02 – From Despair to Joy

02 – From Despair to Joy2017-07-09T06:30:07+00:00

Sabbath, July 8, 2017

“Had the disciples failed on this occasion to press their invitation, they would not have known that their traveling Companion was no other than the risen Lord. Christ never forces His company upon anyone. He interests Himself in those who He knows need Him. But if they pass along, indifferent and careless, never thinking of the heavenly Guest, or asking Him to abide with them, He passes on. Thus many meet with great loss. They do not know Christ any more than did the disciples as He walked and talked with them by the way.” – (Manuscript 113, 1897) Christ Triumphant, p. 296.

Walking and conversing

1. Toward the end of the resurrection day, where were two disciples on their way to? What was the topic of their conversation?

Luke 24:13, 14 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 

“Late in the afternoon of the day of the resurrection, two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus, a little town eight miles from Jerusalem. These disciples had had no prominent place in Christ’s work, but they were earnest believers in Him. They had come to the city to keep the Passover, and were greatly perplexed by the events that had recently taken place. They had heard the news of the morning in regard to the removal of Christ’s body from the tomb, and also the report of the women who had seen the angels and had met Jesus. They were now returning to their homes to meditate and pray. Sadly they pursued their evening walk, talking over the scenes of the trial and the crucifixion. Never before had they been so utterly disheartened. Hopeless and faithless, they were walking in the shadow of the cross.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 795.

An unknown traveling companion

2. Who approached them as they spoke? What did He ask them?

Luke 24:15-17 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

“… They were so absorbed in their gloom and disappointment that they did not observe him closely. They continued their conversation, expressing the thoughts of their hearts. They were reasoning in regard to the lessons that Christ had given, which they seemed unable to comprehend. As they talked of the events that had taken place, Jesus longed to comfort them. He had seen their grief; He understood the conflicting, perplexing ideas that brought to their minds the thought, Can this Man, who suffered Himself to be so humiliated, be the Christ? Their grief could not be restrained, and they wept. Jesus knew that their hearts were bound up with Him in love, and He longed to wipe away their tears, and fill them with joy and gladness. But He must first give them lessons they would never forget.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 795, 796.

Perplexity and uncertainty

3. How did Cleopas respond to Jesus’ questions? What was evidenced by his version of the events that had transpired?

Luke 24:18-21, first part And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel:…

“After the death of Christ the disciples were well-nigh overcome by discouragement. Their Master had been rejected, condemned, and crucified…. The sun of the disciples’ hope had set, and night settled down upon their hearts. Often they repeated the words, ‘We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.’ Luke 24:21. Lonely and sick at heart, they remembered His words, ‘If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?’ Luke 23:31.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 25.

“They did not realize that the last part of His disclosure would be just as verily fulfilled as the first part, that the third day He would rise again. This was the part they should have remembered. The priests and rulers did not forget this. On the day ‘that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.’ Matthew 27:62, 63. But the disciples did not remember these words.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 796.

4. Had the appearance of the angels and their message of the resurrection been convincing to these disciples?

Luke 24:21, last part-24 … And beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

“Many, especially those who are young in the Christian life, are at times troubled with the suggestions of skepticism. There are in the Bible many things which they cannot explain, or even understand, and Satan employs these to shake their faith in the Scriptures as a revelation from God. They ask, ‘How shall I know the right way? If the Bible is indeed the word of God, how can I be freed from these doubts and perplexities?’ ” –A Call to Stand Apart, p. 45.

“While you take counsel with your doubts and fears, or try to solve everything that you cannot see clearly before you have faith, your perplexities will only increase and deepen. If you come to God, feeling helpless and dependent, as you really are, and in humble, trusting prayer make your wants known to Him whose knowledge is infinite,… He can and will attend to your cry, and will let light shine into your heart and all around you; for through sincere prayer your soul is brought into connection with the mind of the Infinite…. You may not feel His visible touch, but His hand is upon you in love and pitying tenderness.” –Gospel Workers, pp. 204, 205 (1892).

Opening minds to prophecy and its fulfillment

5. Without identifying Himself, what did Jesus do to help these perplexed disciples understand the prophecies concerning His death and resurrection?

Luke 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

“Beginning at Moses, the very Alpha of Bible history, Christ expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself…. It was necessary for them to understand the witness borne to Him by the types and prophecies of the Old Testament. Upon these their faith must be established. Christ performed no miracle to convince them, but it was His first work to explain the Scriptures…. Now He showed from the prophets that this was the very strongest evidence for their faith…. 

“The Saviour is revealed in the Old Testament as clearly as in the New. It is the light from the prophetic past that brings out the life of Christ and the teachings of the New Testament with clearness and beauty. The miracles of Christ are a proof of His divinity; but a stronger proof that He is the world’s Redeemer is found in comparing the prophecies of the Old Testament with the history of the New.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 796, 799.

“Abide with us”

6. Greatly moved by Jesus’ explanations, what did the disciples invite Him to do, since it was getting late? When did they recognize Him? What special privilege was theirs?

Luke 24:28-31, first part And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they knew him;…

“ ‘Abide with us,’ they said. He did not seem to accept the invitation, but they pressed it upon Him, urging, ‘It is toward evening, and the day is far spent.’ Christ yielded to this entreaty and ‘went in to tarry with them.’

“Had the disciples failed to press their invitation, they would not have known that their traveling companion was the risen Lord. Christ never forces His company upon anyone. He interests Himself in those who need Him. Gladly will He enter the humblest home, and cheer the lowliest heart. But if men are too indifferent to think of the heavenly Guest, or ask Him to abide with them, He passes on. Thus many meet with great loss. They do not know Christ any more than did the disciples as He walked with them by the way.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 800.

Messengers of the resurrection and hope

7. What happened at the moment when they recognized Him? How surprised were they by this, and what did it cause them to do?

Luke 24:31, last part-33, 35 … And he vanished out of their sight. 32And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them…. 35And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

“They leave their meal untasted, and full of joy immediately set out again on the same path by which they came, hurrying to tell the tidings to the disciples in the city…. They do not see, they do not know, that they have the protection of Him who has traveled the road with them. With their pilgrim staff in hand, they press on, desiring to go faster than they dare…. Sometimes running, sometimes stumbling, they press forward, their unseen Companion close beside them all the way….

“Their hearts leap for joy…. Christ is a living Saviour. They no longer mourn over Him as dead. Christ is risen–over and over again they repeat it. This is the message they are carrying to the sorrowing ones. They must tell them the wonderful story of the walk to Emmaus. They must tell who joined them by the way. They carry the greatest message ever given to the world, a message of glad tidings upon which the hopes of the human family for time and for eternity depend.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 801.

For additional study

“Reasoning from prophecy, Christ gave His disciples a correct idea of what He was to be in humanity. Their expectation of a Messiah who was to take His throne and kingly power in accordance with the desires of men had been misleading…. Christ desired that the ideas of His disciples might be pure and true in every specification. They must understand as far as possible in regard to the cup of suffering that had been apportioned to Him. He showed them that the awful conflict which they could not yet comprehend was the fulfillment of the covenant made before the foundation of the world was laid. Christ must die, as every transgressor of the law must die if he continues in sin. All this was to be, but it was not to end in defeat, but in glorious, eternal victory. Jesus told them that every effort must be made to save the world from sin.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 799.

“The truths they had but dimly discerned now stand revealed in a blaze of light. The very things He had told them have been accomplished. Faith begins to revive. Their hearts beat with a strong and renewed hope as they listen eagerly to the plain, simple words of their unknown fellow traveler. They are surprised to find their burdened hearts becoming light; and as they think of Jesus, of all He was to them, of all He suffered, their tears flow freely. Their confidence had not been misplaced.” –Signs of the Times, January 20, 1888.

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