The Walk to Emmaus

May 1, 2022

Series: May 2022

Speaker: Bethany Nelson


Today's Sermon


"The Walk to Emmaus"


Luke 24:13-35

Note: The sermon and scripture were woven together this week, along with several song choruses. 

Scripture: Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  

Reflection: Every time I hear this story, I am a bit flabbergasted that these people did not recognize Jesus.  He is standing right next to you … how do you not recognize him? But then, I remind myself that there have been lots of times that God has been present with me, and I, too, have failed to recognize.  So I can’t be too hard on these travelers.

When I was in high school, every time we did a service project or a mission trip with our youth group, our youth pastor would end our time of service with the question, when did you see the face of Christ in another today?  It was such an important reminder that Christ is with us always.  It is up to us to acknowledge and recognize his presence. We have all been blind to Christ’s presence in our lives at one time or another.  May our eyes be opened – even when Jesus may be in disguise.

Song: “Jesus in Disguise”

Scripture: He said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.” 

Song: “Were You There”

Scripture: “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 took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”  

Song: “Woman Weeping in the Garden” 

Reflection: Imagine the variety of emotions experienced by the women when the tomb was empty.  Surprise, curiosity, fear, wonder, shock … just to name a few.  And then to add to the empty tomb a vision of angels.  Wow, what a morning they had. 

The prominent emotion for the travelers on the road to Emmaus seems to be sadness and grief.  Their friend has died.  His body is gone.  They don’t know what to make of any of it.  Yes, the angels shared the good news that Jesus is alive, but that is SO hard for them to comprehend.  It takes quite a leap to go from mourning Jesus’ death to joyfully proclaiming that he is risen.  The travelers have not yet made that leap.  But that’s OK.  Thank goodness God understands the complexity of our human emotions.  Thank goodness God travels the road with us - from death to life, from grief to joy, from confusion to understanding.

Scripture: Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

Reflection: Jesus didn’t always have the most patience … “how foolish you are!”  But notice that after he says this, he takes the time to interpret the scriptures for them. He knows they’re confused and he wants to help them understand.  And to do this, he uses the scriptures - those ancient words that continue to have so much meaning for us today.

Song: “Thy Word” 

Scripture: As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 

Song: “Open the Eyes of My Heart”

Scripture: That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Reflection: This was such good news that they could not keep it to themselves.  They just had to share.  It makes me wonder about how we share about our encounters with the holy.  We are not meant to journey alone. We are a people made for relationship and community.  That is one of the reasons why we celebrate the Lord’s Supper every single month.  We come to the table together.  We feast together.  We are reminded together of God’s abundant love for us always.

Song: “Feed Us, Lord”

Reflection: May our hearts burn within us with the knowledge of God’s presence with us always.  Amen.