31 The Walk to Emmaus
by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013
And he said unto them, What manner of
communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and
are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said
unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the
things which are come to pass there in these days? Luke 24:17, 18
Jesus confirmed the everlasting covenant. The redemption of
humankind was an accomplished fact. Jesus had finished the work He came
to do. The sacrifice on the cross established for eternity the
government of the universe upon love, persuasion, and freedom. Eden
would be restored. The image of God would be placed again in people’s
heart, and sin and sinners would be no more. All would see that God is
and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).
In the meantime, Jesus must build and encourage His church. Yet, His
disciples were crestfallen and in hiding.The Walk to Emmaus
It had been two days since the crucifixion, and two friends stood
talking together. “Shall we go, Cleopas? It is not safe for us to be in
Jerusalem. Come with me to my village.”
“Yes, Jonas, you are
right. Who knows what that serpent, Caiaphas, will do next!”
these words, the two men, silent and sad, walked rapidly away from the
city, taking the northwest road. The crucifixion had shattered their
lives. It seemed now that nothing mattered. They had seen their beloved
Master crucified just two days before, and, with Him, all their hopes
and aspirations had died. Many people crowded the road, as it was the
Passover. But the two men kept their heads down, avoided eye-contact in
the crowd, and spoke quietly to one another when by themselves.
“Cleopas, it was time for the Messiah. He came just at the time
prophesied by Daniel the prophet.”
“That’s right, Jonas, and He
came from Bethlehem just as Micah had prophesied.”
loved Him, except those wicked men who call themselves our leaders.”
“Jonas, I have no love for the Romans, but Pilate tried to save Him.
If only he had more backbone! And even that centurion, he confessed that
Jesus was the Son of God.”
“Right, and He was a friend of
publicans and sinners. That gave me hope too.”
“It is all over
now. May God bring justice to those who did this evil deed.”
they continued walking, a Fellow Traveler caught up beside them. He
seemed pleasant and earnest. “What are you talking about, and why are
you so sad?”
Jonas turned his shoulder, looked at Cleopas, and
kept walking. The Stranger failed to take the hint and continued walking
beside them. Finally, Jonas turned to Him and, with a little irritation,
said, “Were you not here for the Passover? Have you not heard about the
The Stranger rejoined with, “What are you talking
They said, “About Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet who
said and did many powerful things before God and all the people. Our
leaders and the leading priests handed Him over to be sentenced to
death, and they crucified Him. We were hoping that He would free Israel.
Besides that, today is now the third day since these things happened”
(Luke 24:19-21). Even worse, the grave is empty. Next thing you know,
they will send soldiers for us, His disciples.”
looked thoughtful, then said with some
authority, “How slow you are to
believe what the prophets predicted. They prophesied that the Messiah
would need to suffer these things before He is taken into glory” (Luke
24:25-27). Then Jesus showed them from the books of Moses and the
prophets what had been predicted about Him.What the Stranger
Do not you remember that, after Adam and Eve sinned, God did
not abandon them? He was still their God. He put within every human
being a desire to do right, an enmity against sin, a conscience. Humans
are not to be helpless before the evil one. God paid the price for this
Himself. Through His suffering, He will destroy sin and evil and
reconcile His people to Him. In His own words, He said, “And I will put
enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it
shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).
Then “by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than
Cain” (Heb. 11:4). How was the sacrifice of Abel “more excellent”? From
Genesis 3:15 we know that the promised Redeemer would have to suffer.
The sacrifice shows that He would give His life, for “without shedding
of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).
Later, God called Abraham
to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. On the surface, this demand made
impossible God’s promise in the covenant of making Abraham a great
nation through Isaac--unless God performed a miracle and raised Isaac
from the dead. Abraham wrestled with God and his own thoughts for hours
over this matter. However, he had learned to trust God, and, in the end,
he knew that blessing comes only by implicit obedience to God.
faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had
received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was
said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was
able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received
him in a figure. (Heb. 11:17-19)
To Isaac’s question about where
the sacrifice was, Abraham responded with this truth, “God will provide
himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). Not knowing that God
had a different plan in mind than he was thinking, Abraham proceeded
with the sacrifice. By faith, Isaac willingly cooperated. At the last
moment, the “angel of the Lord” stopped the proceeding. Abraham and
Isaac found a ram caught in a thicket and offered a sacrifice. In the
first part of this dramatized parable, Isaac represented Jesus, the Lamb
of God. In the second part, God showed in a beautiful way that He would
provide the sacrifice. Isaac was “a figure” of Jesus-the only begotten
Son who became the sacrifice for every child of God.
Passover, each family was to slay a lamb and sprinkle its blood on the
doorposts and the lintel. It was the blood of the lamb that saved the
firstborn from death. Why did a lamb have to die? A lamb cannot save a
person from the consequences of sin. Yet, its death must still mean
something. It pointed forward to a Redeemer who would suffer and die for
the sins of humankind.
Isaiah 53 showed what the death of the
lamb accomplished. The Redeemer would not just die, but He would
experience physical suffering, opposition, and rejection.
oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is
brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers
is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”| He shall see the travail of his
soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous
servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (Isa. 53:7,
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things
which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). Through His suffering, He learned what it
is to obey to the greatest degree. Through His suffering, He paid the
price for the sins of humankind. His sacrifice qualifies Him to
intercede with the Father for all people (Heb. 4:15, 16).
prophesied the exact time He would come (Dan. 9:24-27). He came and died
as prophesied to the day! The sacrifice and oblation had now met their
fulfillment. Making this sacrifice was the will of God and the purpose
of His life.
God told Joseph, husband of Mary, to “call his name
JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). He
was not just to teach nor just to forgive, He was to save His people
from their sins.Returning to the Story
By now, the three
had walked the five miles and arrived at Jonas’ house. “Come in and have
some refreshment,” Jonas invited. “I have learned much from your words,
and I would like to hear more.”
“Thanks, but I need to be moving
“Sir, please, if you do not need to come in for your own
sake, please do so for ours. Please come in!” By this time, Cleopas and
Jonas had each taken one arm of their new friend and nudged Him to the
door. He willingly went with them.
Jonas hurried to get cold
water and some bread. As he placed these on the table, the Stranger
“took bread, blessed it, and brake, and gave to them” (Luke 24:30).
“Jonas, it is He!”
“My Lord and my God!”
jumped up and ran to bow at His feet. But He had vanished. With great
excitement, they forgot the cold water and uneaten bread. They even
forgot the soldiers swarming Jerusalem as they ran out the door and
hurried back down the road to Jerusalem. Panting as he spoke, Cleopas
said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the
way, and while he opened to us the scriptures” (Luke 24:32)?
their eyes were bright with hope. There was no more sadness as they
talked rapidly to each other as they stumbled excitedly on their way.
They repeated the words over and over again, “He’s alive!” Travelers on
the road looked on and wondered. Their Unseen Companion smiled as the
two men quickly found their way to the disciples and gave them the news.
Over the course of several days and weeks, Jesus made His presence
known to the disciples, proving to all that He had indeed conquered
death. Then they watched Him return in the clouds to His Father, with
the hope of His soon return.A New Message
resurrection made effective all that had gone before: Jesus’ sinless
life, His sacrificial death on the cross, and the promise of His coming
again. For the first time, the disciples began to see the purpose of
Jesus’ coming. Their new understanding energized them with a new
message. In emphasizing the commandments, Jesus had emphasized the agape
love that was to motivate all that they did and taught. “Jesus Christ
and Him crucified” was the message to go to the world. People’s lives
and the direction of nations would now be changed. Jesus Christ was
alive and in heaven, ministering the blood of the covenant and preparing
to return again soon!
Was this message new? Moses gave a message
of love in Deuteronomy. David wrote of the love of God in the Psalms.
Love is a frequent subject in the Bible (Deut. 6:5; 7:8, 10; 10:19; Lev.
19:18; Isa. 43:4; 63:9; Jer. 31:3; Hosea 14:4; Matt. 19:19). However,
the Jews forgot these things in the stresses of time, war, and the cares
of this life. Rather than submitting to the sweet influences of a God of
love, they chose the “easy way” and tried to earn their way to
salvation. It became a heavy burden.
Christians put all these
things aside for the love of Him who died for us.
something for everybody and every nation, not for just one people or one
nation. All were welcome, and people from all backgrounds began to join
the new church. The grace of God began to conquer the world!
Emmanuel: God With Us
Christians must learn that prophecies are
not always clear ahead of time. Yet, the prophecies always contain
details that make it possible to recognize their fulfillment and
strengthen the believer’s faith when they are fulfilled. Jesus said,
“And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come
to pass, ye might believe” (John 14:29).
When Jesus gave Himself
to join the human race, He did not take the gift back. He is still a
human being and will continue to be for all eternity. In doing this, He
laid aside some of the attributes of divinity. He is even now physically
limited to one place at a time. He is in heaven, but He is coming back
again! The angels told the disciples, as they strained their eyes to
catch one more glimpse of the Master:
Ye men of Galilee, why
stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from
you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go
into heaven. (Acts 1:11).
Yet, His humanity is glorified as ours
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not
yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we
shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
The scars in His hands are an eternal reminder of the cost of
redemption. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his
hand, where his power was hidden. (Hab. 3:4, NIV)
And one shall
say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall
answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
“This same Jesus” is human, eternally human. “We
shall be like Him,” who is eternally a member of the human race. His
commitment to us is: “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a
people” (Heb. 8:10).
covenant is now eternal-God is one
with the human family. We have His promise: “And I heard a great voice
out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he
will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself
shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).
Even the Disciples did not Understand
The Jews did not recognize personal sin in
their lives. Most based their assurance of salvation on their lineage
from Abraham and their meticulous observance of the ceremonies and
sacrifices written in the book of Moses (Deut. 31:24-26). It was a new
experience for the Jews to be called to repentance as John the Baptist
was doing. Jesus’ forgiveness of sins when He healed the sick was
likewise new. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called for a change of
heart, not a mere repetition of forms and ceremonies. Even a strict
keeping of the moral law falls short if a person does not have a change
of heart. The kingdom of grace must be established before the kingdom of
glory can come.
Before the crucifixion, not even the disciples
understood that Jesus came, not only to live among humans but also to
die for them. After Peter’s confession, “thou art the Christ, the Son of
the living God,” in recognition of who Jesus was, Peter still
misunderstood Jesus’ mission:
From that time forth began Jesus to
show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer
many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed,
and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to
rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto
thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan:
thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be
of God, but those that be of men. (Matt. 16:21-23)
misunderstanding was also reflected in the competition among the
disciples for the highest place in the kingdom that they expected Jesus
to establish. They were expecting the restoration of the throne of David
and the past glories of Israel. “And there was also a strife among them,
which of them should be accounted the greatest” (Luke 22:24).
story of the walk to Emmaus illustrates the feelings of the disciples
immediately after the crucifixion. Jesus’ crucifixion had devastated the
disciples and had destroyed their expectations of a glorious earthly
kingdom. The disciples felt that they had lost everything and that Jesus
had failed as the Messiah. The two walking to Emmaus said:
we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and
beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done”
(Luke 24:21). On that famous walk, Jesus explained these things to the
For forty days, Jesus appeared to the
disciples before He ascended to heaven. It was only after another ten
days of intense and united prayer, followed by the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit at Pentecost, that the disciples finally began to understand
the purpose of Jesus’ life on earth. The culmination and purpose of the
entire sacrificial system was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Jesus’
power to heal and His grace to forgive were dependent upon His death and
resurrection. The crucifixion was not a failure; rather, it was Jesus
the Messiah’s supreme victory over Satan. In statements on Pentecost and
shortly thereafter, Peter demonstrated that he understood that the
suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ fulfilled prophecy.
those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his
prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. (Acts 3:18)
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after,
as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. (Acts
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast
anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the
people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand
and thy counsel determined before to be done. (Acts 4:27, 28)
Stephen, in his last sermon before the Sanhedrin, began to touch on the
fact that the ceremonial system and even the Temple itself were a type
and not the reality. The Sanhedrin cut his sermon short when he quoted
Isaiah 66:1, 2: “Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what
house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Hath not my hand made all these things” (Acts 7:49, 50)?
it take so long for the disciples to understand? Why did Jesus not tell
them these things before they happened? The truth is, Jesus did tell
them of His impending death at least four times before it happened. They
simply could not grasp what He was saying. Until they believed that He
came to die, they would not have understood if He tried to tell them why
it needed to occur. In speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus
said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them
now” (John 16:12).