He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” – Luke 24:17. On the Emmaus road, two Disciples were walking and talking about Jesus when suddenly a stranger, who was in fact Christ, appeared and, according to the quotation above, “He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?”’ Then, “Cleopas asked Him, ‘Are you the only one who doesn’t know what happened the past few days?’” ‘“What things?’ He asked.”
The Disciples told the stranger about Jesus’ life and how they had hoped He would redeem Israel but His death on the cross had stopped that from happening.
The women who went to His grave came back and said, “He is risen.” Christ, whom they did not recognize, reprimanded them for their unbelief and failure to comprehend the teachings of the Old Testament prophets.
In your talks with other Christians, do you ever talk about His death and resurrection? Who is first to mention Jesus, you or they? What are your opening statements? Specifically, what about Christ do you talk about? What about your talks with those you love? Is the Spirit of Christ in your words and tone?
A good talk improves knowledge, refreshes memory and stirs up devotion and affection. A bad talk tears down; a good talk builds up relationships.
Matthew Henry says, “It is becoming to see Disciples of Christ talking together about Jesus,” especially when it’s about His death and resurrection.
Though Christ talked to the Disciples about the truth and the prophecies of the Old Testament, still at that point His identity remained unknown to them – and He’s not hiding it, either.
Henry also says, “All truths are not to be spoken at all times, though an untruth is not to be spoken at any time.”
As time passes, the Disciples walked most of the day and continued thinking they were talking with a stranger. You ever wonder why Jesus didn’t tell them who He was? At the tomb, He had told Mary who He was. But it seemed this way they were to have a more honest talk with Him, one without pretense, showing Christ just what they knew and truly believed.
Jesus, addressing sin in the church, says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Those who seek, hunger and thirst for Christ will find Him coming into their presence. When manifested, He gives knowledge and powerful words. To those He helps, God sends an increase of knowledge and blessings.
Many people don’t feel free to tell the truth to those they love and know best. Scared of losing their love, we sometimes hold onto preconceived notions, draw erroneous conclusions and maintain fixed opinions. But when we do so we cannot objectively listen and we stifle honesty by using old patterns and tones which create defensive responses.
Jack Nicholson, in the movie A Few Good Men, made a famous statement in his testimony against the defendant when he egotistically said to Tom Cruise, who played the defense attorney, “You can’t handle the truth.”
The same principle applies regarding Jesus’ resurrection. Christ knew the Disciples could not handle this truth. This was evident to Him because as they walked they were headed in the wrong direction and He joined them with the unexpressed intent of turning them around.
As Christians, we sometimes can be sad, sorrowful, complaining and finding fault in other people – even when there is reason to rejoice. Through some strange sort of weakness in our faith, often we can’t seem to take the comfort Christ offers us on life’s Emmaus roads.
Finally, notice when Christ does become known to the Disciples. He has walked and talked and opened the scriptures. He sat down at the table, gave thanks for the bread and broke it and gave it to them. That is when “Their eyes were opened and they recognize Him, and [immediately He] disappeared from their sight.” It was during Holy Communion that they recognized Him.
So, when Jesus comes into your presence, what will you be talking about? If you want the pleasure of Jesus’ company and wish to feel the communion with the Holy Spirit, talk with someone about His death and Resurrection; bring His name up at home sometimes or at work, or even at play, then watch Him show up.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org