifty-
third chapter of Isaiah. Thus He went over
the Old Testament, interpreting it and
showing how he had fulfilled these ancient
predictions. No wonder their hearts burned
within themas He opened to them the
Scriptures.
At length they came to the place where their
journey ended. He was disposed to go on
fartherbut they urged Him to abide with
them. If they had not thus constrained Him,
He would have passed on. Think what they
would have missedif He had not gone in
with them. We do not know how much of
the revealing of divine love and grace we
miss continually, because of the tameness of
our praying. We ought to get a lesson from
the example of these disciples, who
constrained the Stranger to go in with them
and were rewarded by finding in Himthe
Friend for whom they were so hungering.
When they sat down together at the table
for their evening meal, the Stranger took
bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave
it to them. Perhaps it was these familiar acts
which revealed Him to them. Or they may
have seen the nail mark in the hand which
broke the bread. We are not told howbut
in some way they came to understand that
the Guest at their table was Jesus Himself,
whom they were mourning as deadbut
who was now risen and living! What if our
eyes would be opened to see Jesus every
time He is beside us, eating with us, walking
with us? How radiant would all life then
become!
Another suggestion from this Emmaus
story, is that often it is only as they leave
usthat we learn the value of our blessings.
Their eyes were opened, and they knew
Him; and He vanished out of their sight.
How often it is rue that only in their
vanishing, do our friends reveal themselves
to us.
Somehow our eyes are blinded, and we do
not see the loveliness. Faults seem larger
and blemishes greater, while our friends are
close to us. But as they leave usthe faults
appear faults no longer, just odd ways,
and blemishes are transfigured into shining
marks. Why wait for the hour of departing
to see the beauty and the good?