Anglican morning Devotion for 4 December 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18And 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 24:13-18; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
It is not uncommon in life for the very road that presents the greatest doubt and discouragement to become the road of greatest inspiration and joy. The difference is the perspective of faith in which we view the road. It is the same road, but in one case viewed in dismay, and in the second viewed in the light of truth. I have viewed events in my past ministry that seemed to spell disaster, but to learn later that it was the very best blessing possible.
There are wonderful lessons to be gleaned from this account of the two travelers on the road to Emmaus, but we can only cover a few briefly in this devotion. There are also principles of preaching the Word that are inherent in the story.
Jesus had served the Bread of the Communion of His Body and Blood just three nights earlier. Now He had been cruelly crucified in order that our sins might be washed clean. Though He had repeatedly explained to the disciples that this fate was necessary for His purpose of salvation, it was too inconceivable for them to grasp.
It is Sunday afternoon as two men, one of which was Cleopas, were walking home to Emmaus. They were lamenting the events of the previous Passover Eve when their Lord had been laid in a borrowed Tomb. They spoke with forlorn hope and unbelief. We often cannot understand the great truths God has laid in our hearts through His Word, but later have our eyes opened by the strong preaching and studying of that Word.
As they walked, suddenly, a third Person walked with them and it was Jesus though they knew Him not. Amazingly, at our most hopeless moments, we question “Where is God in all this?,” but The Lord is right beside all along in our troubles. The Lord inquired of the manner of their conversation. Cleopas asked if Jesus was only a stranger in Jerusalem not to know the horrific events of that day. Of course, the One to whom they talked had been the very center and purpose of all that happened.
Jesus asked, “What things?” And they told him of their dashed hopes in One they presumed to be the Redeemer of Israel. Their words revealed their lack of faith and understanding of our Lord’s suffering. Jesus responded: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27) Just as the Law and the Prophets had been illustrated on the Mt of Transfiguration by the appearance of Moses (Law) and Elijah (Prophets), so Jesus teaches these two all things written about Himself in those two resources.
Finally, the three arrived at the disciples’ home at Emmaus. Jesus, always demonstrating the character of a gentleman, pretended that He would continue on; but the two insisted He abide with them that evening for it was drawing near night. Jesus acceded to their request, and when they sat down to bread, He took the bread, blessed it, and gave to them just as He had done the night of His Passion ere the Garden at Gethsemane. Immediately, their eyes were opened and they KNEW Him – not because of the nail prints in His hands, but by the removal of the spiritual scales from their eyes.
This is an example of the Communal Service in which we, too, are privileged to partake of the Body (Bread) of the Lord, and His Blood (wine) at His Table.
One great lesson to learn from this account is the importance of preaching and the Word. Had these two men understood and studied deeply the Words of Jesus in His ministry, their sorrow would have been turned to joy. But Jesus taught them the Words of Scripture from the Law and Prophets concerning Himself, and these Words had the power to open their eyes from darkness and despair.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)