Why Jesus concealed His Identity on the road to Emmaus (part 1)

Let me begin with the central principle I want to establish in this post:

The disciples on the road to Emmaus were kept from seeing Jesus in His risen glory until they had first seen Him in the Scriptures.

Ancient painting by Duccio, 1308 AD

Beloved, this is so important.  This is so foundational to everything God is doing just now in our lives and in the earth.  Let us look more carefully at the narrative from the Emmaus road:

“But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.” (Luke 24:16)

And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:25-27)

Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scripture to us?(Luke 24:31-32)

It seems almost beyond debate:  Jesus was more interested in these disciples properly understanding Scripture than in them immediately having mysterious and momentary encounters with His resurrected form. There are probably many reasons for this fact. Here are a few of them:

  • Jesus Himself had already demonstrated that His life and ministry were declared in advance by the Scriptures.  Over and over we read things like, “This He did to fulfill the Scripture…” (FYI, this is one of the primary themes of the Gospel of Matthew; that is, to prove how Jesus’ identity and ministry perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures.)
  • Jesus chided His followers on several occasions for not believing what the Scriptures declared.  He clearly expected that His followers would establish their faith through the authoritative and foundational truths revealed in the Scriptures.
  • Before giving the disciples a momentary encounter with His resurrected form, He chose to give them an extended encounter with the infallible teachings of the Scriptures about Himself.

Among other things, we must surely understand from all of this that Jesus was exalting and honoring the importance of the teachings of the Scripture in both His own life and ministry and in the ensuing life and ministry of the Church. Based upon this reality, let me conclude this post by making a very important statement:

The promises of God are as good as the presence of God – and sometimes even more timely.

I will explain this statement more fully in the next post!

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