Hidden and Revealed – Luke 24:13-35

The Two on the Road to Emmaus and Zecharias
Moe Bergeron

Luke 24:13-35 (ESV)
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 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?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (see also Mark 16:12-13)

 

Introduction

Moe Bergeron

Were you ever discouraged because you understood something in God’s Word that no one else seemed to grasp? Did you think to yourself that everyone needed to get onboard? Then, before you knew it, pride began to choke your heart because you were a little smarter than everyone else? Do you remember when it was you who was the slow one to grasp the meaning of some passage? See, if we have followed Jesus for any length of time we have had one experience or the other or maybe even both several times. Oh, how easily we slide down the slippery slope of pride when we forget Who it is that teaches us spiritual truth in the first place.

 

1. Dullness in hearing and slow of heart

The predicament of two disciples of Jesus following his death.

As we can see from the narrative before us Cleopas and his friend were stopped in their tracks when Jesus, the masked man (v16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him), asked them a simple question.

17a And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”

Our Lord used this perfectly planted question as a device to open the conversation. At this point we are told;

17b And they stood still, looking sad.

One simple question stopped them in their tracks. They stood still and were saddened. Then Cleopas spoke up. He responded to Jesus with a question of his own. I think it was because Jesus’ question left him rather confused or perplexed.

18b “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

In other words, where were you when these things happened? These recent events didn’t happen in a corner. How could any visitor to Jerusalem not know what had occurred? Was this man blind? Was he deaf?

This had to be a real shocker for Cleopas and his friend. Yet, Jesus’ response had to be the frosting on the cake.

19a And he said to them, “What things?”

I’m sure at this point they are dumbfounded by his question. Yet, they took the time to spell it all out for him.

19b And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.

They were sad because they had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.

 

2. Not every saint shares our own spiritual ignorance!

And then what does Jesus do to encourage these two sad sacks?

25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Many who read this account have a tendency to attribute the disappointed and sad state of affairs of Cleopas and his friend to every other regenerate believer during that period. I believe that would be a serious mistake. Even so, we can see from the Gospel accounts that there were a good many disciples who more than likely, shared the same deep disappointment and sadness.

I personally do not believe everyone who looked to Jesus were as ignorant as were these two men on the road to Emmaus. I beg your patience as I attempt to prove my point.

Turn with me to Luke 1:67-79 (ESV);

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Unlike Cleopas and his companion Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, through a Spirit given revelation, clearly understood that this One who was to come would be the Redeemer and Saviour of his people.

Zechariah was a Levitical priest and no one knew better than this priest who served in the temple that forgiveness of sin required a perfect sacrifice and to redeem God’s people it would require of God a hefty ransom.

The evidence displayed.

Look at this passage in Luke 1 again and note:

  • Just as Zechariah foretold, God had indeed visited and redeemed his people.
  • Just as Zechariah foretold, God did raise up a horn of salvation for his people in the line of David.
  • Just as Zechariah confirmed, the prophets of old had previously given God’s people a sure word. The things spoken of have come to pass.
  • Just as Zechariah foretold, God has saved His people from their enemies; the world, sin, death and Satan.
  • Just as Zechariah confirmed, God’s mercy and the covenant with its promise that were given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were fulfilled with the coming of Messiah Jesus, the Conquering King, who granted to His people deliverance from their enemies so that they can now serve him without fear, adorned with his holiness and righteousness, before him all of our days.
  • And just as Zechariah foretold, the knowledge of  God’s salvation and forgiveness of their sins, has come to his people.
  • And just as Zechariah foretold, because of the sure mercy of God, Jesus Christ, our Conquering King, God’s sunrise, has visited his people from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide their feet in the way of peace.

 

3. But I’d like to present more evidence.

There were at least two other men of God whose actions immediately after our Lord’s death tells us something of their prior and present faith and expectations in Jesus.

John 19:38-42
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus demonstrated their faith in the Messiah. If they did not believe Jesus was the promised Messiah why would they have taken such a great risk? They were there for our Lord when most of the other disciples who followed Jesus openly scattered into the shadows. If they had shared Cleopas’ and his friend’s disappointment they would never come out openly.

 

4. The Lord has risen indeed!

So the question begs, Why didn’t Cleopas and the others understand these things just as did Zechariah? The answer is in our passage from Luke 24:

25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

In other words Jesus chided them for being foolish and slow of heart because they failed to believe all that the prophets had spoken concerning the suffering Messiah Jesus would endure before he would enter into his glory. Zechariah believed when these two brothers were probably still in their diapers.

But Jesus was also compassionate towards these two brothers. The narrative continues…..

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 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?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Yes, how easily we slide down the slippery slope of pride when we forget Who it is that teaches us spiritual truth in the first place.

2 Corinthians 3:15-18 ESV
For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Isaiah 42:5-9 ESV

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:

“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,

to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.

I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.

Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”

Dear Father in Heaven, We thank you for being extra kind to the foolish and slow to believe. There are no exceptions. Without the aide of your Holy Spirit we would never know Jesus as our Savior. We would never see Him as he is revealed in your Word. We would never know your fellowship unless you stopped us in our unbelief. We would have never eaten bread with you. We would never have known the burning of our hearts within as you opened your Word to us. We love you Father! We love you Lord Jesus! We love you Holy Spirit!

Thank you Father for giving your Son over to the Cross for the likes of us. Who are we that you would have mercy upon us? Thank you Father for raising up Jesus so he could stop us in our tracks. What a Savior!

Amen.