The Road to Emmaus and The Ascension

We’re still on Easter Sunday at this point. Jesus does not come out and show who He is right away. One of the questions we’ll try to answer is why does Jesus beat around the bush? We’ll see how Jesus reveals what has happened, but only after giving it the context it deserves to be fully understood. Jesus coming back to life is incredible, but we’ll read how it is made even more impressive and transformational when weaved into God’s big picture. 

Luke 24:13-53

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 

  • Some weird stuff is going to happen. The flesh of Jesus has died and resurrected, and a lot of physical limitations aren’t a thing anymore. 
  • People are kept from recognizing him, He appears and disappears from places. 
  • These people here knew Jesus, maybe not well, but they were in the entourage. Clearly supernatural that they do not recognize him. 
  • Luke probably got this account first hand from one of these disciples.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 

  • Jesus is a funny guy. Knows exactly what has been going on, but wants them to tell him. 
  • Reminds me a little of the first sin in the garden. God asks them where they are and what happened.
  • Luke is name dropping who this is, so that people reading this will connect more to it. 

21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” 

  • Todd spoke of “hope” last week. The women at the tomb maintained their hope, but these men seem to have lost it. vs 21 “had hoped”
  • BUT, their hope in Jesus was not based in scripture, it was their own desires.
  • The greek word for “redeem” here means to liberate from ransom, from roman rule.
  • They wanted a political revolution, Jesus to become a physical earthly king. 
  • V. 23 They did not believe the testimony of others. the women saw the angels, but they still don’t believe.

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 

  • God told Abraham his lineage would bless the world, specifically Isaac and Judah
  • God told David the throne of his ancestor would be eternal
  • “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–13).
  • The prophet Isaiah clearly stated how the messiah would be born
  • “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). (God with us)
  • Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
  • Jesus explains what scripture says the messiah will look like, what he came to do. Jesus had to do this; it was the plan from the beginning. 
  • Jesus uses scripture, vs 27 “expounded” (Dier-men-euo) implies sticking close to the text. When Jesus explained things concerning Himself in the Old Testament, He didn’t use fancy allegories or speculative ideas.
  • He is using the actual words of God to explain it. Do we believe that it is sufficient? Jesus considers this an authoritative text, do you?

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

  • V. 29 Some translations say “constrained him”. they might have been pulling at his clothes, holding him close. Another word would be prevailed upon, to impose your will. Why would they do this? They didn’t know he was the Christ, but the truth He spoke was so magnetic, they needed to be around him. 
  • V. 31 “eyes were opened”, is a passive verb, God is the one doing the opening. 
  • These men didn’t know about the last supper, they weren’t there. Somehow that act opened their eyes to who Jesus was.
  • Maybe the pierced hands that gave the bread. Maybe the blessing. Whatever it was, God used it to open their eyes.
  • It says their hearts were burning, and their minds were opened. You can know scripture, but unless Jesus opens your mind you won’t understand. 

33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. 

  • While this has been going on, it appears that Jesus also appeared to Peter. 
  • This is now multiple witnesses confirming the resurrection.

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

  • Jesus makes it abundantly clear that he has a physical body. He has actually come back to life. Examples of spirits coming back like Samuel.
  • This is the same body that was beaten and hung on the cross. 
  • The marks on his body remain as trophies of His great work on the cross.

41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence. 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

  • The scene is unreal. The man you saw die on a cross is standing in front of you, eating, talking, teaching
  • V. 41 “they still did not believe BECAUSE of joy and amazement”. How??
  • God wants from us a faith that is reasoned and thought-out, not a giddy belief.
  • In both cases, seeing the miracles themselves did not produce belief. It needed to be seen within the context provided by the scripture. 
  • “I am not excusing, the unbelief of the disciples, but I claim that their witness has all the more weight in it, because it was the result of such cool investigation.” (Spurgeon)
  • To get all the way there, it can’t just be all emotion. It must be combined with reason and understanding as well. 
  • We can be excited about it, but without the scriptures, it will not manifest into belief. We need the scriptures. 
  • But do not forget! These men knew the scriptures well, but needed Jesus to “open their minds” so they could perceive clearly the scriptures.

46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

  • This is as clear Jesus has been to this point. Tells us why he died, and for who. 
  • The cross is not an obstacle that needed to be overcome, it was a needed part of God’s plan of redemption.
  • The gospel message includes repentance and remission of sin only by the virtue of His name.
  • He also gives a command to stay in Jerusalem until the spirit is imparted. 

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

  • We know from other gospels and Luke’s second volume called Acts, that Jesus continued to appear to people for 40 days, so no longer on easter here. 
  • The blessings of Jesus aren’t a “hope it works out!” thing. There is power in it!
  • There is a finality in this goodbye. Unlike when he would disappear other times. Beginning of a new chapter in history.
  • They were obedient, and (V. 52) “with great joy” means they really believed. 


Jesus died but did not stay in the grave!

Jesus wanted the men on the road to understand God’s big picture before they saw Him for who He was.

The word of God has pointed to Jesus from the very beginning, laying out specifically what needed to be done. 

The body of Jesus was physically resurrected, and maintained the proof of the work He had accomplished. He died for our sins!

Jesus tells us we need the word of God, to ignore it is short sighted, prideful, and foolish.

You can read the bible a hundred times but unless Jesus opens the eyes of your heart, you won’t understand. It isn’t something we grasp on our own. 

This event fundamentally changed the relationship between mankind and God, and will result in a dramatic change in the actions of the lives of his followers. 


Is your hope in Jesus the Messiah based on scripture, or your own desires? What can we do to truly know Jesus more?

Do you consider the texts authoritative, the way Jesus did? 

How well do you know the old testament? Do you think it’s important toward your relationship with Jesus?

If the events surrounding the death and resurrection hasn’t changed your actions, what does that say about your belief in it? 

The way we see Jesus is by spending time in the scriptures, and practicing and remembering his sacrifice. Is this a reality in your life?