From Broken Hearts to Believing Hearts

Bruce Creswell, Speaker

Luke 24:1-35 | April 7 - Sunday Evening,

Sunday Evening,
April 7
From Broken Hearts to Believing Hearts | Luke 24:1-35
Bruce Creswell, Speaker

O Lord, we thank You for this hymn we’ve just sung, and we do ask that You would be near us. Lord, we thank You that where two or three are gathered in Your name You are in the midst of them. Lord, we think of that verse in the song “Spirit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me.” Lord, meet with us tonight, and I so pray that You would preach a better sermon than my lips can speak this evening. May You be lifted up in our midst. We pray in Your name. Amen.

We are continuing in our series this evening of the upper room. Last Sunday we celebrated Resurrection Sunday and now today we begin to look at the post resurrection appearances of our Lord Jesus Christ, recorded on Easter Sunday, as found in the Gospel of Saint Luke.

With that, would you turn with me in your Bibles to Luke 24, verses 1 through 35.

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but then when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered His words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”

“That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. 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. 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?” 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, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered Him up to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 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. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 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. 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.” And He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if He were going farther, 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. When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And He vanished from their sight. 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?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

Two points to the message tonight. Believing hearts, found in verses 13 through 24, and we find believing hearts in verses 25 through 35.

Two disciples with broken hearts. We know one’s name is Cleopas. They were on a walk to Emmaus about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were walking away from Jerusalem, the place where their Master was crucified. They were walking away from what was to them a major catastrophe. They walked away from the communion of the Apostles and they walked away from the womenfolks because in their broke hearts everything had collapsed.

Now in their testimony we’re told they know about Jesus the prophet, mighty in deed, in word, before God and all the prophets. They saw His cross prepared by the chief priests and the rulers. But they do not believe that this very death on the cross is the greatest deed and the greatest sermon of this prophet. They know that Israel was to be redeemed and that Jesus was to do this. But they do not believe that this was accomplished by His death.

They heard about the empty tomb and they heard the report of the resurrection, but they cannot comprehend that Jesus has risen indeed. Their knowledge of Jesus is like a jigsaw puzzle that is missing some pieces to complete the whole picture. They do not see the unity of the cross and of the resurrection.

As these two disciples are walking and thoroughly involved in their thoughts and discussion, as they are walking, Jesus Himself draws near and joins them. We read that in verse 15, “while they were talking and discussing together, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.” That’s what He does with His children. He always walks with them, even when they don’t recognize Him, but He is by their side.

As they are walking, here comes to them a stranger. They walk with the risen Lord but they only see a stranger. Him who knows all, they regard Him as ignorant. Him who loves them dearly, they see Him as indifferent. He who is very close to them seems far away to them. He who has found them on this road seems lost to them. They see this stranger walk with them and talk with them but they do not recognize Him as the risen Lord. They don’t have a clue that Jesus Himself is walking right next to them.

They were kept from recognizing Him because God had a purpose in blinding their eyes from reality. In verse 16 it says, “but their eyes were kept from recognizing Him.” Just as He walks along with His saints, He listens to them. He patiently listens to them. He asks them a question, first in verse 17, “What is this conversation that you’re holding with each other as you walk?” And as they’ve been walking and talking, they immediately stop and they flash the appearance of genuine sadness.

Have you ever been sad? Have you ever gotten the news that a family member has died? Or there was a disappointment in one of your children? You realize that a circumstance has arised and you can’t control it?

These men were sad. And He asked them that question, and then He further asked them another question. He says in verse 19, He says, “What things?” So they unfolded to the stranger their fears and their doubts. That’s what the Lord Jesus does to us. He asks us to draw out of us what’s in our hearts. He already knows. He knows our thoughts even before we speak them. But He wants us to tell Him.

So as they unfolded on Him, He uploads on them as their conversation turns towards a time of correction. So what we find here in these first few verses are hearts that are broken, broken hearts.

In verse 25, in His goodness, He’s always good, He’s always good all the time, in His goodness He reproves these two disciples. In verse 25 He says, “Oh, foolish ones and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” In His goodness He reproves these two not for failing to recognize Him, or for not trusting in His resurrection, He rebukes them for not believing the Scripture, the Old Testament.

In contrast to these disciples, He does not begin like the disciples did with what they had experienced and what they had known about in Scripture. We read here in verse 27, “and beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

We just had our first Coram Deo Conference about three weeks ago. The preaching and the teaching of the Word of God by strong, Bible expositors fed our souls.

Well, here we see the very first Coram Deo Conference in the Bible, after the resurrection. Notice here. “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Look at that verse and notice what we find here. We find here the best teacher, the Lord Himself, the Son of God, who is truth. Here we see the best teacher using the best textbook. What is that? The book of Moses and the prophets. The best teacher with the best textbook to bring the best lesion.

Here we see two disciples instructed in the Word by God, the Son of God, and in the very face of God. Well, they got basic Coram Deo instruction, didn’t they?

So the Lord Jesus before He goes into verse 27 makes it known to them that it was necessary that Jesus should suffer first before He enters into His glory.

Luke doesn’t mention any specific Old Testament passages that Jesus interpreted. The big concern in this verse is all the Scriptures, all the Scriptures speak of Him and should be all believed. All that the prophets have spoken should been believed. The Lord brings out to them that Christ’s suffering and glory go together. The cross and the resurrection. Christ cannot be Lord without suffering, He cannot suffer without entering into His glory. Because He was crucified, He must also rise.

Take note here in verse 27, by Luke not mentioning the passages which Jesus interpreted, Luke opens the Old Testament as a whole. It’s like the Lord pulled back the veil of the Old Testament and reveals all of its splendor. It confesses that Jesus Christ must be crucified and be exalted by God. From Genesis to Malachi, it confesses that Jesus Christ is the Savior.

I like what Warren Wiersbe wrote. He said that the key to understanding the Bible is to see Jesus Christ on every page.

So on the way to Emmaus He unfolds to them the Old Testament, Genesis/the seed of the woman, Exodus/the Passover Lamb, Leviticus/the atoning sacrifice, Numbers/the bronze serpent, Deuteronomy/the promised Prophet, Joshua/the unseen captain, Judges/our Deliverer, Ruth/our kinsman Redeemer, 1 Samuel/the great Judge, 2 Samuel/the seed of David, 1 Kings/the Lord God of Israel, 2 Kings/the God of the cherubims, 1 Chronicles/the God of our salvation, 2 Chronicles/the God of our fathers, the __, the covenant-keeping God, Ezra/the Lord of heaven and earth, Esther/our advocate, Job/our redeemer, Psalms/the Good Shepherd, Proverbs/the wisdom of God, Ecclesiastes/the One above the sun, the Song of Solomon/the altogether lovely One, Isaiah/the virgin born Emmanuel, Jeremiah/the branch of righteousness, Lamentations/the compassionate One, Ezekiel/the Lord that is there, Daniel/the stone cut without hands, Hosea/the Lion of the house of Judah, Joel/the stronghold of the sons of Israel, Obadiah/the deliverer on Mount Zion, Amos/the plumb line, Micah/Bethlehem born, Nahum/the bringer of good tidings, Habakkuk/the rock that goes forth, Zephaniah/the victorious warrior, Haggai/the desire of nations, Zechariah/the branch, and finally Malachi, the Son of righteousness.

All on the road to Emmaus He reveals to them what the law and the prophets declare. And even after instructing them, the disciples do not recognize Him. However, there is a gradual revelation of Himself occurring in their minds and in their hearts, as hinted in verse 28 and 29.

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if He were going farther, 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.”

They strongly urged Him to come into their house and to stay with them. You begin to sense a change in the attitude, as they started out being sad and as they listen to the Son of God declaring who He is, it begins to register something in their hearts that they want to know more, more, more about Jesus.

And as they near Emmaus, they ask Him to come and be their guest. Even though they still don’t know who He is, there is an increasing yearning to hear more from Him.

Doesn’t that remind you, and me, of the familiar words of our Lord in Revelation chapter 3 in verse 20 where Jesus responds to an invitation to come in when we open the door, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with Me.”

So He went into their house and there things begin to gel and come together.

I like what Matthew Henry said. He said those that have experienced the pleasure of communion with Christ cannot but covet more of His company and beg of Him not only to walk with Him all day, but to abide with them at night.

The disciples were so impressed with the teaching of their companion that He comes to them as their guest. But as is the custom, the guest is oftentimes asked to give the blessing. So in verse 31 we read, verse 30, “When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.”

As Jesus takes the bread, He blesses it, gives that to them. He proves Himself to be the very same One now as He was then. He proves Himself to be the One who had taught them before and now again. He is again proving Himself, who loved them then and loves them now, at their house.

So as He blesses the bread and he breaks it and gives it to them, could they not but perhaps see the nail prints in His hands? And notice what we read next: “Their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.” Their eyes were opened.

We’ve all experienced that, haven’t we? In our quiet time when we open up our Bibles and we read and then unfolded before us is a glimpse of the greatness and the holiness of our Savior. It causes us to rejoice. He opened our eyes to behold wondrous truths. That’s what the psalmist prayed, did he not, in Psalm 119 verse 18, “Open thou my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Word.”

Well, that took place in the home of these two disciples. Their eyes were opened. With the eyes of the disciples opened to recognize Jesus, they realized that He has removed a veil of Scripture, has opened the Scriptures to them.

It’s interesting here, if you’ll notice, that in verse 31 Luke uses the same word for opening of their eyes to see Jesus and the opening of Scripture by Him. Both are the one and the same as they recognize the risen Lord who then vanished out of their sights they recognize the glory of the Old Testament. They saw all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. They saw the unity of the glory of Christ as well as His sufferings.

You know what they got? They got a good case of Holy Ghost heartburn, “Did not our hearts burn within us?” That’s the good kind of heartburn you want. Did not our hearts burn within us? As He unfolded, as He opened to us, the Scriptures.

We go from broke hearts to believing hearts.

Now what do they follow with? We read in verse 33, “And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

What did they do while in Emmaus? Their eyes were opened and they returned to Jerusalem, but they returned in a different way than they left Jerusalem. They are returning to the disciples and to the women with joy because their once broken hearts had become believing hearts and they now understand the Scriptures. They were convinced Jesus Christ is indeed the risen Savior. They just had to tell everyone.

Isn’t that the case when the Word of God finds lodging in our hearts and we come upon a truth that really deals with us in our walk of faith? We want to not only live it out but we want to share it.

But they also remind us this evening, to you and me, that the Resurrection is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Jesus took great pains to show them that His redemptive plan of God was throughout the whole Old Testament, beginning with Genesis to Malachi, that He was the promised One of God, who died to pay for our sins and rose again so that you and I might have a full and eternal relationship with us.

It also reminds you and me tonight that God wants us to know Him. That’s why He has revealed Himself in the Bible. If we want to know Him, we need to know the Bible. We must expose ourselves to the Word of God. That is, we must read it daily, systematically, and carefully. We must be readily to listen. And if we’re willing to hear God, God will speak to us.

Now you know that and I know that. But we all need to be reminded of that. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord, abide in Him always and feast on His Word.

Well, that means we must apply what we hear. I think of the Christian life as like math. Now the only reason I know about math is not because it was my favorite subject, but I’ve been married to a woman for 45 years who’s taught math, so I have heard it in our home with our children and on the telephone with our grandchildren, and she comes back and tells me what she’s taught in the classroom, and now she’s moved up to be a tutor and she tells me about teaching her students.

But the Christian life is like math. You can’t learn to add until you understand the concept of numbers. You can’t learn to subtract until you learn addition. And you can’t multiply, divide, do fractions, algebra, I guess they still call it geometry and trigonometry, until you have understood the preceding steps.

My good wife says that math skills grow as our proficiency increases. It’s the same in the Christian life. We will mature in faith and in our knowledge of God only as we apply what we have learned.

Listen to the prayer of Sir Thomas Cranmer: Blessed Lord, who has caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear them read, mark them, learn them, and inwardly digest them that by patience and comfort of Thy Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life which Thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Every time we read the Bible, we should be reading it with the question, “What behavior must I change or what new insight here that I must learn? Or what new discipline must I work on?”

The songwriter says, “Spirit of God, my Teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me.”

James reminds us that we’re to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. So with what we have learned and hidden in our hearts and has pointed us to Christ, we’re to live out but we are also to share, just like the two disciples when they returned to Jerusalem and met with those in the upper room. We’re reminded that the Gospel is just too good to keep to ourselves.

Join me in prayer. Heavenly Father, thank You for Christ Jesus, whom You have made author and finisher of our faith. Thank You for His finished work. O God, open our eyes so that we can see clearly. May we experience the heartburn that testifies to the work of the Holy Spirit within us. May Thy rich grace impart strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire, as Thou has died for me, may my love to Thee pure, warm, and changeless be a living fire. Amen.