I imagine most of my readers are probably familiar with the account of Jesus meeting the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. In Luke 24:15, we see that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them as they journeyed. And then we read this…
Luke 24:25-32 “And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all 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 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?'”
Commonly, there is rich content shared about Jesus opening the Scriptures to His disciples. But that’s not what I want to focus on. I want to make a couple of observations of something we see in verses 28 and 29. “So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if He was going farther, but they urged Him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us.'” I think the encouragement here is two-fold. For starters, it struck me as I was reading verse 28, to see that Jesus acted as though He was going to go on down the road to the next village. In some sense, it looks like He was putting on. And we ask ourselves why? Why is Jesus acting as if He’s going to go on farther? We see clearly when we read v. 29 why Jesus was acting as if He was going to go on down the road. He was provoking within His people a desire to cry out to Him, to entreat Him to stay. And this is remarkable. This is the warm, relational Jesus Christ that so desires the hearts of His people that He will even act in such a way to draw out our affections to Him. And this is happening today. If you’re a believer, in my life and your life, there are things that our kind, dear Savior does to draw out our affections toward Him; to stir up our love toward Him; to drive us into the mode of entreating Him. He wants communion with His people. He had no intention of going on down the road. He wants to be with His people. And that is remarkable. If that doesn’t fuel our communion with God, I don’t know what does. He is delighting in the prayers of His people all the time!
Think of Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. What is that about? The Angel of the Lord, this pre-incarnate Christ. He’s not wrestling with anyone. He’s not challenged by Jacob. He’s not actually held in place by Jacob. Yet, what does He say? “Let me go.” He could withdraw at any moment. Why “let me go”? Because He was aiming for a response in Jacob. “I won’t let you go, unless You bless me.”
You remember Samson’s dad, Manoah, in Judges 13. The Angel of the Lord visits him. What is happening here? There’s this encounter, this divine encounter, and Manoah comes to the point where he says, “Please let me detain you and make a meal for you.” The Angel of the Lord responds, “I’m not even going to eat the meal, but I’ll be detained.”
The Syro-Phoenician woman in the New Testament. What is going on with that whole encounter? Oh my, that kind of reads confusing at first, doesn’t it? Jesus seemingly ignores her. Jesus seemingly insults her. Why? What is He doing? He is cultivating in the heart of His people this strong desire to seek Him. This is one thing that we can and should glean from this text.
Secondly, you just can’t get away from this phrase in verse 29. “They urged Him strongly.” Urged Him strongly. All I’ll say about it for the sake of a lengthy blog post is that we ought to be those that ask much and ask often. We ought to be those that lose nothing because we’re not asking. So, let’s storm that gracious throne each day. Let’s boldly entreat our kind, warm-hearted Savior.
My prayer: Father, there is none like You. Divine Son, our tender-hearted High Priest. There is none like You. Holy Spirit, our Help and Comforter. There’s none like You. We desire Your presence. We want to detain You today. We want You to draw near today. We need Your help. We need Your presence. We need You to do what You did for those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and open our eyes to the precious truth of Your Word. So, come, and infiltrate this time of prayer. Manifest Your presence to us, in Jesus’ name.