They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn with in us while he talked to us on the road, while he open to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32 ESV
Some believe they were husband and wife and that may very well have been true. What we do know is that it was Sunday afternoon when they began their seven-mile walk back to their small town of Emmaus and they were perplexed. In the midst of a lively discussion they were joined by a stranger. Pleasant and unassuming, he simply asked what they were talking about.
I have often wondered what people talk about on the way home from church. My hope, as a pastor, is that they discuss the sermon, but perhaps I’m being overly optimistic. No doubt, if it’s a young family with children, they turn toward the back seat and ask what was taught in Sunday School. At least that’s what I remember doing with our little ones. In my hopeful exuberance, I envision the children responding by asking their own question. Dad, Mom, what did you learn today from the sermon? What we discuss in the presence of our families has an incredible impact. I’ll conclude with this thought, but for now, back to our narrative.
The pair on their way to Emmaus were amazed that the stranger knew nothing about the unfolding drama in Jerusalem. Apparently, the city had been abuzz with the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. The leaders had turned on the self-proclaimed Messiah and the people were deeply disappointed. The expectation had risen in the city that He would be the hope of Israel, only to have they joy turned into crushing sorrow. The fresh wind of deliverance from Rome had again been turned into the stale breeze of bondage and death. How could this stranger not have known of these events? Had He just been passing through?
The story tells us that the passion of Christ was not played out in a corner. The entire city had watched as the Jewish authority mastermind the demise of the Son of God. The palm branches that waved at His entry now burned in a collective pile of dismay and disillusionment. But in the small group of faithful followers rose reports of life after death. Beyond their wildest expectations, some had actually seen Him alive.
Having listened to the couple’s report, the stranger rebuked them. Why they are so slow to believe the Scripture, He asked? Notice that He does not reveal Himself at this point. Jesus could have easily opened their eyes, but He didn’t. He directs their attention back to the Word of God and its testimony concerning the Messiah. He then spends significant time declaring the truth found on the printed page. Jesus appeals to their faith, not sight, in the matter of His resurrection.
Faith requires no proof to be born, no lists of undeniable evidence of the resurrection of Christ. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The declaration of the Scriptures is all we need. Are you discussing this truth when your family, with your loved ones? It would be a great topic for your Easter dinner this year.