WALKING WITH THE LORD
Dr. Chuck DeVane, Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
July 14, 2019
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
— Luke 24:13-35, ESV
Some walks are easy, like walking into almost any restaurant, or walking into your home at the end of a long day, or walking into your church on Sunday to worship with people you love. Some walks are hard, like walking into a workplace you don’t like, or a hospital room you don’t want, or even to the cemetery to say goodbye. At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t matter where you’re walking as much as who is walking with you. Whether your walk is easy or hard, make sure you are walking with the Lord.
Walk with Jesus through the Bad Times
We don’t know much about Cleopas and his friend. They were walking together to “a village named Emmaus,” they were Jewish, and they were returning from the most raucous Passover they had ever attended. At some time during the past three years they had cast their lot with the carpenter from Nazareth and “hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
But you know what happened, and how the hopes of the earliest followers of Jesus had been dashed by the religious rulers and the Roman government. Sure, there was some rumor being spread by women that the tomb was empty and Jesus was alive, but men didn’t much listen to women in those days, and they had yet to hear the confirmation in Jerusalem from Simon Peter and the eleven. This walk was a bad time for the two men, a terrible time of death, loss, and separation from the man they most trusted in this life.
What do you do when you win, when times are good? You celebrate, you tell everyone, and sometimes you thank God. What do you do when you lose, when times are bad? You keep to yourself, you’re afraid to tell anyone, and you need God more than ever. Bad times are the most important times to walk with the Lord.
These two were like dead men walking, discouraged, desperate, maybe even determined to flee far from Jerusalem for fear the people who conspired to kill Christ would come after His followers next. They really needed to walk with Jesus at this moment, and lo and behold Jesus showed up! He still does, whether you see Him or not.
Walk with Jesus through the Bible
Jesus met these men on the road, thought they did not know it was Jesus at first. He knew they were downtrodden and let them tell their side of the story. The Lord knew they needed Him, they needed encouragement, they needed something spectacular to turn their mourning into gladness and their sorrow into joy.
So He dazzled them with a miracle, right? So He brought out a praise team from Hillsong to make the mood more upbeat, right? So He promised them if they would plant a monetary seed with Him a tree of prosperity would grow in their own back yard, right? No. Jesus walked with them, into the Bible.
I would give anything to have sat in on this particular Bible study. Jesus guided His two walking buddies through a myriad of Old Testament texts that map out a Messianic trip. “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Jesus probably began at the beginning, Genesis, and stopped at the first proclamation of the gospel in the garden after the fall. He traveled with them to Bethlehem with prophet Micah and showed them pictures of His birth, then more photos of His birth and death with the prophet Isaiah. He probably passed through the messianic Psalms before going back to the Law, which declares without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. The hermeneutical feast the Lord provided for His followers gave them a holy heartburn, one that all believers should share when we read the Scriptures.
Those who walk with Jesus the most will know their Bibles the best. Those who know their Bibles the best will walk with Jesus the most, and be better enabled to enjoin others on the walk. You cannot walk with the Lord, especially in this age, without a firm grip on the inspired and infallible word of God, the Bible.
Yet as important as the Bible is, it will ultimately not make sense to your brain if you do not understand its heart. The heart of the Bible is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Walk with Jesus through the Gospel
These guys were devout Jews, observant of the Passover, accepting of the authority of Scripture, and almost certainly fledging followers of Jesus. However, they had a somewhat flawed view of the person and work of the Messiah. They first thought, like many Jews of their day, that when Messiah came he would lead a political and military coup that would liberate Israel from the Roman Empire and set up come kind of socialist nirvana on earth.
Some Jews are still looking for this kind of Messiah. Some so-called Christians are looking for a Messiah that will make them healthy and wealthy beyond measure. Most people in the world are seeking some kind of political or economic savior to satisfy their worldly needs and desires. But what kind of Messiah is Jesus?
They way Jesus explained it to the two men on the road to Emmaus, He is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world because He was willing to “suffer” before gaining His “glory.” Suffering is really a euphemism for the work of Christ, who endured hardship beyond measure, pain beyond endurance, and a death that defied the realm of reason and justice. Jesus suffered indeed, died, was buried, and rose again the third day. This is the gospel.
The gospel is God’s plan, decreed before creation. The gospel is God’s work, the only thing that can atone for sin, purchase forgiveness, unite one with God, and guarantee eternal life. The gospel is God’s love, embodied in the person and work of His Son and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Walking with Jesus is the only way to make sense of suffering, understand Scripture, and secure His work on the cross for your sins. Does Jesus have your hand? Do you have His? Are you walking with the Lord in repentance, faith, and true salvation? Being hand in hand and walking heart to heart with Jesus offers a life of abundant and eternal opportunties.
Walk with Jesus through Life
As a result of walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, these men were encouraged, to say the least. These men gained a deeper appreciation of Holy Scripture, that good holy heartburn if you will, as they testified, “Did not our hearts burn within us … while he opened to us the Scriptures.” These men finally understood and fully accepted the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, suffering, death, and resurrection. Because they did, they never wanted to stop walking with the Lord. “Stay with us,” they prayed.
Let that be your prayer and mine. Let us be confident that then God saves us by grace through faith in Christ, He will never, never leave us. He takes the initiative and comes to us on our own Emmaus road. He gives us the discipline and encouragement to persevere in walking with Him through every stage and phase of life. Our prayer is the same as the original two on the road, “Stay with us,” we pray.
So let us stay in our walk with the Lord, every Lord’s Day. Walk with the Lord with worship regulated by the preaching of the gospel and the observance of the sacraments, which go hand in hand. Notice that is was the teaching of Jesus combined with “the breaking of bread” that enabled the two men to really recognized Jesus. We walk with Him in his way every Lord’s Day in this church.
And let us stay in our walk with the Lord every day of our lives. Sabbath worship and rest equips us and sustains us for the weekly walk ahead. On the road there will be good times and bad, quiet times in the Scriptures and times to tell the gospel out loud. There will be others watching our walk and family and friends who want to walk with us, so let us walk with the Lord every day of our lives.
Finally, let us stay in our walk with the Lord and walk like the Lord walked. He walked for the glory of God. He walked in sacrifice for the souls of men, women, boys, and girls. He walked in perfect obedience to the word of God. And He walked in love, reaching out His hands, offering His heart, inviting everyone to come and walk with Him. Walk with the Lord.
“When we walk with the Lord, In the light of His Word What a glory He sheds on our way! Let us do His good will; He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey” (John Sammis)
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Dr. Charles F. "Chuck" DeVane, Jr., is the Pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His weekly sermon article, "The Gospel Truth," has been published in newspapers in Arkansas and Georgia. Dr. DeVane is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served in the pastorate for over 20 years. Contact Pastor Chuck at PastorChuck@lakehamiltonbaptistchurch.org