Perfect Purpose, Perfect Redemption - 24 April 2020
By Louise Gevers
Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said!
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
“How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! … Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?'” Luke 24:25,31-32
Every journey has a destination and a purpose. Cleopas and (as I infer) his wife, Mary, were on a short journey back home to Emmaus from Jerusalem, after a harrowing time there witnessing the crucifixion. Dejected and self-absorbed, they discussed it while walking and didn’t even recognize the traveller that joined them, though he had been their focus three days earlier, and the subject of their distress. They just did not understand.
Jesus’ admonishing words, “How foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” arrested their minds and quickened their hearts as He then went on to explain all the Scriptures in the Old Testament that were about Him. In becoming part of their conversation, He’d heard how, like so many other people at the gruesome scene, Cleopas and his wife had thought of Jesus as, “a prophet, powerful in word and deed” whom they, “had hoped … was going to redeem Israel”. (Luke 24:19,21)
Highlighting their lack of grasp of His purposes, they’d lamented that, although angels had told the women that He was alive, they hadn’t been able to find Him. Like the other disciples, they hadn’t understood His explanations and teaching before His journey to the cross. His rebuke and instruction so captivated them that they didn’t want Him to press on once they’d reached Emmaus, and invited Him in. He accepted, which brought them their moment of truth: when He gave thanks, and broke bread with them, they recognised Him!
Cleopas and his wife were on a physical journey but they were also on a spiritual journey, just as you and I are. Sometimes it’s easier to suffer through a physical journey with a tough goal and accomplish it, than have a heart to understand a spiritual journey; but physical achievement is not spiritual redemption.
Without Jesus’ timely intervention they may have arrived at Emmaus and debated the significance of His crucifixion to their own graves, without ever knowing His redemption in their own lives, regardless of their efforts. Jesus cared enough to speak bluntly and show them that they were so turned away from God’s plan of redemption for them that they were on the wrong road home; but walking the Emmaus road brought Cleopas and Mary redemption – and an immediate return to Jerusalem with joyful, new faith to share their experience with the other disciples.
After celebrating Easter, where are we?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You came from heaven to earth to bring redemption to a lost world through believing in You. Please help us in our unbelief. Amen