"Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32
It has been 5 months since my wife and I returned from a trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land. On second thought, I’m not sure that I’ve fully returned yet…yes, my body has, but there are times when my heart and mind are still there. We experienced many exciting sights, sounds, great food, and fellowship—it was indeed a wonderful trip. We experienced the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ who were on the trip; the fellowship of our hosts; and, above all the fellowship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We visited many places, walked where Jesus walked, and were amazed at the emotions we experienced during our time in Israel. Now, it’s important to this devotional to tell you we didn’t actually visit the village of Emmaus. Still, I can imagine what it must have been like for the pilgrims [disciples] as they walked along that ancient road and then as Jesus revealed Himself and the truth to them that day and during the evening meal.
Emmaus is a place which has been proposed to be located in various sites in present-day Israel; and, as we know, Emmaus has been important in Christian teachings. Emmaus is a village in the country, located about 7 miles or about 20 miles west of Jerusalem, depending on whose account or tradition you use. Many sites have been suggested as the location of the biblical Emmaus, but there is insufficient archaeological evidence to make a definitive case as to its exact location. But I say…no matter. We know it was a real place and we know that Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road that led to the village of Emmaus. How can we know? We can know because…The Bible tells us so. As Brothers in Christ, I also believe that, like the two pilgrims on that road to Emmaus, we can know because we have been afforded the wonderful opportunity to have our hearts and minds opened to the truth.
As pilgrims, each of us at some point in our life have found, or will find ourselves on the road to Emmaus. We each have heard stories of grace and mercy that are often beyond comprehension. We have heard personal witnesses from others who have claimed to have ‘seen’ the Savior or who have felt of His love and power. Some of us vividly recall times when we experienced His grace and mercy in our lives. One thing we can know for sure is that as we continue our journey moving forward in this life we can be certain that His grace and mercy will endure the test of time.
Consider this… Why do you think Jesus reveals Himself to us? Why has He revealed Himself to you? Why do you think that Jesus appeared to those two pilgrims? I suggest it was because they were so willing to serve that the Lord allowed their eyes to be opened and their hearts to be softened that the presence of the Lord would abide with them. I can imagine they were feeling vulnerable after their expectation that Jesus would be the new earthly “king” rising up to vanquish the Romans did not materialize as they and many others anticipated. In that moment I imagine their faith might have weakened and fear might have filled their hearts that day as they walked to Emmaus, but they had not forgotten the teachings of Jesus about serving others. In their attempt to follow the Lord, He blessed them beyond description. I can imagine they were never the same again after their Emmaus moment.
The question is: as we travel this road of mortal life, how will we respond? Will we believe those who have testified of the Savior and His gift of redemption, or will we lack the faith required to share the good news and to serve others as Jesus would want us to? Every day we are faced with the opportunity to serve other human beings that stand in need of our help. Every day we are given the chance to serve the Lord by giving to those who hunger and thirst. For “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least...