Have you got roadside assistance on the car or truck you drive in case you need help on the road? Do you have inside assistance on your heart, mind, body, and soul in case you need help on the road of life?
It's a common thing nowadays to have roadside assistance on your vehicle. Whether it's AAA or another company, they provide help when you have vehicle trouble on the road, or even in your driveway. It's a service well worth the price you pay.
There's a story in the New Testament about another kind of roadside assistance, one about a stranger who joined two men, one named Cleopas, on their way to Emmaus. The stranger offered more than ideal talk. He offered inside assistance, but only if they wanted it.
Five things stand out about this simple, but deeply meaningful story that begins as the two men, disciples of Jesus, talked about "everything that happened" as Jesus was condemned, crucified, and laid in the tomb, a tomb soon found to be empty.
First, "As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him." (Luke 24:15-16). How often does Jesus come alongside us, and we fail to recognize His presence? True, as the scripture suggests, He doesn't always reveal Himself to us, or make it easy to recognize His presence.
Second, Cleopas and his friend were walking with "their faces downcast" because Jesus, the one who they thought was the promised savior, died on the Cross. When we're traveling in our lives along life's road with all its troubles and sometimes depressing realities, we often fail to recognize or acknowledge Jesus' presence in our lives. We concentrate on what has us "downcast," just as Cleopas and his friend did.
Jesus wasn't pushy then, and He isn't today.
Third, after calling them foolish for not believing what Moses and the prophets said in the scriptures about Him, Jesus continued on as if He was going farther. Jesus wasn't pushy then, and He isn't today. It was only after the two urged Jesus to stay with them that He accepted the invitation to stay as evening approached.
Fourth, when Jesus dined with them and broke the bread as He did at the Last Supper, "their eyes were opened and they recognized Him."(Luke 24:31) Sometimes we wait until we see what Jesus can do in our lives before we believe, and fully accept the miraculous things He can do if we invite Him into every part of our life.
Fifth, the passage ends with Jesus disappearing from their sight, and they admit their hearts were "burning" within them as Jesus walked with them. What began as a case of roadside assistance along the road to Emmaus, finished as two travelers, followers of the crucified and resurrected Christ, experienced an internal transformation as Jesus "opened the scriptures" to them.
In conclusion, just as Cleopas and his friend had to continue with their lives amidst the political troubles and persecutions that were brewing around them, our lives go on amidst today's concerns, with a 24/7 inside assistance far beyond anything they could have imagined. The best part? Jesus Christ not only provides the assistance, He paid the price.
Listen to God's Words
Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation. (Isaiah 25:9)
That which was from the beginning,which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. (1 John 1:1)
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)
Also read: Matthew 18:20, John 20:29
What Others Say
"Many of us have at times, walked the Emmaus Road, wondering where God is...when all along He walks beside us." Randy Alcorn
"If we encounter Jesus on our road to Emmaus, He will send us back to our Jerusalem." Msgr. Alex Rebello
"The Road to Emmaus is this world." Franz Wright
Think About It
If you've accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, how often do you think about Him not only walking beside you, but also being inside your very being? Describe the feeling this reality gives you. Do you appreciate its magnitude?
When you've become downcast due to things going on around you, and things not turning out as you expected, have you turned to the Lord for guidance and strength, or have you turned to your own devices? How do you feel about your answer?
Describe what you experience when you're reading God's Word and passages are "opened" to you, as they were to Cleopas and his friend. Read the Emmaus story and imagine your "heart burning" as Jesus speaks to you through the Word.