Luke 24:30-32 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
This incident of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus encountering Jesus is one of the more wonderful ones in the Bible. They were downcast – even though they were aware that some of the women had been to the tomb and had a vision of angels telling them that Jesus was alive. They didn’t understand what had happened or why.
They had such hope in Jesus and it was snatched away from them in such an incredibly vicious way. Then as they were walking, something unusual happened to them. Jesus himself came along and walked with them, but they were kept from recognizing him. The scriptures are clear that understanding of the unfolding events of Jesus’ suffering and death were hidden from the disciples whenever Jesus spoke about it prior to his death. It was only afterward that Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures.
So Jesus joined them as they walked along, and said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Then, since it was nearly evening, they stopped for the night and strongly urged this man walking with them to stop and stay with them. It’s apparent that they were deeply moved by what he had said to them, even though they didn’t know who he was. Because they insisted that he stay with them, they experienced the wonder of God in having their eyes opened to see this man was Jesus – raised from the dead.
Isn’t it fascinating that God would have Jesus appear to these two men but prevent them from recognizing him? It was important for them to listen to the message of this stranger and understand the “why” of what happened to Jesus. The events that happened to him were foretold in Scripture and they needed to understand it – rather than simply see Jesus and get excited. When God opened their eyes to recognize Jesus, they understood! The life, death and resurrection of Jesus were fulfillment of God’s purpose.