Third Man on the Road
(G. Campbell Morgan reflects on that wonderful story on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24)
Are You the only man in Jerusalem ignorant of what has been going on?
"He said unto them, What things?"
Just imagine Him asking than, "What things?" He was drawing them out. He wanted them to talk, and they did;
"And they said unto Him, The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene Who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.”
They still believed in Him. They still loved Him. That was the language of perfect faith. They had seen Him die. In certain ways they knew He was defeated. Even though He were defeated, they were still saying that He was mighty in deed and word before God. But they had not done; there Was more to say;
"And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him up to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we hoped that it was He Who should redeem Israel.”
Thus we see their attitude, and in it a wonderful revelation of what the Cross had done for the disciples of Jesus. It had not destroyed their love for Him, nor their belief in Him, and His intention, but it had slain their hope. In the Cross they saw failure. "We hoped," past tense!
Yes, but they had not quite done;
"Yea, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things came to pass. Moreover certain women of our company amazed us, having been early at the tomb; and when they found not His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive. And certain of them that were with us went to the tomb, and found it even as the women had said; but Him they saw not.“
That is where the whole Christian movement would have ended, had there been no resurrection. The final proof of the resurrection is in the Christian Church.
Now Jesus began to talk to them;
"And He said unto them, O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!”
Mark well His method. He took them back to their own writings, their sacred literature, to the things most familiar to them,
"Behooved it not the Christ to suffer these sings, and to enter into His glory?”
His first word for these men was a rebuke, as the first word of the angels to the women was a rebuke, a little sterner than the angels,
"O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
I never read this without having the feeling that I would have given anything to travel that toad, and heat what He had to say. One could almost imaginatively follow some of the things as one thinks of the Old Testament. They listened to this Stranger as He took their own sacred writings, and interpreted to them their deepest meaning. They listened to Him as He revealed to them the profoundest depths in the suggestive ritual of the Mosaic economy, as He breathed in their ears the secret of the love which lay at the heart of the ancient law. They listened to Him as He traced the Messianic note in the music of all the prophets; showing that He was David's King, "fairer than the children of men," and in the days of Solomon's well-doing, He was "the altogether lovely " One. He was Isaiah's Child-King with a shoulder strong enough to bear the government ; and the name Emanuel. gathering within itself all the excellencies.
He was Jeremiah's "Branch of Righteousness, executing justice and righteousness in the land." He was Ezekiel's "Plant of renown," giving shade and giving fragrance. He was Daniel's stone cut without hands, smiting the image, becoming a mountain, and filling the whole earth. He was the ideal Israel of Hosea, "growing as the lily," "casting out His roots as Lebanon." To Joel, the Hope of the people, and the Strength of the children of Israel; and the Usherer in of the vision of Amos, of the " Plowman overtaking the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed;" and of Obadiah the " Deliverance upon Mount Zion and holiness;" the Fulfilment of that of which Jonah was but a sign. He was the "turning again" to God, of which Micah spoke. He was the One Nahum saw upon the mountains publishing peace. He was the Anointed of Whom Habakkuk sang as "going forth for salvation.” He was the One Who brought to the people the pure language of Zephaniah's message, the true Zerubbabel of Haggai's word, for ever rebuilding the house of God; Himself the dawn of the day when " Holiness-shall he upon the bells of the horses," as Zechariah foretold; and He the "Refiner," sitting over the fire, " the Sun of Righteousness" of Malachi's dream.
"In all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
And then they arrived.
"And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they were going; and He made as though He would go further. And they constrained Him, saying,
“Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. And He went in to abide with them. And it came to pass, when He had sat down with them to meat, He took the bread and blessed; and breaking it He gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Was not our heart burning within us, while He spake to us In the way, while He opened to us the Scriptures?”