What’s The Meaning Of The Road To Emmaus?
The journey to Emmaus is both a literal and a spiritual journey (Luke 24:13-35). It occurs on the first day of the week after Jesus’ death and burial.
Two disciples were walking from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus, about seven miles in the distance. As they walked, a stranger accompanied them, and he talked with them along the way until they reached Emmaus. There they invited the stranger to have a meal with them. As they ate, they recognized that the stranger was Jesus. But he disappeared, and the two men turned around and rushed back to Jerusalem to share the great news that Jesus was alive from the dead, and they had seen him themselves.
Their spiritual journey on foot from Jerusalem to Emmaus begins in grief, confusion, and despair. Still, it turns to understanding, joy, and renewed hope and purpose on the trip back to Jerusalem. We understand the two men walking towards Emmaus were disciples needing help coming to terms with all the events in Jerusalem concerning Jesus. They could not accept the reality of all that had happened to Jesus.
Jesus, after his resurrection from the dead, understood that these two men needed specific teaching. First, they needed to understand from Moses and all the Prophets how the scriptures showed who Jesus was as the fulfillment of the promised Messiah. Second, Jesus knew they needed the scripture opened to them so they understood the reality and purpose of himself.
We are told in Luke 24:25-27 “He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
Jesus wanted to help them grow in their spiritual maturity. God as the son of God, knows what each person needs. The men did not recognize Jesus as he walked with them. Often, we go through life unaware of God’s presence, purpose, and will when we are part of it. “
“Consider how he had Abraham take a walk, Elijah take a nap, Joshua take a lap, and Adam take the rap. He gave Moses a forty-year time out, he gave David a harp and a dance, and he gave Paul a pen and a scroll. He wrestled with Jacob, argued with Job, whispered to Elijah, warned Cain, and comforted Hagar. He gave Aaron an altar, Miriam a song, Gideon a fleece, Peter a name, and Elisha a mantle. Jesus was stern with the rich young ruler, tender with the woman caught in adultery, patient with the disciples, blistering with the scribes, gentle with the children, and gracious with the thief on the cross. God never grows two people the same way. God is a handcrafter, not a mass producer.” (Quoted from John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be)
Trust God, as He has a plan for all things. All the pieces fall into place with God even if we don’t recognize what He’s doing in our lives. Like the men on the road to Emmaus, we journey on in life and we meet Jesus. Yet, we do not recognize Him, because we are too self-focused and uncertain that Jesus is alive.