Skip to content
Mar 31 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

March 27, 2016 – Luke 24:13-32

The Best Bible Study Ever!

And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. Luke 24:13-17

Intro: We find only a few post-resurrection stories in the Gospels

These are brief narratives that leave out many details
– yet the depth within these short stories is profound
– it seems that each one addresses a lingering concern or need:
• Thomas: the need to resolve doubt and disbelief (Jn. 20:25-29)
• Peter: the need to experience forgiveness and reconciliation (Jn. 21:15-19)
• the disciples: the need to know how the Scriptures comes together in Jesus (Lk. 24:27, 44)
◦ and whether it was even possible to go on without Jesus’ physical presence
• the women: the need for building hope and trust that death is not the end (Mt. 28:1-10)

Today’s story, stretching from Jerusalem to Emmaus is one of our favorites
– two disciples receive private tutoring from Jesus on this seven mile walk
– but even more important is the fact that this is our–Reflexion’s–defining story
• this is who we are and the path we’re on
• as we take this Easter walk with the Lord and two disciples, look for Reflexion’s reflection

They were traveling

Yesterday, Jim took a group of us through an art show at Trinity Epicopal Church in Orange
– the artist is a Russian woman, Ludmila Pawlowska, who came to faith in the Soviet era
• she found inspiration for her work in Russian Orthdox icons
• her paintings and collages invite viewers to look through them
◦ her works do what good sermons should do; awaken us to God’s presence
– at end of the tour, Jim invited us to sit down and Lectio our experience
• that is, to bring awareness to what the art stirred within us and reflect on those responses
• one person’s favorite piece was titled “On My Way Home”
◦ she said, “Looking at it, I could see the path, but were are lots of obstacles”
◦ this was the road the disciples were on and it is our road too

After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:21-22)

All the way through life we encounter both good and bad situations, smooth times and hard times
– God’s purpose is that the good times refesh us and the difficult times strengthen and purify us
– the metaphor we use for this ongoing progress in Christ is spiritual journey
• it is sometimes a solemn quest and other times it is a grueling hike up a steep trail
• in seasons of grace it is more like a reflective walk at the beach or in the hills
• every morning begins a new “starting place” (cf. Num. 33:2)
And this is Reflexion

They were traveling together

The walk to Emmaus was difficult, but not lonely
– we make this journey together
• when Jesus first spoke to them, they stood still, looking sad
• their bodies carried the full weight of their broken hearts
– but it was a shared grief – and discussing it forged a bond between them
And this is Reflexion

They “were talking with each other”

The were looking back and going over all these things which had taken place
– in verses 19-24 they spell out for Jesus the main points of their discussion:
• the uniqueness of Jesus, his extraordinary deeds and his teaching
• their hopes and disappointments
• wondering what they were supposed to think now and where were they supposed to go from here
– like them, our spiritual journey requires us to make peace with uncertainty

for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7)

Sharing is more than merely talking
– we share our travel expertise, our stories, but mostly our lives
• our journey conversations are healing, therapeutic, and necessary
– we go through strange, confusing, painful times
• but we go through them together
And this is Reflexion

While they were talking, Jesus joined them

Jesus caught up to them and inserted himself into their conversation
– this is one of the most remarkable features of our Lectio Divina
(that is, our prayerful listening to God’s Spirit speak through the Scriptures)
• it almost always starts off slow (I sometimes worry about this and suspect that Jim does too)
◦ it seems we must slog through our mental sludge
• but eventually something clicks and our conversation moves to a new level
◦ a level we would not have reached apart from Jesus’ joining us
– at this moment, their walk to Emmaus became a real-life illustration of what Jesus promised:

For where two or three have gathered in My name, I am there in their midst (Mt. 18:20)
. . . and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Mt. 28:20)

• Jesus is our constant traveling Companion
◦ he goes with us through everything — we have not spiritual journey apart from him
And this is Reflexion

They did not realize it was Jesus

Their “eyes were prevented from recognizing Him”
– that may imply an act of God
• but it could also be their own short-sightedness
• blinded by their grief or perhaps their dogmatic convictions about the Messiah
we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel
◦ they had concluded, “Well, he can’t be the Redeemer we hoped for. His crucifixion rules him out.”
– Jesus’ presence with us is not a human figure that our eyes see
• it is not a distinctive, familiar voice our ears hear
◦ we may not even recognize his influence in our conversations–at first
◦ however, ironically, we can sometimes tell when he’s left a conversation
• typically, it’s only afterward that we wake up

When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while Ge was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (vv. 31-32)

◦ their hearts felt him before minds recognized him
And this is Reflexion

Jesus entered their conversation with questions

This is not what we might expect
– by this time–after his death and resurrection–we would think he would come with answers
• with all the answers!

What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking? Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? (v. 38) Do you hear yourselves? What does all this mean to you? Can you discern the will of My Father? Can you see His grace in this present moment? The despair you hear, who’s voice is that?

– again, this is how our evenings of Lectio usually go
• in our first reading of the biblical passage, we tend to do a lot of moralizing
◦ for some of us, it includes self-condemnation and self-loathing
◦ Jesus’ questions are meant to take our thoughts in new directions
• eventually he brings to our minds the Scriptures
◦ and then we discover a new relevance in them
◦ we see how everything points to Jesus
And this is Reflexion

Jesus called them “foolish and slow of heart”

It is not flattering, but the Lord’s disciples were slow learners
– loving discipline is an important piece of disciple-making (e.g., Heb. 12:4-11)
– but for seeing our flaws, weaknesses and shortcomings, Jesus doesn’t love us any less
• in fact, it is his intimacy with us that makes his correction easy to take
And this is Reflexion

Conc: The road to Emmaus is the broad outline of our spiritual journey

By stages it brings us closer to God
– we are becoming more sensitive to his presence, more discerning
• sometimes so much so that our hearts catch fire during our conversations and not just afterward
• our eyes open to him in the moment of the encounter

There is not a lot Reflexion can offer consumers of religion
What we can offer (and do offer) is an invitation:
Take a walk with us,
and if it feels like coming home
and that this just might work for you,
then we invite you to join us in our journey together

One Comment

Leave a comment
  1. joanna tupman / Apr 2 2016

    Yep! It’s been a long, beautiful journey! Thank you, Chuck!

Leave a comment