What Hinders You From Believing?
Saturday, April 3 & Sunday, April 4
Following Jesus’s Resurrection:
Luke 24:13-31 “That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 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. 18 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?” 19 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, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 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. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 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. 24 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.”
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 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. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.”
This is the account of two of Jesus’s disciples that exited the chaos of Jerusalem after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ to go to a little town called Emmaus.
They are confused and heartbroken about what had happened to Jesus.
While walking down the lonely road, the resurrected Jesus approaches them but they don’t recognize who he is.
The answer to all their perplexity is walking beside them, but they can’t see Him.
I’m going to show you today that the reasons for their blindness are the same things that keep people today from seeing and turning to Christ.
They were blinded by their emotions
Luke 24:14-15 “And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.”
The word “reasoned” is from a Greek word that means “to dispute.”
So this was not a pleasant, lighthearted discussion taking place between these two men.
It was intense, heated…emotional.
They were so caught up in their emotions they didn’t even recognize the risen Christ when He walked right up to them!
It says, “their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him” (vs. 16).
Now, this is not telling us that God restrained them from recognizing Him.
It was their EMOTIONS that did it—their sorrow, their disappointment and confusion.
It’s hard to imagine the emotions they’d been through.
They were followers of Christ.
They were devoted to Him and His teachings.
But more than that, they had fully believed that, just as Moses had physically delivered God’s people from the bondage of Egypt, Jesus was going to deliver His followers from the terrible, oppressive tyranny of Rome.
The wonder-working Man from Galilee was going to overthrow Rome by His great power and give them a brand new lease on life!
They even said to Jesus on the road, “we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”
And then—Their hero and hope was arrested.
And once arrested, He didn’t magically escape by a wave of His hand as He had so often slipped through their fingers in the past.
Before their very eyes He was beaten, whipped, abused, and mocked with no divine intervention.
Then the worst came—He was nailed to a Cross and died.
When Jesus died, their hope of a better life died with Him.
Talk about spiraling into disillusionment and despair!
And there are many people today that don’t see the truth of Jesus because of strong emotions.
We live in a time where emotions and feelings are placed above facts.
If we feel it, it’s true—Forget the facts!
The FACT was that the resurrected Jesus was standing right in front of them but they couldn’t see Him through intense emotions.
Now, feelings and emotions aren’t bad…God gave them to you for a reason.
But we aren’t supposed to place our faith in our feelings—we’re to place our faith in the facts.
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be kept safe” (Prov.28:26 NLV).
—Perhaps some of you listening to me right now are letting your emotions blind you to the truth of Christ!
Emotionally, you can’t possibly believe in someone being raised from the dead.
It just doesn’t ”FEEL” right to place your faith in something you can’t see.
Much like these two men, you’re blinded to the truth of Jesus by trusting in your emotions.
Jesus could walk right up to you as He did them, and your emotions would hinder you from recognizing Him!
II. They were blinded by their circumstances
These two men couldn’t see Jesus because of the overwhelming circumstances unfolding around them.
We note that as they began to walk and talk with the risen Christ, they immediately turned their focus to the CIRCUMSTANCES that had just gone down in Jerusalem:
—“Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened these days?”
Jesus’s response is interesting—”What things?” (Vs.19)
Their response is almost comical because they proceed to describe Jesus to Jesus!
They describe Him as ”a prophet mighty in deed and word…” (19)
And they say ”we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened” (vs. 21).
In other words, the circumstances of His arrest was affecting their ability to see the victorious, risen Christ!
Their difficult circumstances prevented them from recognizing the victorious Savior!
The same thing can happen to us, and may be happening to some of you right now!
The crime, dishonesty, hatred, riots, pandemics, political upheaval, injustices happening all around us on a daily basis dominate your thinking.
The resurrected Jesus walked right up to them, reached out to them, and offered His grace right in the midst of harsh circumstances!
Yet their circumstances blocked them from seeing Him!
III. They were blinded by their unbelief
They just couldn’t believe that someone had actually been raised from the dead.
When Mary Magdalene first went to the empty tomb and returned to the disciples with a report of it being empty, the Bible says flatly:
“They did not believe” (Mark 16:11 NKJV).
When another group of women came to the disciples with the same report, it says: “Their story sounded like a fairy tale to the men—they didn’t believe it” (Lk. 24:11 LB).
They had even personally heard Jesus say that He would be resurrected, but no matter—they were still blinded by their unbelief.
On that lonely, dusty road we see Jesus scolding the two men, telling them they were ”slow to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!”
Notice: JESUS knew that THEY knew what the OT prophets had spoken about Him.
Over 350 prophecies about Jesus were in the very OT they’d been raised on!
So Jesus proceeded to give them a refresher course.
The Bible says that, “Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He (Jesus) expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (vs. 27).
And no doubt about it, one of the things that hinders many from seeing the resurrected Christ is UNBELIEF.
They can’t believe that He would love them.
They can’t believe that He wants a relationship with them.
They can’t believe He died on the Cross for their forgiveness.
The GOOD NEWS is that the two men on the road to Emmaus ultimately got it!
The Bible says that “their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:31)
They immediately made a bee-line for Jerusalem to report to the other disciples that they’d seen the risen Christ!
If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, the Christian faith is a foolish fantasy and we are all sad fools.
But the Bible declares Him risen from the dead!
—Eleven of the the twelve disciples were killed for preaching that He rose from the dead.
—Paul the Apostle wrote, “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20 NLT).
—The tomb was empty and the grave clothes were vacant.
—Many people saw the resurrected Christ…They looked on His face, touched Him, heard His voice, and saw Him eat!
So, what does this mean for us today?
If you are ALREADY a Christian, Jesus’s resurrection is the guarantee YOU ALSO will one day rise from the dead!
Jesus “has become the first of millions who will come back to life again someday” (1 Cor. 15:20 LB).
If you’re NOT a Christian, His resurrection means He was Who He said He was—the very Son of God.
He is your one and only way to eternal life.
He is your only hope of forgiveness for your sins and entering heaven when you die!
—“There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God” (John 3:18 LB).
If you aren’t a Christian today, are you blinded by what blinded the two men on the road to Emmaus?