The Risen Christ on the Road to Emmaus, Mark 16:12-13
I Cor 15:12-22, Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
Mark 16:12,13, After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
These are two men who left Jerusalem that day, chosen of God to become witnesses of the living Christ, the Christ who was dead but is now alive, the Christ who was placed in the tomb but now has risen.
From the details given in Luke 24 I think we can conclude that their witness took place on the day, most likely in the afternoon, of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reading Luke 24:13-24 will give us better understanding of this witness:
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs (7.5 miles). 14And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24And 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.
Here God gives us a detailed account of the two men mentioned by Mark where Jesus appeared unto them in a different form.
We are to take close notice of this account for it is a testimony of two disciples who walked, who talked and who ate with the resurrected Christ.
Their time spent with our Lord was a lengthy time for we are told that He walked with them to a place called Emmaus which was about 60 furlongs (furlong = 660 ft.) or 7.5 miles Northwest of Jerusalem.
We do not know at what point he joined them but from the scope of subject matter that Christ expounded the walk was a lengthy one.
And not only did he walk with them he also supped or ate with them.
Their witness would be unimpeachable for it was not just a short chance meeting but one which spanned hours.
When Luke said these men were two of them it meant that they were part of the group of disciples that were in Jerusalem on that day.
They were disciples intimately acquainted with and associated with the eleven disciples who accompanied Jesus during his three year ministry in Israel.
They were able to tell Jesus, who had entered their midst in the way and walked with them, of all that had taken place and to all that was reported to the apostles by the women concerning the empty tomb.
This reveals that they were closely aligned with Peter, James and John and the other eight disciples.
They also had believed with all their heart that Jesus was the Messiah who was come to redeem and deliver Israel.
This belief was true, however, they did not consider that He must first die in order to provide for their sin.
So because of this ignorance all of their dreams were now shattered and they discussed this great disappointment with each other as they made their way to Emmaus.
They had, for all intents and purposes, given up all hope.
Their faces were fallen and downcast for Jesus noticed their countenance as sad.
Luke 24:17, And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
Hope was in them that Jesus was the true Messiah, but due to His death they had concluded that He was only a prophet.
They did not doubt that he was a true prophet of God, a powerful prophet, but no different from the prophets of old who also died and passed from the scene.
They even mentioned that it was the third day since he had died.
Perhaps this was mentioned as an acknowledgement of Jesusí words that He would rise again on the third day.
And if it was, were they still disappointed because the tomb was empty but they saw no living Jesus.
They even reported to this stranger who had joined them along the road, that some of the women had gone out to the tomb and found it empty.
The women claimed they had even seen angels and heard reports from the angels that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Apparently these men had not heard the report that the women had also met the risen Savior that morning.
In spite of all that they had heard they did not connect the dots of their minds which would have brought them to a conclusion that their Master had indeed risen from the dead as he clearly said he would.
But the Lord joined them on the walk and intended for them to know the truth.
No doubt they were seekers of the truth and one thing we know is that those who truly desire the truth will be given truth by God.
Ask and it shall be given unto you, Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.
Now the Lord appeared to these two men as a man but not in a recognizable form.
Mark said he appeared to them in another form and Luke said their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
This other form seems to mean that He appeared to them in a body that was not immediately recognizable.
But he appeared to them as one of them, a traveler walking to Emmaus.
But not only as far as Emmaus, but intending to go past Emmaus for He acted as though He would continue on when they stopped and invited him to stay the night.
One thing we ought to mention before we go further is the fact that the women were not only told that the Lord had risen but that He was going into Galilee where the disciples would see him.
In other words the instructions to the disciples were to go to Galilee and there they would meet Him.
Seven miles away from Jerusalem in the town of Emmaus is not in a direction toward Galilee so we see these disciples not going where they were told to go.
Both Matthew (28:7,10) and Mark (16:7) specifically state that the angels and Jesus told the disciples that Jesus would meet them in Galilee.
The disciples had met the claims of the women with unbelief and I suppose this affected every decision they made.
The disciples should have been on their way to Galilee if they had believed in the Lordís resurrection and had obeyed His instructions.
The Lord no doubt, knew their unbelief and unless he had not revealed himself to some of the disciples in Jerusalem, they would not have met him, for they did not go to Galilee.
We will learn later in the Luke 24 passage that when these two men returned to Jerusalem with their detailed witness of his resurrection they learned that He had also revealed himself to Peter.
And reading this from the Amplified Bible in Luke 24:33,34, And rising up that very hour, they went back to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven [apostles] gathered together and those who were with them, Who said, The Lord really has risen and has appeared to Simon (Peter)!
But the sense we find in the scriptures is a group of men who are disoriented, defeated, unbelieving for all that they had invested appeared to them as gone with the death of their Master.
They were so invested in the now and now that they were blinded to any other possibility even though Jesus had clearly told them that he was to die, but that he would rise on the third day.
As these two men proceeded to Emmaus they continued to not process the facts.
They had heard the account of the women, they had heard the words of Jesus but they seem to have absolutely no hope.
Their doubt was reflected in what they said: 21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel:
But for Jesus seeking them out they would have continued on in unbelief.
But praise God, Jesus loved them and would not let that happen so he joined them in their travels.
He listened to their self-pitying comments and responded, not with soft comforting words but with words of rebuke.
They were words of rebuke for not believing the word of God.
This is given to us in Luke 24:25-27, Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
This is Godís commentary to those who believe not his word.
O fools and slow of heart!
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Jesus did not meet the sadness of these two men with comforting words.
He did not flatter them but he rebuked them for their spiritual dullness and for their failure to believe all that the prophets had spoken.
They were like most of us for they were selective in their beliefs.
They choose to look for the crown to the neglect of the cross.
The message of the prophets concerning the coming Messiah was a blending of suffering and glory.
Read Isaiah 52 and 53 and you will find a suffering Savior, but read Daniel 7:13-14, and you will find a triumphant King.
This is what Daniel was given to see in Daniel 7:13-14, I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
The prophets of old wrote of both aspects of the Christ, even though they did not understand how they could be compatible.
Peter wrote of this difficulty in understanding in his first epistle:
I Peter 1:10-11, Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
The true prophets accepted Godís word as it was revealed, even though they did not understand how it could be true.
But most of the Israelites chose to reject the suffering side and only focus on the glory side.
But the false prophets gave warm, reassuring, promises of peace and prosperity, while the true prophets spoke of suffering and of tribulation.
The people who liked to hear positive messages drew near to the false prophets and because of this, persecuted those who spoke of suffering and trial before the coming of glory.
Ezekiel, chapter 13 speaks of false prophets and liken them to those who daub a wall with whitewash convincing the people that the wall is strong when in reality there is no strength in it at all.
From the New American Standard Version
10"It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, ĎPeace!í when there is no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash; 11 so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out.
15"Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, ĎThe wall is gone and its plasterers are gone, 16along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,í declares the Lord GOD.
We have seen it over and over again in our study of scripture that the disciples of our Lord did not wish to hear of Jesusí sufferings, but only of His triumph.
We remember Peter who took Jesus aside and rebuked Him for speaking of His coming rejection and death (Luke 9:22; cp. Matthew 16:21-23).
All of the disciples, including these two men on the road to Emmaus had so rigorously held to a non-suffering Messiah, a triumphant King, but not a suffering Servant that they concluded Jesus could not possibly be the Messiah because He had suffered and died.
In spite of a mountain of evidence, all of which pointed to His resurrection, they were solidly convinced it was all over, and that He, was no more than the prophets of old.
Is there any difference today?