“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained Him, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So He went in to stay with them. When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished out of their sight.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?’ And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.” Luke 24:28-35
The two men on the road to Emmaus didn’t know it was Jesus who walked beside them, but they knew that whoever it was, his teaching burned deep into their souls. (v. 32) As they travelled along listening to his explanations of how the Scriptures pointed to the death and resurrection of the Messiah, they arrived at their destination. Since the man was a stranger in that locality they invited him to stay with them and continue his journey the following morning.
What happened next changed their lives. The man, “took the bread and blessed, and broke it and gave it to them.” Immediately all the confusion, sorrow, self-pity and doubt fled out of them and they recognized that this man sitting in front of them was Jesus. And as they tried to work their heads around what was happening He vanished right before their eyes.
Most of us know what it is like to face disappointment. It leaves us confused, broken and sometimes angry. All our hopes are invested in events unfolding in a particular manner and when they don’t, we have a hard time understanding why.
This was the condition of the two men on the Emmaus road. They had counted on Jesus being the Messiah and bringing in an era of prosperity and peace for the Jewish people. They counted on Him driving out the hated Romans and giving them freedom once again. Now all those hopes were dashed on a rough Roman cross and their dreams buried in a dark tomb.
Then sitting in the house suddenly everything changed. It was nothing they did or could have done but the grace of God that transformed them from the defeated to victory. When Jesus broke the bread and handed it to them their eyes were open and they understood the grace of God.
In a real sense these two men had their eyes opened when they entered into communion with Christ. Jesus was presenting His broken body and His blood as the symbol of the sacrifice He made at Calvary that they could know salvation. Sitting before them Jesus was the living proof that the grave couldn’t hold the Messiah, Son of God. When we enter into communion with Christ we also have our eyes opened spiritually and we are filled with a peace that passes all understanding.
I love what the disciples did immediately after their encounter with Jesus. They rushed back to share the news with their friends that they had just broken bread with the risen Saviour. Do you ever wonder how you know you are saved? I think the easy answer is that you are filled with a joy and assurance that you can’t contain and you want to shout it from the rooftops to anyone who will listen. Notice verse 35, “He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” Through the Lord’s Supper we come to truly know Jesus. We abide with Him and He abides with us. (John 6:56)
Jesus tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” (John 6:47) The key to unlocking the mystery of the Lord’s Supper is belief. We come believing that Jesus is our substitute who paid our penalty for sin on Calvary’s cross. And we accept the grace that is poured out to us through His blood without any merit on our part. That is what it means for Jesus to abide in me and me in Him. When we believe that we have our eyes open and we receive eternal life.
My heart cries out to all the people who cling to a works based religion that depends upon their perfect submission to all that God demands. It is true that the converted heart will be a transformed heart and the laws of God will be written upon the heart through the acceptance of the new covenant promises. But, our salvation is by the grace of God that gave His Son to take our place so that we might take His place. To believe that any work on my behalf has any merit is to make the cross experience inferior and not sufficient. If my works add one iota to my salvation then Jesus’ sacrifice was not totally sufficient for my salvation because it needs my iota of work to make it complete. “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose.” Galatians 2:21
When we hear the Scriptures something in our hearts is stirred and our eyes are open to the majesty and grace of God. When we accept Christ as our savior we enter into relationship with Him and the Lord’s Supper is the outward sign of our acceptance and commitment to the grace of God. The Spirit fills us with joy and gratitude that spills out in sharing our encounter with God to anyone and everyone who will listen.
* Please remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are subjected to persecution for their faith in Christ our Lord and Saviour. Go to http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ for more on the persecuted church