The Surprising Encounter
“Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?” -Luke 24:32
They had been clobbered by the events of the last few days; they were really in a total stupor. They shared over and over with one another all that had just happened while they tried to make sense of it. They were in the process of escaping the scene of the crime. At least, they themselves were convinced this was a crime and one of great injustice. Now they were getting out of town, and they were quite fearful of being arrested or even worse because these two were known disciples of the Executed One.
The “Stranger” who joined them as they walked began to question them to spark their memories. Then He took them to school. Within hours, they had a course of study no seminary student ever enjoyed. They learned what they might have learned over the previous three years from the Master-Teacher if they had only taken the content of their discipling by Him to heart and meditated on it earnestly, with the scrolls of Law and prophets right in front of their eyes.
He opened their eyes to the mysteries of the Old Testament, which had one theme in all of its thirty-seven books: Jesus the Christ! All of those books pointed forward to the focus of all of history: the coming of the Messiah. The words of these books explicitly and accurately prophesied His coming, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His coming again. You can find every bit of it in its pages. The Old Testament points ahead to the New, while the New, written very soon by these revived disciples, elucidates the Old.
The dramatic appearances of Jesus in these forty days between Resurrection and Ascension sent the disciples into earnest study of His Word with renewed insight. Their memories were reinvigorated with the validation of a living Lord. Their brain cells locked on all the words this One had spoken to them. When the Holy Spirit came with supernatural power at Pentecost soon after His ascension, He brought the Word of the Lord home to their minds and hearts; it literally burned in them.
Jesus amazed these two men walking to Emmaus with transforming, penetrating instruction and then did the very same thing with all the disciples gathered together in hiding that same evening. These forty days were necessary to sparking the fire of the New Testament church, a fire which has now not been quenched throughout two millennia.
Today you are one week short of the critical forty days Jesus remained on earth from His empty tomb. How many days are you now short of His return, which will come like a lightning bolt? Just as suddenly as Jesus joined these two on this road to Emmaus, He will appear on the clouds “with every eye seeing Him.” Jesus’ teaching in the days just prior to His death emphasized one thing: a sudden return! Can you rest on your laurels?
The starkness of the trumpet, the flash of a lightning bolt, a piercing shout that the Bridegroom is here. Just as the music stops in the final Jeopardy round, nothing more is written, and your hand freezes. Not another word of faith or curse is spoken; everything regarding salvation is done. Jesus repeatedly warns: Be ready! The clock strikes twelve in a split-second.
“Every eye shall now behold Him, robed in dreadful majesty. Those who set at naught and sold Him, pierced and nailed Him to the tree, deeply wailing, deeply wailing, shall the true Messiah see.”
(Second verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending,” 1758)
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