27 “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.

29 But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them.

30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.

31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.

32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”

33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,

34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.”

35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread,” Luke 24: 27-35 NASB.

Two very confused and downcast followers of Jesus were walking home from Jerusalem on the very day of His resurrection when a third figure joined them on the Emmaus road and asked what they were talking about. They quickly explained that all of Jerusalem was a buzz over the crucifixion of Jesus who many considered the Messiah. But, what was really confusing, and now the center of their attention was that some of their friends have reported that the tomb where He was buried was empty and some of the women had a vision of an angel that said He was alive.

Then the man said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” Luke 24:25-26

We know from the rest of the story in Luke 24 that this stranger was no ordinary man but the risen Savior Himself. Notice Jesus educates the disciples about the purpose of the Messiah’s coming, His death, and resurrection without revealing Himself to them. He teaches them from the Bible, beginning with Moses and the prophets (v. 27).

Jesus, could have just yelled out, “surprise, it’s Me, Here I Am,” and that would have gotten their attention, but He chose instead to educate them from Scripture which is always a more sure word than experience.

The story of this encounter with Jesus continues after the men arrive at their home village. Seeing it was coming on night they invite the stranger (Jesus) who so beautifully taught them from Scripture about the Messiah to stay with them and get a good nights rest before continuing His journey.

29b “So He went in to stay with them.

30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.

31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24)

What is Jesus doing here? The reference to “the table,” and the “taking of bread, blessing it, and breaking it,” obviously draws our attention to the Lord’s Supper. And though Jesus is not entering into a re-enactment of the Last Supper (there is no mention of wine), the allusion to that Supper is clear enough in His actions that we understand the symbolism of what He is doing.

Regardless of our take on what Jesus was doing these two disciples, upon eating the blessed bread, had their eyes opened and suddenly recognized the stranger—He is the risen Messiah. And if suddenly recognizing Jesus wasn’t enough of a shock, He disappears before their very sight.

The words of verse 32 are a treasure trove of joy for anyone who has ever truly encountered the Gospel. “They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’” On the Emmaus Road they were confused, a bit discouraged, or they wouldn’t have been going home, and yet their hearts burned within them when they heard the Word of God spoken and had the Scriptures explained to them.

Christians spend their lives relying upon experiences to validate their faith, but it is just the other way around. When we study the Bible that is when our experience, the burning in our hearts, takes place. It is when we are on fire with the presence of God, think Pentecost, through the study of God’s Word that our eyes are opened and we truly experience the presence of Jesus.

The Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread, is central to the Christian life, because it is here that we remember that Jesus is personal and central to all that we are. When we take Communion there can never be any thought of our own works, actions, deeds.

Instead when we lift the cup and eat the bread it is all about Jesus, and His redemptive love that flows over and through us from Calvary’s cross. Every Christian, if aware of the importance of the Lord’s Supper, will have their eyes opened to the wonder of Jesus and their own personal need of His saving grace.

But, after breaking bread with Jesus and explaining to each other how their hearts burned with joy as they listened to Him teach, they didn’t turn in for the night. They turned right around and headed back to Jerusalem to tell their friends the good news—Jesus lives! That is the power of a true encounter with Jesus; we turn around!

Only a few hours before they were going home, moving away from the place of the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Then they hear the Word, enter into communion with Him, have their eyes open and now find themselves missionaries.

I love verse 35 “They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread,” We also need to recognize Jesus in our lives. It is not always easy to know or understand what He is doing for us.

Sometimes the pain of life is so sharp and our blinders so dark that we don’t seem to be able to get our bearings. It is as if our life is slipping away and we can’t get a solid footing to steady ourselves. We cry out to God and it seems that only silence meets our pleas.

But you and I don’t know the long picture. We honestly don’t know the beginning from the end. We only have a glimpse of our life as we now lead it and we cannot see down the future. God sees much further than what we only see today. Listen, if God has led you this far you can be assured He is not going to drop you now. And though we might not know where to turn to deal with the crisis in our life, Jesus knows.

OK, you might say, “Jesus knows the answer, but how does that help me right now?” I wish I had a magic bullet for that question. But, the honest truth is I don’t. I do know, however, that there is a comfort in facing problems knowing that you are not alone in them, that Jesus does care about you and the problem and will not let you down.

That help and support might simply come by God opening our eyes to a new way of looking at our problem that leads to a solution. It may mean we have to make serious changes in our lives, that we don’t want to do, to alleviate the problem. It may mean, in some cases of severe illness, that we must face the reality of the situation and understand that God’s will is always best if we could see down the road.

As Christians we face problems and disappointments as all people do. But the heartaches of life don’t beat us because we have faith. Sometimes we might only hang on by our fingernails, but we hang on and that is all God asks. Sometimes our troubles seem so overwhelming that we will sink under them but these are our cross. Jesus told us that it would be difficult to follow Him and He knew of what He spoke.

Friends, don’t turn away from God or give up when facing storms. It is then that you need Him more than ever. Continue to trust and wait upon Him and you will not be disappointed. We might not like the solutions that He gives us, but that is where our faith comes in. Since we do not know God’s plans for our life, what seems like an overwhelming setback might be God’s simple plan to move us into another stage of our journey.

Be courageous, be strong. No regrets, no retreat. God is King!

* Folks, the persecution of Christians has not stopped.  If anything it’s increased. The main stream media doesn’t talk about it much anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  Pray and stay informed and inform others.  Please take the time to read some of their stories at  http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…