Today we completed reading the Gospel of Luke and what a remarkable, heart stirring last chapter it contains. Luke proved throughout his book, what a thorough historian he was.
The women were the most dedicated followers of Jesus and they were the first to become aware of his resurrection. The account of the two who travelled to Emmaus accompanied by an unrecognised Jesus is stirring, as is their later reminiscence. “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (verse 32). This should cause us to search those scriptures, especially the Psalms and Isaiah. These books are proved beyond doubt to have existed before Christ with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls.
The two travelers must have returned rapidly to Jerusalem in the gathering gloom of the evening; being Passover time with a full moon, they may have had the blessing of ample moonlight. How they would have discussed the conversation, when they were largely listeners, during their journey to Emmaus!
Back in Jerusalem, as the disciples were talking (verse 36), no doubt animatedly, possibly about the appearance of the Lord to Peter, suddenly, “Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ But they were startled and frightened …” (verse 37). He asks, “… why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet”. He invites them to handle him to remove any doubts.
We imagine the scene, but what is far challenging to imagine is the fulfilment of what the angels said to the disciples forty days later as they watched him ascending out of their sight. Luke records this in Acts 1, “… why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (verse 11).
Are there any doubts in our hearts that Christ will return and this promise be fulfilled? No – but the nature of the occurrence is beyond our ability to visualize. However, our daily reading and meditation on God’s word is an invaluable help.