Gospel: Luke 24:13-35
Epistle: 1 Peter 1:17-25
Lesson: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm: Psalm 116:1-14
CLB Commentary – Rev. Gary Witkop
The walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus contains much that is helpful for Christians of every age. Some places to focus on in this text include:
- The two men did not recognize Jesus – how often do we miss God in our lives?
- The two men were spiritually confused – how often are we confused about spiritual issues?
- The whole bible points to Jesus – we need to always point to Jesus in our preaching.
- God’s Word burned in their hearts – we need to remember that the Word of God is alive and active and working in the hearts of all when it is read, spoken, sung or preached.
- The men recognized Jesus in communion – Communion is special and it often reveals Jesus at a deeper level.
In this story the two men failed to recognize Jesus even though they had seen him just days earlier and they did not understand the message of his resurrection even though it had been revealed to them that Jesus had risen and was alive. They were busy living their own lives and could not see beyond what they already knew and expected from God and life.
We need to be careful that we don’t miss the things right around us too. How often does God show us things that we are too busy to notice? How often do we read or hear of spiritual things only to be unable to see through the clutter of our lives enough to really see and understand what God is trying to reveal to us? We are often one of the men on the road to Emmaus, we are walking in a cloud unable or unwilling to see God at work around us.
People in our lives need Jesus and we need to see their need as Jesus saw the need of these two men. We need to point people to Jesus with God’s Word and allow God’s Word to do its work in their hearts. Notice that Jesus opened their eyes spiritually with gentleness. Jesus didn’t call them foolish or near-sighted or in any other way disparage them. He simply took them from where they were and guided them in opening their spiritual eyes a little more. We can take a clue from Jesus here and meet people where they are at and patiently guide them closer to Jesus. If our eyes are slow to open, we need to deal in patience with others who are really, just like us.
As confessional Christians, as Lutherans, we take communion seriously. In it we see Jesus and His work on the Cross. It was during the breaking of bread that the men recognized Jesus. To me this is a reminder that a lot more happens in Communion, or can happen, than appears at face value. Let us not neglect communion. Let us do what we can to be faithful in breaking bread with our people and do it in ways that bring people back to the cross and the empty tomb.
After having their eyes opened the two men do something very important. They go and tell their friends what they experienced. As Christians we need to be vocal in sharing what God does in our lives with others too. Our fellow believers need the encouragement that comes from hearing that God is at work in normal people’s lives, and our non-Christian neighbors and friends need to know that God is real and that he works in people’s lives today. We are called to be His witnesses to the people around us as these two men were when they immediately turned around and shared what Jesus had just done with them.