Have you ever wished you could attend a Bible conference in which Jesus is the keynote speaker? Can you imagine sitting in the front row as He explains the Scriptures? This awesome privilege was experienced by two men, not in a modern convention center, but on a dusty road outside of Jerusalem. You can read about their exclusive Bible class in Luke 24.
The men were walking back home to Emmaus [I pronounce it ee-may’-us]. They had been in Jerusalem to see Jesus, the young rabbi whom they were sure was the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. They expected Him to overthrow all the wicked kingdoms of the world and replace them with His kingdom of righteousness and justice. But all their dreams died two days earlier, on Friday, when they saw Jesus bloodied, beaten and crucified. Now that their leader was dead, there was no longer any reason to stay in Jerusalem. They had never felt so discouraged and depressed. The seven-mile journey home seemed like a million miles, and their feet never felt so heavy.
As they slowly trudged along, a stranger joined them. (Later, we find out it was Jesus, but they didn’t know that at the time.) When He asked why they were so downcast, they told Him that they had traveled to Jerusalem to see Jesus, whom they thought was God’s prophesied Messiah. Instead of shouts of praise for Him, they heard the crowd cry for His crucifixion, and they had witnessed His death.
The stranger began to share with them how the scriptures had foretold all these events. I imagine the following are some of the things He shared with them.
- Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, they covered themselves with fig leaves. God provided them with animal skins for more permanent clothing, but this “covering of sin” came at the price of that innocent animal’s life. In like manner, Jesus gave His life to permanently cover their sin and ours.
- Noah’s ark showed that faith in the Messiah was God’s means to “ride out” His judgment against sin.
- Passover was a yearly reminder to the Jews that the blood of an innocent lamb would cause God’s judgment to “pass over” them. Jesus was the Passover Lamb who gave His blood to avert God’s judgment.
- The rock in the wilderness was split to provide water to refresh the people’s parched throats. Jesus’ body was “split” on the cross to refresh the soul of anyone who would follow Him.
- Just as the manna fell from heaven every morning to nourish the wilderness wanderers, Jesus was giving His body on the cross to nourish the souls of all who would believe in Him.
- The Temple had a curtain to exclude people from God’s presence. When Jesus died, this curtain was torn from top to bottom, indicating that through faith in Him people could have a direct relationship with God.
- The yearly Day of Atonement provided forgiveness for the previous year’s sins. Jesus’ blood provides forgiveness for eternity.
- I’m sure He also would have pointed out other passages that described His crucifixion and His resurrection.
When the men finally realized that it was Jesus talking with them, He vanished. Immediately, their dark emotions of hopelessness were replaced by such excitement that they ran all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. Renewed hope seemed to surge through them with each step.
How about you? Ever been in a slump like these men? Your dreams have come crashing down? You’ve been faithful to the Lord, but He hasn’t met your expectations? I’ve been there! In those times, reading my Bible reminds me that God is working behind the scenes and that His timetable is different than mine. Getting my eyes on the resurrected Lord Jesus always revitalizes my faith. I don’t mean to minimize your situation, but I’d recommend the Bible for you, too. Like these men, you can encounter Jesus, who will remind you that He loves you and that He has overcome death and can handle any problem you are facing on your “road to Emmaus.”