And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs.…
After He has comforted the weeping, disconsolate Magdalene, and graciously restored the fallen Peter, He hastens to lay hold of those sad wanderers who have ignorantly turned away from where they might have found light and consolation. The first word He addressed to them, after He had drawn out their thoughts and feelings by two questions which He needed not to ask, but which it was well they should answer, was a word of rebuke — "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." Thus do chiding and reproof oftentimes precede the most gracious manifestations. Our faults must be corrected before any real and lasting comfort can be administered. To remove all discomfort and distress, without touching the evil state of mind from which they spring, would be like relieving the patient's pain at the expense of aggravating his disease; it would be to countenance and encourage us in the wrong thoughts and feelings which it behoves us to abandon. Not thus does the Great Physician deal with the souls whom He loves. Injudicious earthly teachers may try to minister relief to distempered minds, by simply soothing their sorrows without correcting their faults, making them believe that all their troubles spring from something without themselves which will shortly be put right, instead of leading them to look within that they may correct what is wrong there; pleasing them with flattery when they should first pain them by rebuke; and thus, for the sake of yielding them a little momentary pleasure, inflicting on them a permanent injury. Not so the Saviour. How prone we are all to close our eyes to the things which we dislike — to believe only in those we like! The disciples were ready enough to listen to what seemed to justify their hopes of a coming kingdom: when He spoke of His sufferings they were equally ready to say, "Be it far from Thee, Lord." Whatever we may think of the manner in which the Old Testament writers were inspired — a question on which bold theorising is but a bold mistake, the conduct of our Lord on this occasion places the fact of their inspiration beyond all dispute among those who recognize His authority. "Abide with us," they said, "for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent." The reason of this request was the fascination of His speech — the effect it had produced on them in dispelling their doubts, reviving their drooping hopes, and quickening their languid affections. Such is the invariable consequence of converse with the Saviour. Such experience naturally awakens the desire that the fellowship may be prolonged. From souls who thus earnestly seek Him the Saviour will not withhold His gracious presence. "He went in to tarry with" these disciples, and "sat at meat with them"; thus condescending not only to become their guest, but to place Himself so much on an equality with them, as to sit at the same table and partake of the same meal. Be this as it may, this portion of the narrative is beautifully representative of what often takes place in the experience of believers. Where the Saviour's presence is earnestly desired and prayed for, He not only grants the request, but enters into more intimate fellowship with the longing soul. But delightful as fellowship with Christ is to the truly Christian soul, the passage may very well remind us that there is something for us to do besides gratifying our desire, even for the highest spiritual enjoyment. Peter, on the Mount of Transfiguration, though he said, "It is good for us to be here," was not permitted to build tabernacles as he desired, because at the foot of the mountain there were distresses to be relieved. The two disciples, though they would fain prolong their interview with the Lord, must, just when their gratification is at the highest, be deprived of His presence, and return to Jerusalem to share their joy with others. And so we, sometimes, when we might greatly prefer quiet meditation and devotion to active service, must nevertheless, because the world needs our ministrations, go forth from communion with our Master to do the Master's work. I cannot conclude without calling attention to that which appears so conspicuously throughout the whole of the narrative — the marvellous condescension of our Lord. These are but weak disciples when He finds them — foolish, slow of heart to understand the Scriptures — their faith much clouded, though it does not relinquish its hold of Him. And how He condescends to their weakness, suits His instruction to their case, gradually leads them to a full preception of the truth and apprehension of Himself. Tenderly He deals with them, not breaking the bruised reed, nor quenching the smoking flax; but gathering the lambs in His arms, and carrying them in His bosom.
Parallel VersesKJV: And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
WEB: Behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia from Jerusalem.