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The Walk to Emmaus: an Enlightening Journey to Take
2024-04-18 Source: this site

“...he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”(ref. Luke 24:30-31)

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The resurrection of Jesus stands as Christianity’s most distinct belief, showcasing His identity as the Son of God. While Easter annually commemorates this event, its profound implications beg exploration: What does the resurrection offer us, and how should we respond?

Compared with the anxiety over our sick loved ones, our connection with Jesus often feels superficial. Despite understanding Jesus intellectually, we may struggle to feel His presence emotionally, untouched by His crucifixion and resurrection. Since we never walk the Via Dolorosa alongside Jesus, our tears are out of nothing but empathy. To avoid spiritual stagnation, We must invite Jesus into our hearts, allowing His mercy to transform us. Only by seeing Jesus suffer alongside us can we truly share in His crucifixion, realizing how His resurrection has changed our lives.

Following His resurrection, Jesus frequently appeared to His disciples, offered them comfort and transformed their lives as witnesses to His triumph over dead. The Walk to Emmaus is one of these sacred encounters.

Jesus walked with the Bewildered Disciples

The disciples scattered when Jesus was arrested, and only a few remained the moment Jesus was on the cross. The news of Jesus’ resurrection was known to only a select few, including those who came to the tomb on the day of resurrection. The Scripture recounted that there were two disciples heading towards a village. Little do we know the reason why they departed from Jerusalem, but one thing for sure, they had already heard the news before leaving the place. However, their reaction was astonishment (cf. Luke24:22) rather than full belief. Jesus rising from dead turned out to be something beyond their imagination.

Viewing the Walk to Emmaus as a pivotal moment in their faith journey offers a fresh perspective. The name “Emmaus” means warm well, which is neither cold nor hot, reflective of the lukewarm faith of the two disciples, as they accepted the fact of Jesus’ death with resignation. But that’s not the end of the story -- Jesus never discards His people. He met them on their journey, but the disciples failed to recognize Him. Their inability to perceive Jesus may come from an incomplete understanding of faith and God, which caused confusion and spiritual blindness. Only true faith can lead us to recognize and know God.

The words of Jesus reignited disciples

Jesus continued to walk with the two disciples, notwithstanding unrecognized by them. Rather than abandoning them for their lack of recognition, the Lord guided their conversation, though apparently the omniscient Christ knew the topic. Through their dialogue, Jesus illuminated the full truth, showing God’s work transcends human understanding. Our finite cognition limits our understanding of this infinite God. We should praise God’s wondrous deeds.

The disciples’ response revealed their incomplete comprehension of Jesus, leading to great worry and despair. While they once believed Jesus to be the Messiah, their lack of understanding made them unable to grasp the Messiah’s true purpose. So their hope was wavering. This underscores the importance of unwavering faith in Jesus as the resurrected Savior, regardless of circumstances or trials. As Hebrews 2:6 reminds us, “And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”

Their inability to understand the resurrection made them worried, preventing them from experiencing the fullness of joy. Yet Jesus patiently explained to them the fulfillment of God’s plan through His suffering. His words reignited their hearts, as they began to realize that Jesus’ suffering was not a sign of weakness, but rather the fulfillment of God’s plan.

In that moment, their perception shifted, allowing them to fully grasp the significance of the crucifixion and accept the resurrected Jesus. The transformative power of the Word of God and the resurrection of Jesus instilled fervent hearts within them.

Jesus dinned with disciples until being recognized

Despite their burning hearts, the disciples initially failed to recognize Jesus. As they approached a village and dusk fell, the disciples strongly urged Him to stay with them, though they hadn’t yet realized His identity. Perhaps the two desired to hear more from this stranger, or maybe they simply wished to show hospitality, considering the dangers of walking in the dark. In the subsequent verses, we learn that the disciples unknowingly hosted the resurrected Jesus, the Lord of Life.

As the Lord sat at the table with them, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. “...he took bread, gave thanks, and began to give it to them.” The act of breaking bread was so familiar to them, like the feeding of the five thousand and the Last Supper, and it took on new significance in light of Jesus’ crucifixion. Hence, in that moment, their eyes were opened to His presence. Just as suddenly as He appeared, Jesus vanished from their sight. The two disciples then hastened back to Jerusalem to share their experience, in earnest to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus.

The journey and fellowship with Jesus profoundly transformed the disciples. Mere words are insufficient; establishing connection and fellowship with the resurrected Lord is essential. Jesus desires not only our intellectual knowledge but also our surrender to Him as the Lord of our lives.

Like the two disciples traversing the valley of faith, who were accompanied by the Lord Himself, Jesus forgave Peter after his failure. The presence of the Lord sustains through every trial, which empowers individuals to endure and grow stronger. So when returning to Jerusalem, the disciples were fundamentally changed by the transformative power of resurrection.

Though setbacks are inevitable, God can open our eyes to see the resurrected Lord in every circumstance, revealing the power of resurrection. Through faith, we walk alongside Jesus , sharing in His sufferings and His glory on this journey to the kingdom of God.

Author: Liu Heng

Translator: Bei Feng