We are continuing our meditation on the two disciples walking to the village of Emmaus. The risen Lord Jesus came alongside them and walked with them, going over Old Testament Scriptures that spoke of God sending a Suffering Servant who would deliver them from sin. But as they approached the turn off to the village they were going to, Jesus went to carry on down the road:
28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But 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. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" 33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread (Luke 24:28-35).
Why would the Lord act as if He were going farther? Why did Jesus wait until He got an invitation? In Mark's Gospel, we are also told of a time when He went alone to a place to pray through the night. While praying in the dark, He saw that the disciples were having difficulty rowing the boat against the wind on the Sea of Galilee, so He went out to them at three o'clock in the morning:
48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” 51Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished (Mark 6:48-51).
Why would Jesus be about to pass by them? Perhaps, it speaks of the gift of free will that God has given us, i.e., that the Lord will not come into the boat or our homes and walk with us without invitation. If we want Him to be with us or, for us to be with Him, we will have to lower our defenses and invite Him to come to us. How wonderful that Christ took the time to eat a simple meal with the two Emmaus disciples. He would not force Himself on them; it was only due to their fearful cries and invitation on the Sea of Galilee that He turned and came to their boat. Our God delights to be wanted not for what He can do for us but for His person. He gently awaited their invitation to go to the house where they were staying.
Have you invited Him into the house of your heart? Does Christ have a residence in your life? He has given you the gift of free will and longs to walk this road with you, casting your sins behind His back, if you will openly confess where you are. Give Him full control of who you are and everything you own. He wants to come and dine in sweet fellowship with each of us reading this message. At their strong invitation, Jesus went to dine with the two disciples
As they ate with Him, their hearts burned within them as Jesus continued to open their minds to the Word of God. He was connecting with their hearts as He talked. Their later confession was, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” (v. 31). When we meditate on the Scriptures, something happens within our spirit: “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned (Psalm 39:3). Do not underestimate the power of simple reading, meditating, and musing on the Word of God. How about you, dear reader? Have you invited Christ into your home? Keith Thomas.
Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, study 65 Jesus on the Emmaus Road