April 14 – Luke 24:13-35


Main Focus:Through the Scriptures, Jesus helps us make sense of his suffering, and our own, in light of God’s plan of redemption.

Again, we’re spending a couple weeks of our Jesus & People series looking at Jesus’s interactions with folks after his resurrection—this week we’ll see his encounter with two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Throughout their conversation with him, Jesus used the Scriptures to help them make sense of the tragedy of his death, helping them perceive God’s plan through his suffering and resurrection. In discussion, we’ll see how Jesus’s Spirit can help us do the same today.

Here in Luke 24:13 we find Jesus on the very day of his resurrection. For a quick timeline, on Resurrection Sunday Jesus appeared that morning to Mary and the other women with her (John 20:11-18), then sometime in the day to these disciples on the road, then to his disciples in Jerusalem that evening (John 20:19-23; cf. Luke 24:36), then eight days later again to his disciples, including Thomas, which we looked at last week (John 20:24-29). That’s a lot of running around, but notice that Jesus was slowly revealing himself to his followers through messengers before appearing to them in person. It might seem weird and clandestine, but Jesus is still discipling them—being messengers is exactly what he’s about to ask of them (Luke 24:47-49).

Back to 24:13, we meet two of Jesus’s disciples walking to a village called Emmaus, perhaps their hometown. Only one of them, Cleopas, is named in the account, so this is either two men or perhaps a husband and a wife. They’re leaving Jerusalem sorrowful and disaffected since, as they describe to this supposed stranger, just three days prior they had seen their Rabbi brutally killed, dashing their hopes that he was indeed the Messiah (24:19-21). Unbeknownst to them, this Rabbi is about to continue their schooling.

Initially they don’t recognize Jesus, but this isn’t because his resurrected form looks nothing like him; later he’ll appear to the disciples and they seem to have no trouble identifying him. His identity was intentionally veiled, likely so he could teach them something before they realized what was going on. In their conversation Jesus appealed to the Old Testament scriptures, “Moses and all the Prophets,” to explain how they reveal him.

And this is fascinating, that rather than simply revealing himself visually, Jesus led a Bible study. Why? Well, in the background lies all the truths about God’s word, how it is itself God’s voice (2 Tim 3:16) and is powerful in creation and redemption (Gen 1; John 1). But Jesus is also making the point he’s made elsewhere (ex. John 5:39), that all of the Scriptures testify to him. God reveals himself through his Word, and he delights to do. That’s to say, Jesus gave them a Bible study because he was revealing himself, stirring up their hearts in faith so they could truly see him (24:32).

On this last point, Jesus is making abundantly clear to them, as he will with the disciples when he sees them next (Luke 24:44-47), that his death and resurrection were a part of God’s plan all along. He uses the Scriptures to help them make sense of his suffering and death so they can see even these things are integrated into God’s cosmic plan of redemption.

That last sentence will be the focus of our discussion this week, how Jesus uses the Scriptures to help us see and perceive God’s plan in the world even in the midst of suffering. We’ll talk about the experience of the disciples (“what do you think this was like for them?”), how Jesus opened up his word to help them make sense of this tragedy (“how did Jesus help them make sense…?”), and how Jesus can do the same thing in our lives. This isn’t to center the story on ourselves but to see how God still uses his word just like he did on the road to Emmaus, to help us see how our experiences, no matter how great or terrible, fit into his big plan for redemption.

We’ll conclude by discussing an area of our life where we’re hoping Jesus will show up and reveal himself and his purposes for us. This helps us apply what we’re learning here—we go to the Scriptures to learn who God is, what his plan for humanity is, and how we fit into that plan. Thus we make sense of our lives, the good and the bad, through God’s revelation as we’ve received it through Jesus. That conclusion is of unlimited practical use as we live with the daily challenges and vagueness of earthly life. As you’ll see after the last question below, this final point is great fodder for prayer, and one in which we can take each other’s concerns before the Father as we all await Jesus’s revelation in our lives.

Discussion questions

– Could someone read Luke 24:13–35 for us?

– What stood out to you from the passage?

– What do you think all of this was like for these two disciples?

– How did Jesus help them make sense of his death and their sadness?

– How do you think Jesus helps us make sense of our own lives this same way?

– What’s something in your life that you’re really hoping Jesus can make sense of? (Close by taking that to God in prayer.)