"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in
all the scriptures the things concerning himself."
while we as mortal creatures detest condemnation, many times those
circumstances of condemnation strip down the things we do not need to
focus more clearly on those things that are truly important. Being
comfortable, complacent, and rutted can be desirable to the flesh, but
these are rarely - if ever - good circumstances for the walk of faith.
Whenever we become rutted in our thinking, we have a tendency to not
think clearly or react well to the circumstances before us. What makes
it even harder to get out of is - like a natural rut - the longer we are
in it the higher the wall becomes to overcome to get out of it. This is
why old habits are so hard to break: the wall is seemingly
insurmountable in our minds to escape from it. These are the moments
when the condemnation for our short-sightedness can be so needed and
revealing in our lives.
have been asked the question, "If you could place yourself in any one
day or circumstance in history, where/when would it be?" For years, my
response has been the setting for the verse before us. Can you imagine
what the sermon must have been like as it was uttered from the beautiful
lips of the Master? Talk about an Old Testament sermon for the ages!
Later, the two disciples that were recipients of the blessed message
talked about how it gave them heartburn. However, they also talked
about how He "opened to us the Scriptures." Not only did His message
resonate with the souls of the two men, but it peeled back the curtain
of their minds to understand things about the Scriptures and reveal
things to them that they previously had not considered. To have
revealed to you personally all the Old Testament Scriptures about the
Christ from the Christ Himself! What a mind-expanding event it must
have been that convicted the soul at the same time!
have recently come to see something in this glorious event that has made
me examine my own personal experience. While these two disciples on the
road to Emmaus were the only recipients of this glorious sermon, they
got there through some harsh condemnation by the Saviour. They were sad
when He joined their company, and when He asked them why they were so
sad, they responded in defeated tones. Notice in verses 19-24, they
respond to Christ's inquiry by speaking of Christ in the past tense.
Even though they freely admit that there were reports and witnesses of
His resurrection, they still remained defeated and spoke of Jesus in the
past tense. Friends, we should never refer to Him in the past tense.
He is an ever present help in time of need. (Psalm 46:1) Not only were
they speaking of Him in the past, they were denying the very reports
that testified to the same thing He preached while He ministered to
them: His resurrection. Should they have hid in their heart what He
said, they would have understood that He verily would die, but rise
again the third day.
the Master taught, this day should have been a day of rejoicing. Even
if they had not gotten the news from the witnesses, they should have
rejoiced, but with the news, there should have been even more cause for
uplifted spirits and much delight. Since these two disciples had not
reacted to the death of Christ and the succeeding events like they
should have, Christ appears to them to manifest things to them and
reveal things to them that will produce the fruit that they should be
bearing at this time. Before giving them the glorious discourse from
our verse, He upbraids (convicts and condemns) them for their unbelief
by showing the necessity of Christ suffering and enduring these things
then to enter into His glory. (Verses 25-26)
Now, let us
proceed to our own experience and see some of the truths of this lesson
as they relate to us personally. While I cannot say that I have had
Christ personally appear in fleshly form with me in my journey, I have
felt the same type of experience that these two did. So much of my life
should be uplifted and full of rejoicing, yet I find myself cast down
quite often. Do I have legitimate reason to be? In all honesty, no I
do not. Ever. Consider our position and the blessed knowledge that
Christ has bestowed upon us. Is He resurrected? Does He have all
power, glory, and might? Coupled with that, will we one day - without
fail - be where He is? From now until that glorious time, has He
promised to never leave us nor forsake us? The answer to all those
questions is yes. Since those questions are all answered in the
affirmative, I have absolutely no reason to be cast down. Yet, many
times I am.
appears (in Spirit) to upbraid and condemn me for my short-sightedness,
the event is painful but always fruitful. Upon reflection, I have come
to realize that some of my deepest understandings and revelations of
Scripture came on the heels of some of my most downcast times. When
upbraiding my sadness, the Saviour has opened the Scriptures in ways
that I had not previously seen. While I do not treasure the conviction
that I feel during those scenes, I do treasure the opening of the
understanding that He has blessed me with. What sermons were those two
capable of preaching after this event that they could not have done
otherwise? What glorious things have mine eyes been made to see that
made me realize what little I have to be sad about and how much I have
to be thankful for!
There is an
old expression that says, "The growing is done in the valleys."
Friends, the two on the road in our lesson were in a deep, dark valley,
but there was a tremendous amount of growing that took place in them
personally from the teaching of the Lord. Many of my "spurts" of growth
in understanding come when in deep, dark valleys. Lately, I have been
made to realize even more deeply the glorious promise and expression, "I
will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Friends, even if we do not
forsake our loved ones in this earth, we have to leave them from time to
time. Every workday, I leave my family for the office. However, our
Lord not only does not forsake us, but He never leaves us as well.
Consider how many times we have foolishly asked, "God, where are you?"
Friends, He is always there! Upon the realization that He is with us,
we can feel condemned at the folly of our own mind and heart, but how
sweet the deeper understanding can be when we realize once again what we
should have already learned and then realize it even more deeply than
There is no
excuse for stumbling at things we should already have a firm grasp on.
These disciples were without excuse not to realize after 3.5 years of
walking and talking with Him that He is God with all power, might, and
dominion. They were without excuse not to believe what He told them
about His eventual resurrection, and subsequent ascension into glory.
Furthermore, they were without excuse not to believe what had already
been written of Him, which He expounded in intricate detail unto them.
Translated today, I am without excuse not to believe all that has been
written of Him and the glorious truths that have so sweetly been
revealed to me. I am without excuse not to remember all the ways in
which His hand has led and guided me through difficult seasons of life
and lifted me up at times to soar on His wings. Furthermore, I am
without excuse not to remember what He has yet promised to deliver me to
that will drive all the toils of this life into the paleness of the
forgotten when that glory is revealed in me.
Just as these
two, I have no reason to be cast down and every reason to be uplifted.
However, during those moments that I fall short, He convicts the soul
and burns the conscience down in my chest while at the same time opening
to me the Scriptures. These treasures of revealed knowledge have come
after some of my most faulty seasons, but I am convinced that it does
not always have to be that way. Indeed, experience can be a very
effective teacher, and it has been repeatedly in my life, but I have
learned lately even more deeply to pray as instructed "and lead us not
into temptation." So oftentimes, I learn more deeply when experiencing
the lesson and the trial, but my prayer should be to learn the lesson
without needing the trial or test to learn it. Notice that Christ
tested these disciples to prove by their own mouth why they were so
downcast, and then upbraided them accordingly. Many times, my test
comes as I prove manifestly why I am so downcast, and then am upbraided
accordingly. May our journey going forward be uplifted and filled with
grateful hearts for His kind providence and blessing. May our prayers
be to learn and have the Scriptures opened to us without having to go
through the test and trial, and most of all, may we heed more and more,
deeper and deeper into those things that the Lord would have us to learn
and to do.