And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:26,27, ESV).
The account of the road to Emmaus is one of my favorite passages in Scripture involving the disciples of Jesus Christ. It is such a beautiful passage of the Lord revealing Himself to His disciples in the midst of their grief, confirming the news of His resurrection.
I can remember over the years pausing at this point in Luke: at the breaking of the bread, the disciples realized Jesus was before them.
He vanished, and they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).
The emotional aspect of this reality immediately caught my attention. However, the emotional part of their hearts burning is not without a crucial detail. Their hearts burned while He opened the scriptures to them.
What a conversation to have on this seven-mile journey! What a beautiful account recorded for us to read and to understand of these disciples being taught about the Old Testament scriptures illuminated by the One who is the Word.
Would you have loved to hear Jesus’ interpretation of all the passages in the Old Testament concerning Himself?
But that is not the only time in this chapter we read of the scriptures being opened to the disciples by Jesus Christ. After this account with the two disciples, we read of Jesus appearing to all the disciples and testifying of His resurrection.
He goes on to say to them in verse 44, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He tells them in verse 46, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
They are to be His witnesses proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Their understanding of the scriptures was vital in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were not to proclaim their opinions or their feelings.
They were to proclaim Christ and Him crucified and resurrected for the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life through faith in Him alone.
The Power of the Word
The importance of abiding in the Word of God and understanding what it says concerning the ways of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be overstated.
This is part of our fellowship with God and reading Luke 24 helps us to see the importance of reading God’s Word with understanding.
We see the gospel cannot go forth without the Word of God.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news?” (Romans 10:14-15).
The Word of God is the foundation we stand upon when ministering the truth of the gospel to others. Like the disciples, our understanding has been illuminated by God.
The Holy Spirit teaches us. He inspired Scripture, carrying men along as they spoke from God (2 Peter 1:21). Yet we see in our modern time that daily Bible reading is diminished. A 2021 study showed that 11% of people read the Bible daily while 29% never read the Bible.
Not reading and being a student of the Word of God can lead to concerning issues, such as biblical illiteracy, the belief in false doctrine, lack of fellowship with God, and a desire to hear the voice of God outside of Scripture for personal revelation.
I do believe biblical illiteracy is an issue in the church, and I can testify to being in that group in the past. Something to consider is that when God spoke in the Bible, His words were authoritative.
They never cease in being authoritative. So, a claim ascribing God’s name to a personal experience beyond the confines of Scripture leaves this open to being authoritative.
In other words, it potentially places an individual’s personal experience and words on par with Scripture, something many may not have considered in such claims.
It is not to go unnoticed how Jesus made it clear to His disciples that the Scriptures testified of Him. It is also worth reiterating that when scriptures are referenced here in the New Testament gospel, they were in reference to the Old Testament.
This helps us to see the value and necessity of the entire canon of Scripture. It all testifies to Christ.
The Fellowship We Desire with Our Savior
As we read the Bible, we are also reminded of those who knew the scriptures, yet they did not know the One testified of in the scriptures. In John 5, we read of the Jews who questioned Jesus and who knew the Old Testament.
After He healed the man at the pool on the Sabbath and forgave him of His sins, they sought to kill Him, because He made Himself equal with God (John 5:18). Jesus rebuked them by saying the Father had sent Him and had borne witness about Him.
He told them, “You do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the scriptures because you think that in them, you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:38-40).
I have heard some say the phraseology “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Bible,” charging those who study the scriptures and stand upon this foundation as a believer in Christ have forsaken the Holy Spirit.
This could not be further from the truth. We came to saving faith from the proclamation of this very written Word testifying Christ.
The Holy Spirit is not forsaken by those who belong to God and desire to have His Word written on their hearts no longer hardened by sin and rebellion against God.
Those who opposed Jesus during His earthly ministry were spiritually blinded and could not see the truth standing before them. We have not seen Him and yet we believe.
We have heard the voice of the Shepherd as His sheep, and we have followed Him (John 10:27). We heard His voice through the proclamation of the gospel, and now we understand part of our fellowship with God is to meditate on His Word daily.
We desire to please God and not man, and we know God’s ways by reading His own inspired Word.
What Does This Mean?
Many of us would love to have an experience like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We may overlook that Jesus rebukes them for their unbelief and lack of understanding prior to opening the scriptures to them.
We may long for our hearts to burn within us for God. There is nothing wrong with emotions. It brings overwhelming joy to think upon our Lord and Savior and to know His love for us.
We understand the presence or absence of emotions does not determine His presence, His power, or our ability to draw near to Him.
We fellowship with God regardless of how we feel through prayer, reading the Word, worship, and fellowshipping with fellow believers. We can draw near to God because of Christ, and we thank God He has provided the instruction on how to do so through His holy Word.
May the Word of God encourage you today on your proverbial Emmaus Road journey in knowing the Lord more deeply, leaving you in awe and wonder of His glory and majesty.
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Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Joel Muniz
Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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