, Friday, 15 July 2022 Anno Domini,
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:28-32; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
To me, this is a very beautiful text that overflows with meaning. I have written and preached on it often to gain a deeper understanding of Holy Communion.
The events surrounding the crucifixion and death of our Lord was traumatic to those who had followed Him those last three years and who knew Him to be the Messiah. How could such an evil transpire? News of the sordid events spread through Jerusalem and the surrounding communities like wildfire. We are not told of the heartbreak and sorrow of many who had received mighty blessings from our Lord’s visitation – the Woman taken in adultery, the Woman at the Well, the Woman taken with an issue of blood, the blind man whose sight was given, the ten lepers, the little maid brought back to life, etc., etc. Though their response is not mentioned in Scripture on this occasion, we can imagine the pain of such a sad event to them. But the pain was even more intense to those who were with Him daily.
Two of those disciples were leaving Jerusalem on the third day after the crucifixion. As they walked, they shared their grief and unbelief that such a thing could happen to One so righteous, and who could have commanded the angels of Heaven to come to His defense, but did NOT! They were hurt, confused, and dismayed as they related the events to one another. Suddenly, there was One who came to walk alongside. It was the Lord Jesus Christ, but their eyes were blinded from recognizing Him. Often in our sorrow and pain, we wonder how our Lord could abandon us while He was actually walking right beside.
This stranger inquired of what things these two discussed on the Road to Emmaus. When they doubted that anyone could not have known of the dramatic events of the last three days, and how their Lord was cruelly crucified, Jesus reprimanded their unbelief in these terms: “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26) Do not wonder at the sorrow of the two men on the road for we, too, have moments when we question the mysteries of God.
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) When we enjoy a close fellowship with the Lord, our eyes will be opened to many amazing truths by His Word.
As these two disciples approached their dwelling place in Emmaus, they invited the Lord to abide with them. We must do the same, for He never pays a random visit. If He comes into our hearts, you can be sure that He is there to abide forever. Jesus, being graced with the outward etiquette of the East, made as if He would go further. The Lord desires our persistence in fellowship with Him. The disciples insisted that He abide for the night since the day was “far spent.” He acceded and sat down to dine with the two. He then did something that sheds much light on the purpose of our Holy Communion: “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:30-32) Their eyes were OPENED to know Him! Isn’t this a Leading point in our Communion? We are drawn closer to Him through the breaking of the Bread.
Though our Lord is always with the believer, the sacrament of Bread and Wine at Communion assures His real spiritual Presence in the symbols of Body and Blood. Our eyes are opened as we dine at His Table. He is the true host at Communion – not we or the officiant, but the Lord. It is His Table to which we are invited to come.
Though the two men believed themselves to be the hosts that evening in Emmaus, it turned out to be Christ who was the Host. He must ALWAYS be the Host in the life of a Christian.