“What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” (Luke 24:17)
In the Gospel of Luke we read about the encounter of the Emmaus disciples with the resurrected Jesus. Jesus met them towards evening on their way home. Their eyes were restrained so that they did not recognize Him. Their hearts were sad as they thought about the events of the last few days. Their Savior had been condemned to death, crucified, and laid in a tomb. They were also sad that His body had not been found in the tomb. Their hopes that He would save Israel were dashed. We notice their focus was on their loss, not on the possibility of serving a living Lord.
They traveled a certain distance down the road while the resurrected Christ spoke with them and explained to them the Scriptures about Him. They then came to a crossroads where the path turned towards home for the two disciples. Should they continue along the road alone? Should this wonderful fellowship end here? No! Their heartfelt plea is, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent” (Luke 24:29). We then read, “And He went in to stay with them.”
Let us take a moment to ponder this crossroad. Each one of us, without any exceptions, is getting older. Some reading these lines have already reached an advanced age. The evening shadows of life are quite clear. The body no longer functions the way it used to. It has become as rickety as an old wagon. There is the danger it will completely collapse. New afflictions appear every day. The body may soon give in. How important it is on this final stretch that we have “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). We will soon start making our way home. Blessed are we when we know that we do not have to walk this final stretch on our own. Even though our spouse may have to leave us, we have the blessed assurance that Jesus will not leave us. Even death cannot take Him from us, for as the Resurrected One, He is no longer subordinate to death. Before He left this earth, Jesus could say of Himself, “I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:18) and “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). If we have already encountered Him along life’s pathway and we have delighted in His fellowship, He will also accompany us during this last stretch of life and remain with us.
The Emmaus disciples would not have needed to be sad, had they turned their eyes on their resurrected Lord and Savior. Instead, they focused on the dead body of the Lord Jesus and mourned their loss. Let us not make the same mistake. It was only when they opened themselves to the teachings of Jesus that their hearts became happy, confident, and burning; burning in the sense that they cherished the fellowship of the Lord and His explanation of Scripture so much that they asked Him to remain with them. We do not know how long Jesus stayed with them. However, we can assume that because of their burning hearts they will have quickly turned back as soon as Jesus left them. They returned to the disciples in Jerusalem to tell them what they had experienced. The gospel of a living Lord changes hearts and gives incentive to joyfully tell others about Him.