Have you ever been the last to hear some big news? Maybe you took a vacation, and upon returning to work you learned that major changes had taken place while you were gone.
When Jesus starting walking with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, they thought he didn’t know what was going on. They asked Jesus, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (Luke 24:18).
Playing along with their train of thought, Jesus asked, “What things?” (v. 19). Actually they were the ones who didn’t know what was happening! History-altering events had taken place in Jerusalem, but the two disciples only knew part of the story. Their body language reveals much about their state of mind (and ours).
At first, “They stood still, their faces downcast” (v. 17). We can relate to that. Bad news can make us feel paralyzed. Who doesn’t have a downcast face when we hear about another mass shooting, a hurricane, or some other disaster? Who doesn’t feel downcast when the news tells about nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea and political logjams in Washington, D.C.? Who doesn’t grow weary of the quarrels between opposing philosophies endlessly debated in social media?
The disciples on the road to Emmaus felt bewildered. “We had hoped,” they murmured to Jesus. What a revealing phrase! They had begun to trust in Jesus, recognizing him as “a prophet, powerful in word and deed” (v. 19). They dared to believe he was the promised Messiah. “We had hoped,” they sadly said. “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (v. 21). But now hope seemed like a thing of the past. Their hopes were dashed when Jesus was crucified. No wonder their faces were downcast.
Unwittingly these two disciples were about to be on the receiving end of one of the greatest Bible lessons ever taught! They must have been spellbound as the Master Teacher himself presented an overview of the Old Testament and “explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (v. 27). Then Jesus ate supper with them, and as he “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them,” finally “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (vv. 30, 31).
In the midst of their confusion, even when they were not fully aware of his presence, the risen Christ was right there with them. Amid all the bad news, perhaps you and I need to take a fresh look at the Scriptures and pray with the psalmist, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18).
When their intense Bible study concluded and Jesus left, the two disciples realized they had been in the presence of the risen Lord. 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?” (Luke 24:32).
You and I have our own roads to walk, and sometimes the pathway leads through valleys of doubt and uncertainty. What a difference it makes on the journey to realize, “It is true! The Lord has risen” (v. 34).
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, ©2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.