Pastoral Perspectives

THE EMMAUS EXPERIENCE (Luke 24:1-35)

During one on my mission trip to Batam, a Christian friend donated 40 pairs of reading glasses. My friend had learnt that there were old folks whose eyesight have gone from bad to worse and he wanted to help these villagers. With their newfound vision, these folks can now read and see thing clearly and for the “machiks”, the task of putting thread through the eye of the needle has been made much easier. Likewise, when we are in such circumstances, not being able to see clearly for example, someone needs to come alongside and help us accordingly.

The Bible records an incident that involved two of Jesus’ disciples right after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Cleopas and a friend were going to Emmaus when they encountered another traveller on the road. The three travellers walked and talked together, but the disciples failed to recognise that this stranger was Jesus. Jesus asked them what they were talking about, and the disciples told him all about the crucifixion, the empty tomb, and how discouraged they were that things had not worked out as they had hoped. Jesus then rebuked them, and said “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). When they reached Emmaus, Jesus accepted their invitation to spend the night. As they ate the evening meal, he blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to them to eat. At that moment the disciples’ eyes were open and they recognized him. Jesus vanished from their sight, and they returned to Jerusalem to report this amazing event to the other apostles.

It is interesting to note that these two disciples could not understand what had happened in Jerusalem. It would appear that their lack of spiritual insight prevented them from interpreting the facts before their eyes. Perhaps they were unable to see things from God’s perspective or may have forgotten God’s words and did not apply scripture to their faith. Fortunately, the recently risen Jesus came along and pointed to them where they should be heading spiritually, and giving them insights to all that had happened in Jerusalem.

The road to Emmaus is an example for Christians as we are on a journey of faith in Christ. The story here is about two disciples trying to make sense of what they have heard and dealing with the uncertainty since the body of Jesus could not be found. They seem distressed and almost depressed over this incident. They could not see how this could help their faith or belief in Christ.

In addition, they had misunderstood Jesus’ mission. They failed to realise that Jesus was more than a prophet and was to be the “Passover Lamb” for the forgiveness of man’s sins. This was because they regarded him as a Messianic figure that was coming to physically get rid of their enemies, the Romans who were occupying their land. They were initially dejected as they could only see defeat in the face of Jesus crucifixion and death and were not prepared for its spiritual significance and meaning in the light of Jesus’ resurrection. They were not only “physically” blind but were also spiritually blinded.

It seems typical of Christians that we want to see things of God in the hope that these will strengthen our faith. Yet, on the other hand, we are also mindful that Scripture does commend that walking by faith is better than by sight. In this instance, Cleopas and his friend would have “witnessed” and heard many things and yet their faith seemed shaken. Some Singaporean would say- “they very blur hor”. Similarly, I do think that there are many times in our lives when things are happening in front of our eyes, and yet we don’t see its spiritual significance in the light of God’s word.

On this occasion, Jesus got directly involved by admonishing them to be “foolish ones and slow of heart”. A “fool” in the Old Testament is a person who does not allow the Scriptures to influence his or her thinking or behaviour. These disciples had failed to do that. Psalm 14:1: -The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” When the belief in God and the application of God’s word is missing in a person’s life, he would be considered a fool.

Whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation or at the crossroads of life, consider putting on “spiritual glasses”. Don’t let yourself remain in the dark. To find answers, you must come to God for His wisdom and counsel. The danger is when you assume or perceive an event or Scriptures wrongly and like the disciples you will experience doubts, fear and even losing sight of your spiritual life. Take heart that Jesus is involved in our journey of faith, as he had said that he will be with us always, neither has he forsaken us but is with us all the time. This is what he has promised that when he has ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit will come to us.

ESV John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”.


Rev Eddie Chandra

June 5, 2016