Coming To Know Jesus

Bible Book: Luke  25 : 13-35
Subject: Easter; Resurrection

Open your bibles with me this morning to Luke, chapter 25, verses 13-35.

Today is resurrection day, Easter Sunday. While we who know Jesus live in the reality of His resurrection every day, today is a special day set aside each year to commemorate this central event in the history of humanity.

Our text this morning provides us with one of the most vivid and insightful accounts of our Lord’s appearances after His resurrection. Luke is the only one of the four Gospel writers to include this story. It is a story that reveals to us not only something about who we are, but about who Jesus is and about how we can come to know Him.

The day is resurrection day, the very first one. Two disciples, one named Cleopas and the other un-named are literally debating or strongly discussing with one another the things which had taken place. The Greek reveals to us that these two men were discussing the events of the past weekend with intensity. It had been a big weekend in Jerusalem. The events that had taken place were extraordinary and yet, from their point of view, they had been devastating. Not only had Jesus been crucified, but there were reports that His tomb was empty and that certain women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, had seen two angelic beings who announced to them that Jesus was risen. But, verse 11 tells us that the disciples had dismissed the women’s report as nonsense. So they are walking, talking, unaware of their surroundings, as is often the case when one is involved in a deep conversation.

As they are walking, unbeknownst to them, Jesus approaches. The scripture tells us that they did not recognize Him. Like the prince who disguised Himself as a Pauper, Jesus appears to them as an ordinary man who is unknown to them and asks them about all that has taken place in Jerusalem. How common this is, for Jesus to be with us and yet we remain oblivious to His presence.

The scripture gives us insight into their emotional state. Verse 17 tells us that they stood still, looking sad. As Jesus approached they stopped right where they were; their countenance is downcast and clearly the look of disappointment is on their faces; they are sad. So Jesus asks them about what has taken place, and their response to Jesus is priceless. They say, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” Of course Jesus knows what had happened; He was the key figure of the entire series of events. But Jesus asks what things. He wants them to tell their story. And that is exactly what they proceed to do. They tell Him of all that had happened.

Before we consider how to implement the truths of this passage into our own experience, it is instructive for us to note several things about their understanding of who Jesus is.

First of all they said that Jesus was a prophet, mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people.

There was no doubt in their mind that He had been special: that He had come from God. The miracles He had preformed, the words He had spoken had set Him so far above anyone else they had ever seen or heard that they ascribed to Him the highest office they could think of, that of prophet. But there was more…. They told Him how the chief priests and rulers had delivered Him up to the sentence of death, and how Jesus had been crucified.

Verse 21 gives us insight into the reason for their despondency. They had hoped that He was going to redeem Israel. That is, they had an expectation that Jesus was going to be a military leader who would lead them to victory over the Romans. That was their idea of redemption. It is interesting to note that humanity is always looking for relief from that which is immediate, physical and of temporal significance, while God is seeking to focus us upon that which is spiritual and eternal. They were looking for political freedom and Jesus came to give them spiritual freedom. They were looking for freedom from the payment of taxes and Jesus came to give them freedom from the penalty of sin.

Humanity is ever trying to interpret Jesus in light of its own desires instead of in light of God’s plan.

But there was more to their story. They went on to tell that there were some women among them who had amazed them. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning and had not found it and came back and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said that Jesus was alive. And acting upon what the women had told them they themselves went to the tomb and found it as the women had said, but they did not believe because they did not see Him.

And then Jesus steps in. He begins by mildly rebuking them for their dullness and lack of spiritual perception. He rebukes them for not believing all that the prophets had spoken concerning the Christ.

And then beginning with Moses and from all the prophets He explained to them concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Note that all of scripture, from Genesis to Revelation bears witness to Jesus, the Messiah.

Then as they approached the village, their destination, Jesus acted as if He were going to go farther. Now, some have accused Jesus of being deceptive, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In the custom of that ancient day, as is the custom in many countries around the world today, the polite response to being invited to stay is to automatically refuse. Only after you have refused, if you are invited again, is it polite to accept. Jesus was merely being polite according to their societal customs.

Then He enters their house, assumes the role of host, breaks the bread and gives thanks for it and as He is serving it to them, as they are having fellowship with Him, they recognize Him and immediately He vanishes.

After Jesus has left them they begin to express to one another the depth of emotions and feelings they felt during His visit with them. And they arose that very hour, no doubt it was already dark, and they went to Jerusalem where they found the other disciples. When they meet them the disciples testify to what they have just experienced, that Jesus is really risen, in fact, they say, He has appeared to Simon (Peter). Then they shared their story about meeting Jesus with the other disciples.

The journey to Emmaus is both a literal and a spiritual journey. On one hand it recounts for us the story of two disciples who, after the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord, are literally walking the six stadia or roughly seven miles from Jerusalem back to their village of Emmaus. On the other hand it outlines for us the journey that we all take from not recognizing Jesus, to understanding what the scripture says about Him, to recognizing Him for who He is and finally to our giving witness of what we have experienced.

Notice with me, as we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection this morning, four observations from this passage.

I. Knowing About Jesus Is Not The Same As Knowing Jesus

It is fascinating to realize that although the disciples knew who Jesus was, they did not recognize Him. They knew a lot about Him. They had been witnesses to all those things which had happened in Jerusalem, they had heard, no doubt, on many occasions, the things Jesus had testified about Himself, and yet they were not able to recognize Jesus when they met Him.

There were several reasons they did not recognize Jesus.

A. First of all they did not recognize Jesus because God did not want them to recognize Him.

The original language conveys the sense that they were kept from recognizing Him because God had a purpose in blinding their eyes from reality.

As one scholar notes, “Jesus is not being cruel here, but His gradual revelation of Himself allows them to learn certain lessons about trusting God’s promises. The disciples had been told about these events many times,” but they had not believed.

B. Secondly, they did not recognize Jesus because the weekend’s events had not happened as they thought they should.

They had a preconceived idea of who Jesus was, what He had come to do and how He should do it. But when things did not turn out like they thought they should, they dismissed the whole thing as a mere failure, as misplaced hope and trust.

It is important for us to realize that while God always has a plan, we are not always privy to that plan. When things don’t turn out like we expect, instead of giving up and admitting defeat, perhaps we would be wise to try and see things differently, to see if maybe God was up to something we simply do not understand.

C. Third, they did not recognize Jesus because they had very little faith.

They had heard the reports of the women who went to the tomb. They had seen the empty tomb for themselves and yet they had not believed. The supernatural working of God to raise Jesus from the dead was outside of their paradigm. They had never seriously realized who Jesus was.

We need to be careful not to make the same mistake, to discount what God has done, simply because we cannot explain it or understand it. While God often uses natural things to accomplish His will, He is also given to using the supernatural, to doing things which we can neither explain nor understand.

These two disciples were confused, they were perplexed and bewildered. They knew something had happened, but it was beyond their level of faith or experience to see things as they truly were.

Just because they knew about Jesus does not mean they knew Him. Many people today know who Jesus is. They have heard about Him, read about Him, use His name, and many even claim to know Him, but they do not. They would not recognized Him if they saw Him. Knowing about Him and knowing Him are two different things.

Secondly notice that the….

II. The Scripture Gives Witness To Truth About Jesus

Verse 27 tells us that beginning with Moses and from all the prophets Jesus explained to them the things concerning Himself.

While we do not know the specific passages Jesus used, we know He opened to them the scripture with a view toward showing them how all of the Old Testament, pointed to Him as the fulfillment of scripture.

Perhaps Jesus began with Genesis 3:15 where God cursed the serpent saying, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed: He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.”

From there maybe He pointed them to Deuteronomy 18:15 which says, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him.”

And from there to Isaiah 7:14 where God says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call His name Immanuel.”

From there Jesus could have taken them to Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

I don’t know, but Jesus could have shown them what Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth: Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before His shearers, so He did not open His mouth.”

And on and on and on, through the Old Testament! Maybe Jesus quoted to them Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of Grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as on mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first born.”

We know that Jesus walked them through the entirety of the Old Testament revelation and pointed out to them how it gave witness to who He was, why He had come and why it was necessary.

The point is that Jesus wanted them to see that if they would only believe what the scripture says about Him, they would understand why He came and why He had to suffer and they would have known who He was.

The scripture gives testimony of who Jesus is.

In Luke 16:31 Jesus had said, “IF they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.”

In John 1:45 The scripture says, “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Las and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

In John 5:46 Jesus tells the Jews, “for if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.”

Many people will try and tell you who Jesus is. They will tell you He is one of many ways to get to Heaven. They will tell you He was a good man, a great prophet, a good teacher or a rebel who defied the Roman authorities. But outside the knowledge of scripture you will never have a proper understanding of who Jesus is.

There are those who will tell you that we must interpret the scripture through Jesus, but Jesus says that it is scripture itself that tells us who He is. That is one of the reasons it is so important to believe that all scripture is God’s word, not just parts of it. If it is untrustworthy at any point it can be untrustworthy and every point. Thus it is either all God’s Word or it is not His Word at all.

The message of Jesus is this: if you want to know who I am, read the scripture they testify to the truth about Me. They are revelatory, they are relevant and they are reliable.

And when you know the scriptures, they will build your faith because only through faith can you come to Jesus. The truth of scripture about Jesus leads to personal faith in Jesus.

God prevented these two disciples from recognizing Jesus because through their journey and with this story Jesus wants to convey to us a deep truth: that even if we were to see, we might still not believe, that we must trust the testimony of scripture as to who Jesus is, why He came and what He did. That only through faith can we come to God.

Jesus tells us that we must have the scriptural truth to understand who He is. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Outside of the word of God there is no reliable witness to who Jesus really is.

The scripture tells us the truth about Jesus.

But look in verse 30…

III. The More Fellowship You Have With Him, The More He Will Reveal Himself To You

It was only as they had fellowship with Jesus that He disclosed Himself to them.

Listen if you want to know Jesus, if you want Him to reveal Himself to you, you have to spend time in the word and time in fellowship with Him.

It is interesting that after the resurrection, many of the appearances of Jesus are associated with table fellowship.

This is true here, in Luke 24:41-43, in Acts1:4 and in John 21:9-15.

The point is that it is in the intimacy of fellowship that Jesus reveals Himself to us. His working in our lives becomes clearer, His love for us and provision and protection come into focus, He reveals not only more of His character and His working but also He revels to us more of His presence and His desire to be with us.

It is not without significance that it is around the supper table that the eyes of these disciples are opened and they are able to see Jesus for who He really is.

The more fellowship you have with Him the more He will reveal Himself to you..

Notice that they invited Jesus to have fellowship with them. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.”

Jesus wants to have fellowship, the question is will we open the door and invite Him in?

But when they recognized Him He disappeared, so as to tell them that fellowship with Him was not going to be dependent upon their ability to see Him, but rather upon their taking Him at His word.

And notice finally their response. Once they recognized Him, they could not help but share Him.

IV. When We Know Him We Cannot Help But Share Him

Can you imagine the excitement they must have felt? They said to one another, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the scriptures to us?”

They not only had experienced a greater understanding of scripture, their encounter with Jesus had been emotional. It had stirred them on the inside. It had moved their very hearts. And once moved they could not help but share it.

That very hour, dark as it was, late as it was, dangerous as the road may be they left the comfort of their home and made their way back to Jerusalem in order to give witness that Jesus was risen, that He had walked with them, and talked with them, and explained the scripture to them and that He had broken bread at their table.

They were overcome with Joy, they were overwhelmed with the realization that the women had been right, Jesus had risen from the dead, He’s alive, He is risen as He said, and He has revealed Himself to us.

All who have experienced the risen Savior should be moved with similar emotions. All who have come to know Him, to whom He has revealed Himself should react the same way. We should not be able to contain it, it is a message that must escape our hearts.


Would you know Jesus if you saw Him? With all the evidence that exists, the message of scripture, the testimony of the eyewitnesses, the movement of His Spirit, His acts in history and in His church, the witness of His people, what will it take for you to believe that Jesus is who He said He is, and that He died and rose again?

Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Do you know Jesus this morning? Does He walk and talk with you, and tell you that you are His own? Can you testify to His presence in your life? Are you in fellowship with Him? Has your experience with Him been so real, so moving, so life changing that it has caused you to tell others about Him?