CHAPTER 13 — THE LORD JESUS' FORTY DAYS
RESURRECTION SCENES: THE JOURNEY TO EMMAUS.
We have looked on two previous evenings, beloved friends, at the first two appearings to His own of the Lord in resurrection. He appeared to Mary Magdalene first, we are told, and then secondly to her Galilean friends. The scripture before us tonight gives us the three other manifestations of the Lord on the day on which He rose. I have no doubt that they teach a very special truth regarding resurrection, as presented by the evangelist Luke. If it has not already struck you, you may read this twenty-fourth of Luke with fresh interest, bearing in mind the fact that, if you had only got Luke's Gospel, you would think the Lord was only one day on earth after He was risen, for Luke's record commences and concludes with facts that would all appear to have transpired in the one day.
The day begins with the women seeing Him, continues with the two going to Emmaus, and having His blessed company for at least, I should say, a couple of hours; then comes out the truth that He has already been seen by Peter; and lastly, He is found in the midst of His own, makes Himself known to them, eats in their presence, teaches them, gives them a commission, leads them out to Bethany, and then passes up to heaven. Had we only Matthew's Gospel, which does not give an account of His ascension we should think the Lord was still on earth, and, if we had no other Gospel but Luke's, we should think His sojourn here was just one day. And, in a certain sense, it is exactly that. It is essentially the resurrection day, with all the blessing, liberty, joy, and apprehension of God's mind and love that characterise it. It is a great thing for a Christian to get the sense "I am living in the resurrection day."
There is a great deal of instruction connected with the appearing of the Lord to the disciples in the upper room, which I shall touch on another night, as recorded by the evangelist John. But there are beautiful points, which should be carefully noted in this interview which Luke alone presents. His Gospel especially depicts the Lord in what I may call the human side of His character. And we must not forget that He is still a real, living, tender-hearted Man, and as much so, the moment I am speaking to you, as He was in the days of His flesh down here. Many a saint has not so got hold of Him, and that accounts for their distress in sorrow, and their dejection and depression in difficulties as they go through this scene. They have not learned that the risen and glorified Jesus is the same Jesus that passed along through this scene full of grace and tender sympathy. The full exhibition of all that God is, in His nature and being, was made known in Christ, but, apart from that, He was a real, true, tender-hearted, gracious, holy, yea, a perfect Man, with all the exquisite sensibilities that belong to man, either Godward or manward as the case may be. And if perfect in His life when, in the days of His flesh, He trod this sorrow-stricken scene, He is unchanged in resurrection, proof of which is before you in the lovely way in which Luke presents Him when, alive from the dead, He seeks out and cheers His own in their varied states, through the hours of what rolls before us as one day.
Now comes the question, Who saw the Lord on the third occasion this day? I could not dogmatize, because Scripture does not speak, but I infer that Peter was the one who saw the Lord after the women of Galilee. You may rightly ask me my reason for so thinking. Well, when the two who went to Emmaus come back to Jerusalem, and get into the upper room, they immediately hear: "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon "(Luke 24:34). That was the greeting they got as they entered the door; and the interview evidently had taken place previously. I will tell you my reason for so thinking. If the Lord has His eye, in this meeting tonight, more upon one than another, it is upon the unhappy heart that has dishonoured Him, disgraced His name, distressed the brethren, played into the hands of the enemy, and more than that, wrought for its own misery, after the fashion Peter had wrought. I think if the Lord has His eye specially on anybody, it is upon the backslider? And was Peter a backslider? That is not the point. Are you a backslider? Ah, brethren, backsliding is an awful thing.
But what is so precious to note here is the deep interest of Christ in desiring to recover and put right a heart that has in any measure got wrong. You may not have gone the length of oaths and curses, but, like Peter, my friend, if you knew Jesus better in days gone by than you do now, if His company, His love, were then more the paramount necessity of your life, than at the present moment, it is because the things of the world and the flesh have come in to hinder and spoil you. He knows very well that your heart is not happy, nor at rest; and I tell you what He would like to do. He would like to recover and make you happier than ever. If He would not, I do not know Him. But that is the Christ I know.
I shall not touch on Peter's restoration tonight, because it will come in its own place more fitly when we look at his public restoration, which was on the seventh occasion the Lord was seen. What Luke here records is his private restoration to his Lord. But there was a public restoration also to be effected, and that we are permitted to see by the Sea of Galilee, as recorded in John 21. I do not doubt that Peter got then and there the sense of absolute restoration in every sense of the word.
And now let us go back to the two going to Emmaus. I do not know a more blessed journey than the one with Jesus to Emmaus. I daresay some of you very intelligent people will tell me they were going quite the wrong way. Well, I will not deny it. But what charms my heart is this, that Christ is at their side to put them right. I am not so sure that they were very wrong, for I have little doubt they lived there. I have the deep conviction they were man and wife. You may say they had left Jerusalem, which should have been their centre. I know what you mean, but when Christ filled their hearts to the full, the eight mile walk back seemed nothing to them. You will see presently they got to a point when they could tell Him that the day was too far spent for Him to go farther, but, when He filled their hearts to overflowing, it was not too late for them to go back the eight miles to tell others the sweet news they possessed. Like bees going home from a good day's gathering, they are found in the hive sharing with the others the wonderful spoil they have gathered.
And now see how it happened. The tidings of the Lord's resurrection had evidently blown abroad. Mary Magdalene had come in and told her tale. Her Galilean friends had also come and told the apostles. You may think it a strange thing that the testimony of these dear, devoted women was not believed. Make what you like of it, but it was so. In fact, the Spirit of God tells us that their testimony was regarded as "idle tales" (Luke 24:11). The resurrection of Jesus, the victory of redeeming love, the testimony to all that was accomplished in His death, when it was first promulgated, was then, even by His own, regarded as an idle tale. Little wonder there is infidelity to day. Look at the semi-infidelity rampant among God's own people today as to the inspiration of the Scriptures, and "let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12).
And now we read, "And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs" (Luke 24:13). That is about eight miles. "And they talked together of all these things which had happened" (Luke 24:14). Their hearts were deeply interested in Christ. God has been careful to tell us what they were speaking about. They could think of nothing else, though I do not doubt they were bewildered by what had happened to the One they loved. "And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them" (Luke 24:5). Now I beg you to notice that little word "himself." I think the great point of Luke 24 is "himself." Presently you will find, "He expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself"' (Luke 24:27). A little later we find, "Jesus himself stood in the midst of them" (Luke 24:36). And then again, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself" (Luke 24:39). The great point is a risen Man, the same Jesus, but risen. That is the point undoubtedly of the evangelist in this chapter.
There are many Christians today who think of Jesus in His life and pathway, and yet in their hearts they are not at home with Him. Why? Because somehow to them the Jesus in resurrection is a different kind of Jesus, a little further off. Something has changed Him. I do not doubt that is why the Spirit of God says so strikingly in the Epistle of John: "And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:20, 21). I do not think it is at all the question of earthly idols here. It is to keep yourself from any thought of God that does not find its perfect counterpart in Jesus. Because God is only known in Him. If I have a thought of God that is not expressed in Jesus, I have an idol before my mind, and not the true God. Therefore I believe the Spirit of God lays great emphasis here upon this word "Jesus himself."
What was it drew the Lord to these wayfarers going to Emmaus? I do not doubt it was the perfect knowledge He had of what was going on in their hearts. Because, next to recovering a backslider, if He finds a saint in bewilderment, distress, or perplexity, how He loves to draw near and put that person right. Have you not known the Lord drawing near to you many a time, when you have been worried and perplexed, and you could not exactly unravel things? How He has by His Word, or some bit of ministry through one of His servants, come in and met you, and helped you. just like the thirteenth chapter of John, where He takes a basin of water, and a towel, and washes His disciples' feet, so as to put them at perfect rest in His presence. Oh for an adequate sense of how He loves us. Have you any sense of His personal love for you? You say, "I know He loves the Church." You may know that and yet be miserable. But when you come to this, "He loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20), things become personal. You may depend upon it, that what the Lord delights in is the apprehension of His own personal affection, and also the responsive love that flows from our hearts to Himself. Do you know what He looks for? Two kinds of heart. A "boiling heart," and a "burning heart." He does not care for any other but these. In Psalm 45: it speaks of a "boiling heart." Alas! oftentimes our hearts are not even on the simmer. When you put your finger into a pot that is just on the simmer, it is not hot enough to make you pull your finger out. But a boiling pot, ah! there is warmth there. What the Lord looks for is a heart with warmth in it. In the Psalm alluded to I get the way the love comes out. Here, I get the way it is produced.
You say, "I wish my heart would burn." just take a journey to Emmaus with Jesus, and I will guarantee your heart will burn by the time you get there. Now look again at these two travellers, as Jesus joins them. We read, "But their eyes were holden that they should not know him" (Luke 24:16). The eyes of a great many saints are "holden" today. I wonder whether you have ever noticed that their eyes were "holden" in verse 16, and their eyes were "opened" in Luke 24:31. Now, dear friends, why was that? Lots of things are allowed to come in and hinder the soul. Well, you say, they were not intelligent. Ah, I tell you what will open the eyes — a burning heart. When your affection is right you will very soon see things. People sometimes say, "We do not see." The question is, Do you want to see? If you were to see such and such things, it is very likely they would cut you off from a good deal you are going on with now. I believe at the bottom we sometimes do not want to see the truth. Our hearts are very like Zipporah's. She said, "A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision" (Ex. 4:26). She did not like death any more than you or I like it. But she knew very well if she was to keep her husband, her lad had to be circumcised. She had to accept death. It is a great thing to have the "burning" heart and the "open" eye. The Lord give both to us.
"And he said to them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?" (ver. 17). Suppose the Lord crossed our path today and said, "What are you talking about?" do you truly think He would find us talking about Him, His interests, and His things? It is very good for us if it be so. But if not, we shall have just to own how true was the word of the Lord, "My people have forgotten me days without number" (Jer. 2:32). Blessed be His name, He has never forgotten us.
And now we read, "And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering, said to him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem?" Now you might have thought it strange because I said just now this couple were man and wife. I have pretty good reason for thinking so. Here we get the name of the man — Cleopas. If you turn to the nineteenth chapter of John, you there apparently get his wife spoken about. "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25). Then you might say to me, That would not be conclusive. No, but their invitation to the Lord, "Abide with us" (Luke 24:29), would show that they lived together, that is pretty certain. And there is yet another reason I can advance. Do you know why the Spirit of God in the fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, when citing the testimonies to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, selects only five out of the eleven appearings? Turn to it and just see what I mean.
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom. the greater part remain to this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James: then of all the apostles" (1 Cor. 15:3-7). These are only five out of the eleven times He was seen. Mary Magdalene is omitted, and her Galilean friends; the two going to Emmaus, the appearing of the Lord in the upper room on the first day, the appearing likewise at the Sea of Galilee when the seven saw Him, and the appearing down in Galilee, recorded in Matthew 28, are all left out. In every one of these six instances, unbelief of the testimony to Christ's resurrection was displayed, and in most of them you will find women were present. For some reason or other God has been pleased to omit every instance in which women were present.
On the first day of the week, in the upper room, I conclude that women were present, when Thomas was not (Luke 24:33; John 20:19). We are not told that any were present the next week when He was seen "of the twelve." It was manifestly not an apostolic company only that we find in Luke 24, because to begin with, Thomas was not there, and there were present a great many others beside the apostles. How do you know that? Read Luke 24:33. There evidently was a large company. The disciples generally were gathered together, and that depicts the truth of the assembly, and the Lord was in their midst. However, I do not want to trace out that side of the truth tonight.
I have therefore, from the foregoing considerations, the deepest conviction that one of these two going to Emmaus was a woman. And it is beautiful to see that they were both of one heart. They communed and reasoned together as they went, and Jesus was the burden of their talk. If you are married, I hope you do the same. It is just what ought to be, and it is very blessed to see that when God gives you a record of this, beautiful resurrection scene, He shows you a man and wife with one heart and one soul, walking to their house, and speaking together of His Son, and soon they have the blessed Lord going together with them. That was a happy house that night, and unhappy is the house that is not of that sort.
Well, Cleopas answers the Stranger's query by "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?" (Luke 24:18). Very simple and very touching is that answer given to the total Stranger that addressed them. You might say, "Why did they not know Him?" Turn to Mark 16 for a moment, and I think you will get the reason. "After that he appeared in another form to two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it to the residue: neither believed they them" (Mark 16:12, 13). Their testimony was not believed, just as, apparently, the disciples had not accepted the testimony of the "certain women of our company," who earlier in the day "astonished" them by saying "he was alive" (Luke 24:22, 23).
That was the reason, possibly, why their eye was holden. The Lord sometimes puts Himself in our company that we may learn just where we are in the history of our souls. He likes us to be real and genuine. We may be hypocrites before each other — that is, one may appear to be what he is not. Verily that is our danger. But He always likes to see the truth. He looks for the truth, and I do not think when He finds the truth, as He did find it in them, that the Lord was in any sense angry with them, though He may rebuke them for their unbelief. But for the Lord to find you and me true and real, on the way, is a great thing. I think He values and estimates it. And what does He find here? What I have no doubt was very attractive to His heart, a sorrowful and unintelligent couple, but a couple deeply interested in Him and His things. This led to His inquiry — "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said to him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days. And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people" (Luke 24:17-19).
Do you think there was no joy to His heart to hear this couple speak out what they felt with regard to Him? He loves to hear us talk about Him. Do you not know what it says in the Old Testament? "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name" (Mal. 3:16). Here were two weary pilgrims on earth, and He hearkens to them. Listen to them, as they talk to Him in the most beautiful way, and describe what their feelings were in regard to Himself, though they knew Him not at the moment. He was a very interested listener, as they continue, "And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him" (Luke 24:20). That is what Israel had done. And now they tell the disappointment of their own hearts — "But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel." They thought of the King: they thought of the glory and the establishment of the kingdom; and I do not doubt they were disappointed and dejected. Have you never been dejected? What a wonderful thing if the Lord draws near to you and brings Himself in as the spring of peace, joy, and gladness to your oppressed heart — the blessed heavenly answer to the many things here which have disappointed or dejected you. Their hopes connected with Him had all been dashed to the ground by His death, and apparently all was gone, though they admit their astonishment at what they had heard, but, evidently, had not believed.
"And beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive" (Luke 24:21-23). They tell the story very simply. Then they add, "And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said; but him they saw not" (Luke 24:24). There is a volume in those four words, "Him they saw not." Do you know why they did not see Him? They did not expect to. Did you see the Lord last Lord's Day morning in the meeting for the breaking of bread? "Oh, it was rather a dull meeting." Was Christ dull? "Oh, well you know things were not at all bright." Ah, you did not see Him? Shall I tell you why? You did not expect to. You went to meet somebodyelse, or expecting to hear the voice of some one else. It was not Christ alone that drew you.
Many a time I have seen saints gathered upon right ground, and yet it could be said of them, "Him they saw not." Why? Because it was not Himself alone they went to see, and He let them have the fruit of their unbelief. Do you know the secret of happy, hearty, worshipful meetings? It is when every saint has come just to see Him, to meet Him, and to worship Him. "Him they saw not," is a serious allegation. Whenever you come away from a meeting gathered to His name and you have not seen Him, you may depend upon it the fault was not His, and it would be a great mistake to put the fault upon your brethren. You may depend upon it there was something wrong with yourself. Something needing judging had been allowed.
This statement on their part now leads the Lord to say that which we all should ponder and take to heart. "Then he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25). How true of us. How foolish are we oftentimes, and how slow of heart to believe the word. And then He says, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:26). Let us put ourselves back into their position that day, and think what a Jew looked for. The coming of the Messiah in power, the setting up of the kingdom, and the introduction of the glory, were the things which, according to Scripture, a godly Jew looked for. How deep then their disappointment, and the Lord understood it. And although He might chide them for unbelief, see how sweetly He passes on to say, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" The sufferings and the glory go together. When you read the Old Testament you see that is the way in which it is put. It is the suffering first and then the glory. When I come to the New Testament, what I find is this, Paul has the deep sense of what it is to know Christ in glory, and hence he is prepared for the suffering. What made him here such a man as he was, willing to suffer anything for Christ, was the knowledge of Christ in glory.
"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27). I think the Lord will forgive me, if you do not, for saying, how I should have liked to have been there that day. Would not you, brethren? Would not you have liked to have made the fourth that day, and hear Him open up "in all the scriptures the things concerning himself"? Why, sometimes your heart has fairly boiled, and the tears have run down your cheeks with joy as you have heard some bit of ministry of Christ from the lips of a poor servant of His. But think what it must have been to have heard Him going through the Scriptures from Moses on, and from type, shadow, figure, offering and sacrifice, picking out that which told of Himself, and so expounding it that their hearts began to burn. No wonder, the fact was this, they had never met such a Stranger, they had never had such ministry, and never had such company before.
And this lovely exposition went on during an eight mile journey. We can well understand what it produces. It wrought the most exquisite expression of true fellowship. The effect of that ministry was this, their hearts were knit to the Stranger, although they had no notion who He was. He was able to speak so beautifully about the One who was dearest to their hearts that they craved for more of this ministry and fellowship. I do not know any scene in Scripture that expresses more sweetly the effect of real ministry of Christ. That always knits the heart to Christ, and to the one who so ministers. They did not know who it was who was so preciously unfolding Christ to them., He immensely gladdened their hearts as He spoke of Him who was the burden and testimony of all Scripture. It made Christ increasingly precious to their souls; and ministry that does not do that is worthless, whether it be from my lips or anybody else's. If it does not minister Christ, and make Him more precious to the soul, it is valueless. Thus it is that true fellowship is produced.
This chapter presents a lovely picture of the way in which the Lord, in resurrection, opens up the Scriptures to His own people. Presently you will find He opens their eyes (Luke 24:31), and then He opens their understandings (Luke 24:45). It is a wonderful chapter of divine openings this twenty-fourth of Luke, beginning with an open grave and closing with an opened heaven. Continuing its instruction, we read, "And they drew nigh to the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further" (ver. 28). How beautiful is that touch. Christ never forces His company on us. He did not force it that day, and He does not do it this day. I can, tell you exactly how much of Christ you will get. As much as you really want. "He made as though he would have gone further." And now I get the right state. "But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us" (Luke 24:29). The courtesy that ever marked Him, and was one of the perfections of His pathway as a Man, is seen here. What right had He to enter that house? He had a right, but He did not assert it. The question was this, did they want Him?
He will never compel me to have His company. I do not deny what I may call the compulsion of grace upon the sinner, but, where a saint is concerned, He does not so act. Do you and I covet His company? "He made as though he would have gone further." I think I see them. Do they say, "Here is our house, will you come in?" Oh no, it was not that kind of thing. He says, "I am going on." "But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." They had to ask Him perhaps more than once. There is such a thing as the love of Christ constraining us. But here it was the love of saints constraining Him. It is reciprocal constraint.
Look at the sequel — "And he went in to tarry with them" (Luke 24:29). Ah! how glad their hearts were. They had His company who had made their hearts burn with ministry, the like of which they had never heard before. "And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them" (Luke 24:30). Here of course He takes His true place. He must be the master of the house. He is not the guest now. All is His. And sitting at the table, what does He do? "He took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to them." At once there is a recognition of Himself, and of His authority. "And their eyes were opened, and they knew him." And you may ask me, Is this the Lord's Supper? It is not exactly the Lord's Supper, and yet it is exactly that which should take place at the Lord's Supper. He gives thanks, breaks the bread, and gives it to them. There is the ministry of Himself to the heart, and the eye is opened to discover His presence and His beauty.
I do not know what you have learned in your spiritual history; but I freely confess that I have never learned in the solitude of my closet, when all alone, in a Bible reading, or at a lecture on Scripture, I have never learnt God, or learnt the truth there as I have learnt in the assembly, and in the breaking of bread, where it has been the Lord Himself who has been the minister of His own table. It is a wonderful thing to be under the direct ministry of Christ, with man shut entirely outside. The effect is immediate: "And their eyes were opened, and they knew him." If you want the truth you will get it. If you really want to have what suits Him, and to follow Him, He will give you your desire. So it was here.
The recognition of the Lord being complete, we read: "And he vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32). It is a wonderful thing to get the Scriptures divinely opened up, for that kind of ministry of Christ always causes the heart to burn. If the Spirit of God comes and ministers Christ in His love, grace, beauty, and glory to your soul, you may depend on it, your heart will respond. And if it does not respond, you may well question if you are a child of God at all. It is easy enough to profess Christ. It is easy to say, "I am a Christian." But if my heart does not thrill when Christ is ministered, I may well question if I am a child of God at all. Do you say — You will put many of our hearts shaking. Well, if they shake first and burn after, it will be all right. And if they never burn, there is something wrong somewhere. You get alone with the Lord, and if your heart does not burn while He talks with you, you may depend upon it, there is something radically wrong. The Lord give us a little more of the burning heart. It is a heart that turns first to Him in real affection, and then has something for others. This is the characteristic too of a boiling heart
Do you often speak to others of Jesus? No. You have not a boiling heart then, I fear. A boiling pot is apt to boil over. We always know a boiling pot, and if there be one thing more than another that I love to meet in this world, it is a boiling saint. Some Christians whom you meet are rather like big blocks of ice. They chill one. God keep you and me from being that kind of saint. Give me a saint that will melt me, touch my conscience, furnish my understanding, and reach my heart. That is what I find on the resurrection day. Christ's company produced it then, and now does just the same. Look at the effect on those two disciples. Had it been most of us, we should very likely have said, "We have had a very nice profitable evening, and now we will just sit quietly still and enjoy what we have heard." Not so with them. They had just gone into their house, and what do we next read? "And they rose up early next morning and returned to Jerusalem," That might have sufficed us, but not this pair. "And they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem." A little while before it was too late for their unknown Instructor to go farther, now it was not too late, nor were they too tired, to trudge back that eight long miles and spread the joyful news regarding Jesus and the resurrection. The wondrous discovery they have made they must needs share with others. This is real Christianity. Carry to and share with others all that God has given your own soul to know and enjoy.
Would to God, dear fellow-believers, that you and I were more like this couple. Do brother Cleopas and his wife live in your district?
This devoted and rejoicing pair, in the shades of night, returned to Jerusalem, "and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon" (Luke 24:33, 34). They go in order to tell their news, and as they get in at the door they get their own faith most beautifully confirmed, as some one immediately exclaims, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon." God always confirms the soul that receives and answers to the truth.
"And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread" (Luke 24:35). Do you break bread often? "Once or twice in a year." What a poor half-starved sheep you must be. Many a Christian says, "I like better to hear the preaching." I have no doubt they do. But hearing a servant speak must never supersede the breaking of bread. You will get more for your soul in one divinely-ordained breaking of bread than in fifty sermons. In the Lord's Supper you get the personal touch of the Lord Himself. You get the knowledge of His love and the sense of His grace, as nowhere else. I am persuaded the Spirit has a great meaning in recording" how he was known of them in breaking of bread."
What follows is deeply interesting. The Lord Himself at that moment entered the company, saying, "Peace to you." Then followed the attestations in relation to His veritable Manhood, and the truth of His resurrection, as He makes them touch Him, and then eats before them. Of this scene I will speak a little more, please God, another night.
May the fruit of our coming together tonight be to know the Lord better, and have His love more fully enjoyed by our souls. If there has been a bit of distance from Christ allowed, may we get deeply in our souls the sense, that to be where He is, is everything. It makes all the difference in the world what ministry you sit under. I sometimes ask people, "Who is your minister?" Is it that risen One in glory? Is it really the ministry of the Holy Ghost? To myself and to my fellow-servants I like to say, If our ministry does not shake people off ourselves, and attach them to Christ, it is not proper ministry. Right ministry is that which makes Christ precious, and helps the soul to get nearer to Christ. Thus you see He gets His right place in the affections of His loved ones. May you get your eyes opened and your understanding too, and you will find this to be a grand day in which you live — the resurrection day. Luke 24 is full of Christ, and the hearts. of the disciples then were absorbed with Christ. He was everything to them, and the end of all is reached — they worshipped Him and were full of joy (Luke 24:51, 52).