Luke 24:13-35 tells the story of the road to Emmaus:
“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas,asked Him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” He asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find His body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
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 what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if He were going farther. But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.
When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when He broke the bread.” (NIV).
It’s quite easy to put yourself in the shoes of Cleopas and his friend. The Scriptures tell us they were downcast. The two men referred to Jesus not as the Messiah, but as a prophet, and they referred to Him in the past tense as they described Him to Jesus. They’d lost all hope, they’d lost all faith, they couldn’t see what God was doing and they stopped believing He was who He said He was.
How many times have we become downcast and lost all hope? How many times have we missed seeing Jesus and forgotten his promises because we have no faith left? How many times have we been frustrated and depressed because we believe a lie the enemy tells us that maybe if God didn’t work things out exactly the way we had hoped and anticipated, He isn’t working at all and maybe, just maybe that means He isn’t who He says He is. I’m guilty of believing these lies and falling into the darkness, blinded to Him.
In the case of Cleopas and his friend, God kept them from seeing Jesus as who He was. I find this so confirming and interesting. Many times during His ministry, Jesus healed the blind. It was their faith that made them well and opened their eyes. Spiritually we need that same faith to open the eyes of our hearts so we can see Him today and see how He is working in our lives even when it’s not the way we expect.
Jesus referred to Himself as the Light of the World many times during His ministry. Without Him, we walk in darkness where we cannot see. It is our faith and hope in the Living God that invites Him into our lives to illuminate the path we are walking, to see Him at work in our lives.
Cleopas and his friend received spiritual sight in an intimate setting with Jesus, where He broke bread which is now a sacred, symbolic act of thanksgiving and remembrance to our Lord - Holy Communion. Despite their downcast spirits, their hopeless hearts, and being in the thick of a dark period of grieving as they mourned the death of Jesus, they invited Him in.
Dear friends, I encourage you today to invite Him in. Even if you are having a hard time believing, even if your faith and hope are gone and you are stumbling in the dark, invite Him in. Worship anyway. Take communion during your quiet time with Him while you read the Bible to remind yourself who He is, what He’s done and that He is victorious above all sin, darkness, disease, death, and the enemy. Remind your soul who He is and allow Him to illuminate all of the dark places in your circumstances, or into the dark circumstances of the world. With a looming election, a pandemic, and many other national and global events that seem to put more at stake than ever before in our broken world, remind your spirit that He is still working. It may not be the way you hope, or the way you expect. Your faith may be weak and your hope may be broken, but remind your soul. David pleaded with his soul many times in the Psalms, commanding it to believe, to worship, and to have faith. We can do that too, and we must. There is no other way to navigate our way through this journey we are on in life (one the road to Emmaus symbolized), but by the Light of the World.