Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 King 1-3; Luke 24:1-35
28 When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead.29 But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”
33 They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” 35 Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread. (Luke 24:28-35, Common English Bible).
As I read this, I had one of those moments when something speaks to you. It is a thought I hadn’t had before. I know this story and I know John Wesley’s heart-warming experience on Aldersgate Street in London, May 24, 1738. I had never thought to wonder if the two might somehow be connected.
In the lesson, Cleopas and his companion (some say this was Peter but there is no real evidence to back up the idea) were traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus when they encounter Jesus. Being disciples of Jesus and knowing the events of the preceding three days, we should understand they were depressed. To add to it, there was also the stories that Jesus’ body was missing and talk of Resurrection. Obviously, these two didn’t understand. They didn’t know what to think.
As they make their walk to Emmaus, Jesus tells them how all the things that happened, had to happen. They fulfilled the Scriptures. When they arrived at their home in Emmaus, as was the custom in that time, Cleopus and his companion wanted Jesus to come in and eat, to stay over, as it was getting late. Jesus came in and they began to eat. Jesus took the bread and broke it. The Scriptures then say that the eyes of the two travelers were opened and they knew their guest was Jesus. Then Jesus disappeared. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”
As for Wesley, he was, according to his journal, reluctantly attending a meeting of Moravians whom Wesley felt a theological kinship. He was feeling depressed. His colleagues in the Church of England had rejected his enthusiastic Gospel message. It was disheartening.
Someone began reading Martin Luther’s introduction to the Epistle to the Romans. As Wesley listened, he said he felt his heart strangely warmed and, “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” Some have since called it Wesley’s evangelical conversion.
Hearts on fire. Heart strangely warmed. Could the Emmaus Road story have crossed Wesley’s mind? I am not qualified to answer that question. What I do know is, when we experience God’s justifying grace, our hearts should warm within us too as we enter into a convenant relationship with the One who gives us light and life.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved