And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs.…
I. WE SEE IN THIS APPEARANCE, AS IN THE OTHERS, SOMETHING VERY CHARACTERISTIC OF OUR LORD'S HABITS AND WAYS DURING HIS LIFETIME, His disciples and followers were always craving for publicity and display. He was always retiring from too much of that, carrying on His work as quietly as possible. And so here. Jesus rises alone — at the break of day. No mortal sees Him put on immortality. Bright angels stand as sentinels while He arrays Himself. It is enough that His disciples see the empty tomb, the grave-clothes, and "the place where the Lord lay."
II. WE MAY SEE HOW EASILY STILL, IN THAT RISEN LIFE, HE ENTERS INTO COMMUNICATION WITH MEN; HOW LITTLE DIFFICULTY HE HAS IN JOINING ANY COMPANY, OR ANY TWO OR THREE WITH WHOM HE WISHES TO BE!
III. THIS APPEARANCE OF CHRIST IS LIKE A MESSAGE OF FRATERNITY AND DIVINE REGARD, ESPECIALLY TO PLAIN, SIMPLE, ORDINARY MEN — to what we may call common men, who wear no distinction and possess no advantage whatever over their fellows. For who were these two men? No one knows anything about them. In all probability there was not much to know, except that they were disciples, that they loved Him.
IV. WE HAVE AN INSTANCE HERE OF THE ATTRACTIVE POWER OF SORROW TO HIM. They walked, and talked, and were sad. And then He drew near and went With them.
V. THIS, HOWEVER, WE MUST OBSERVE, THAT IT IS NOT TO EVERY KIND OF TROUBLE AND SADNESS THAT HE GRANTS IMMEDIATE ASSUAGEMENT. Here you see He draws near at once to two sad men. But what are they saying? They are talking of Him "Why are they sorrowing? They are sorrowing about Him. So our sorrow, if it is to be sanctified and turned into joy, must have Christ in it.
VI. THERE IS A SORROW AND A DARKNESS EXPRESSLY SENT BY CHRIST, OR, AT ANY RATE, HELD BY HIM AROUND HIS PEOPLE. A sorrow kept, as it were, beyond the time when it might naturally be ended, kept for the accomplishment of some purposes of grace which could not be so well attained, perhaps not attained at all, if the darkness were melted away. To take the language of the passage, "Our eyes are holden that we should not know Him," even when He is with us. So, oftentimes, our eyes are holden that we should not know Him. Strange things happen to us, and we think not that His hand is upon them all. All the instruction we get in the darkness is from Him; but we do not know that it is from Him directly, and immediately, until the darkness is over.
VII. IT IS A BLESSED MOMENT IN LIFE WHEN WE KNOW HIM, COME WHEN, AND HOW, AND WHERE IT MAY — WHEN WE ARE SURE THAT HE IS NEAR! In those moments we are glad of the present, and we look to the future without a fear.
VIII. THEY ARE BRIEF, THEY ARE TRANSIENT AS THE GLOW OF THE MORNING — NOT SETTLED AS THE RADIANCE OF THE DAY. "They knew Him and" — what next? A long happy conversation, until the evening wore into the night, and the stars came out on high? A journey into Jerusalem again the next morning, with still more delightful discourse, to meet His surprised and rejoicing disciples there? Not so. "And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight!" Such is the end of all high communion times, of all vision-hours in this life. They are but brief. They can but be brief; there is more work to do, and more sorrow to drink, and more time to travel through; and Jesus in His glory retires, that these things may be done, and that He may come again when need shall be! He comes down to lift us up, to intensify our longings for heaven, to entice us home. And of course He does not stay. He is always coming, and always "vanishing" out of our sight, that we may the more long for and labour after the place, the glory, the life in which He would have us for ever be.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.