Road to Emmaus by Robert Zund, copied from saltandlight.org
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
He who hesitates is lost.
The early bird gets the worm.
Our vocabulary is replete with idioms encouraging us to not procrastinate or make excuses as to why we didn’t do something we should have done. I shudder to think of the missed opportunities and potential open doors that God may have had for me that no longer exist due to my desire for personal comfort and convenience.
This comes through to me highlighted in yellow with neon exclamation points in the story of the two V-E-R-Y disappointed disciples on the road to Emmaus. The back story finds these two friends downcast and discouraged in that the one they thought was the long-awaited Messiah of Israel had just been (evidently) defeated and crucified by the Roman government at the behest of the Jewish high council. Finish line. Period. Shelf that book and find a new one.
Well….not quite. As they’re walking away from Jerusalem, where this tragedy just occurred, to the neighboring town of Emmaus, they were met by a fellow traveler who asked why they were so glum, whereupon a conversation ensues ending with the stranger being persuaded to eat dinner with them and stay the night, since it was getting late. Sitting down to dinner, the stranger prayed over the repast, whereupon the two friends’ “eyes were opened” and they recognized this Stranger as no stranger at all, but in fact this was Jesus who had just died, and was now right before them more alive than ever! Just as suddenly, Jesus disappeared and the two stunned disciples sat holding their bread, starring at an empty seat…
Not a finish line, but a starting block. Not a period, just a comma. Same book, new chapter.
It’s a great recount, read it many times, one of my husband’s faves. But here’s where the yellow marker comes in. Luke puts it this way in his book, chapter 24, starting in verse 33:
“Within the hour” (NLT)
“Rising up that very hour” (Amplified)
“They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.” (NIV)
Here’s the one I really like—
“They didn’t waste a minute.” (The Message)
Nuts to the meal, never mind that it was getting toward nighttime, that they were physically tired from a full day’s activity, not to mention emotionally hung out to dry from the events of the past week, maybe looking over their shoulders to see if the Romans had the two of them in their crosshairs. They “didn’t waste a minute” to begin the seven and a half mile trek back to the very place of their earlier disappointment and confusion.
Why? Because that’s where they would find Jesus again.
Now, if they had decided their feet were too tired (they didn’t have Cabelas boots back then) and they’ll start tomorrow, or maybe they would get it figured out after a good meal, or they would just let things settle down back in Jerusalem a little before heading back (which never happened, BTW), or any number of other reasons and excuses, this is what they might have missed:
- The two now very animated disciples arrived right before Jesus (personally, I’m thinking Jesus was waiting for them to get there, since He knew they were on their way). They were recounting to the other disciples what had transpired over the dinner they had left back on the table, and suddenly—
While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be to you. (1)
Had they waited, they would have missed seeing Jesus again, Who went on to prove His physically existence by eating food, and allowing them to touch His scars and wounds, proof that they would need to sustain them in the troubled times ahead.
- “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures”(2)—because just reading the Bible is not enough. We need God Himself to enlighten and apply it to our specific situations and our individual lives. We must have interaction with God as we read.
- “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (3) Jesus began to unfold His specific strategy to His friends, a strategy that included a powerful Agent to help them to complete the task at hand.
Each of those points have a full sermon in them, but the idea for me here is this: When convenience, disappointment, or fear are attempting to dissuade me from seeking Jesus, the correct response is to get moving and follow Him anyway. Because I don’t want to miss the opportunity to see Jesus in the special way He wants to reveal Himself to me; I have to tap into the power that only He can give me; and I need His strategy for my life.
Even if He’s calling me back the way I came. Even if there is potential pain.
Even if it means leaving the bread on the table.
- Luke 24:36 (NASB)
- Luke 24:45 (NASB)
- Luke 24:49 (NASB)