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14 minuten leestijd

“And they told what things were done in the way.” —Luke 24:35a

Before the great Day of Atonement came, upon which Christ suffered, died, and was buried, He spoke to His followers the words which we find in John 16:20: “And ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” Very shortly thereafter these words of Jesus were fulfilled. The true mourners in Zion were very much concerned and peplexed, yea, were filled with sorrow and grief. Their dear Master was in the hands of the enemies, was rejected, condemned to die, was scourged, died a shameful death on the cross, and was buried. It was a time to mourn and weep. How much darkness and unbelief filled their hearts! How many enemies there were that seemed to triumph! All seemed lost!

This is not a strange experience for all those souls traveling upon the heavenly way, as the disciples. And now we pause to ask such souls, does it not seem that deliverance never shall or can come for you? In Psalm 77 we find that a pilgrim also once asked: “Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will He be favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone for ever? does His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?”

Were such questions also in the hearts of Jesus’ disciples, who were scattered about in different ways and corners when the Shepherd was slain? Jesus had answered these questions already before His death but Oh! to have light and faith in His Word! When Christ arose from the dead, how soon their darkness turned into light, their weeping into gladness and joy. He, the Son of Righteousness, appeared with healing in His wings. “The Lord open-eth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down; the Lord loveth the righteous.” Jesus, yes, Jesus only is mighty to turn the sorrow of His dear ones into joy. He has power to do so, and He will do it in His love; He is faithful to His word. All His followers will experience it more or less at times on the heavenly way. “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” And when they come to the end of their way, He shall turn their sorrow into everlasting joy. In heaven there are no sorrows nor tears: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

“Then help me, dear Lord, to press onward,
Thinking often through each weary day,
The toils of the road will seem nothing
When I get to the end of the way.”

When Jesus had come to the end of the way of suffering to atone all the sins of His people and to merit eternal life for them; when He had been in the dark chambers of death for a limited time, then He came as the Good Shepherd to His sorrowful, scattered, and wandering sheep, and Oh! in what a surprising and comforting manner did He fulfill His words, “Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy!”

Some of these sorrowful followers of Christ had received this great blessing already very early on that wonderful and blessed day of His resurrection. However, on the evening of that day we behold two traveling pilgrims yet in great sorrow and confusion. When a Man (for them a stranger) drew near and walked with them, they opened their heart and said: “But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.” They did not know it as yet, but Oh! what a blessed third day it was for these souls, yea, for the whole church ransomed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”; yea, in the morning when the Sun arises and the soul, being delivered, may exclaim: “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”

This was the experience of Peter on that third day, which was the first day of the week. Jesus came to him on his way of weeping and bitterness, wiped his tears, and took away his fears and grief. Peter soon communicated to the other disciples what he had experienced on the way, and they in turn told others on the evening of that blessed day: “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.” Poor soul, did you ever have this experience upon your way? O blessed are they who love His appearance on the narrow way: a way with so many thorns and briers; a way of so many bitter conflicts and troubles; a way of so many painful chastisements and trials. What? Yes, it is a way upon which they may at times fear that they shall surely perish and never reach the Heavenly Gate; a way upon which they shall experience the truth of Peter’s word, that the righteous shall scarcely be saved.

And what was the experience of a weeping and thirsting Mary upon that remarkable day? The angels at the sepulchre asked her: “Woman, why weepest thou?” Oh, behold this weeping Mary on the way: God’s way, the heavenly way. Jesus was near to comfort and wipe her tears, and she did not know it. But soon she did know it and rejoiced in Him Who at all times has been the joy of His mourning Zion in the wilderness of this world, but also forever in Canaan above. O consider the blessed words: “Mary!” . . . “Rabboni!” Do you long for such an experience on the way? or have you already received this great blessing? Ah, this same Jesus shall come to you again and again on the heavenly pathway to deliver and comfort you in all your weeping and fears; yea, to teach you how to live outside of yourselves in Him and through Him, Who is the Resurrection and the Life. He alone can teach you what that means, to die to live!

On the evening of Jesus’ resurrection the two pilgrims were on their way to Emmaus. They were also traveling on the heavenly way; that way upon which Jesus shall appear, and shall be their wonderful Teacher and Leader. What a wonderful Jesus is He! The Good Shepherd, Who was slain on the cross for their sake, did not forget these sheep whom He has loved with an eternal and unchangeable love, and in His love He has fulfilled this precious promise: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.”

Let us consider what wonderful things these two men experienced in the way . . . upon their way to heaven.

1. They were in great darkness concerning Jesus and how He was to be a perfect Savior in meriting and applying salvation. They did not understand this blessed truth which is nevertheless revealed clearly in the Scriptures. It must also be revealed in the heart and in the way.

2. They talked together about all the things that had happened during the suffering of Jesus, and about His death and burial, but they remained in darkness; they only sank deeper into the horrible pit. How they needed Jesus! And when the Lord Jesus soon came and began to speak to them, they became good hearers and were brought out of their darkness into the glorious light of the Son of Righteousness. What a change!

3. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was watching them every moment as they traveled in the way and He came to them at the appointed time of the heavenly Father, Who wanted these weeping and fearing children to be delivered and comforted.

4. When Jesus was with them their eyes were holden at first so that they did not know Him. Christ must not only come to the soul, but must also reveal Himself clearly. In His light they will see the Light.

5. They experienced how wisely Jesus deals with the subjects of His kingdom. He is so infinitely wise, and they are so ignorant and foolish. A man, enlightened by the Spirit of God and made sensible of his utter folly, confessed: “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” Prov. 30:2. At times we may hear these scholars of Jesus sing: “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”

6.Jesus was paying close attention to the matter of their conversation. He knew their innermost thoughts as well as their disappointment and sadness, about which they had spoken to one another. He alone does judge aright, and He will let them know His judgment, to the end that they shall learn to speak and judge rightly. Oh, to speak much to and of Jesus, Who says to His lambs and sheep: “Let Me see thy countenance, let Me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is come-ly.”

7. These men on the way are upright and sincere. Their hearts and mouths are filled with the awesome things that have taken place, but they do not see them in the right light. Confusion fills their hearts and they are as in a labyrinth, just as Israel in the wilderness. They did not know what to think of all these things and did not know where to turn. Only Jesus can lead them out of this labyrinth and clear up their way. Dear reader, do you know what that is?

8. Filled with darkness and unbelief, all seems to be so hopeless. “We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel,” but now . . . ? They needed light to believe, just as Thomas. When that Light appeared, Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God!”

9. Although they are in much darkness, and fears grip their soul, they yet have a little hope. They have heard wonderful things, but all is shrouded in mystery. There is only a very little hope ... a little courage . . . some sighing and crying: Oh, that the mountains would sink away! Little Faith is in the way to meet Jesus — the Lord Jesus Christ, the Hope of poor, helpless, and thirsting souls

10. The Man Who has joined them reproves them for their ignorance and unbelief. What a great sin! What a robber of God’s honor and Jesus’ glory; of our comfort and joy.

11. Jesus now calls them “fools,” but it seems that they were not offended at these words of Jesus. Light to see that we are “fools” will humble us deeply before God and man, so that we will be brought to confess with Asaph: “So foolish was I and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee.” Ps. 73:22. Jesus will be Wisdom in the hearts of such fools, and make them wise unto salvation.

12. Although Jesus called them “fools” and condemned their ignorance and unbelief, yet He loved these fools freely and suffered and died for them upon Calvary. Jesus’ name is Wonderful: — wonderful are His ways and doings. Oh, the wonder of Sovereign Grace!

13. In His tender love Jesus instructed them by His Word and Spirit, and gave them light to see and to believe. Teaching them, He delivered them from all their ignorance, unbelief, fears, and miseries. He opened the Scriptures unto them. Do you know what that is? And the fruits thereof? Do you experience that in the House of God at times? David exclaimed: “God hath spoken in His holiness: I will rejoice.”

14. The Man that is with them is their Redeemer ... and they see the King in His beauty! The cruel enemies, by whom they have been so bitterly attacked, have now fled away, and peace and joy fills their heart. The dark clouds have all been driven away, and they are rejoicing in the light of the Son of Righteousness.

15. There is a flaming and burning love in the hearts of these men, such as they have never felt before. They have received the wine of Jesus’ suffering and dying love, and are filled with a wonderful return of love. They soon exclaimed: “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” O wonderful, powerful love, of which the Spouse said: “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.”

16. These men, as unworthy fools, are now filled with holy wonder and admiration. The way is clear, is light; the mountains are gone. It is something from heaven and for heaven.

17. They do not want to part with this Man. His presence and communion is wonderful, is sweet. They constrain Him to remain yet a while with them. The Man is willing. How glad are they when He comes in to tarry with them so that they might enjoy more of His communion. Do you know what that is in the way?

18. In the home the Man reveals Himself suddenly unto them, and at once His bodily appearance is gone. But Oh! they yet see Him by faith, and soon they shall see Him again, just as He appeared on the way and in the home.

19. The day of Jesus’ resurrection is a day of feasting for these men. Oh, could they not exclaim with Paul: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification”?

20. These men experience what David has written about in Psalm 103: “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things: so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” No longer are they cast down, discouraged, or weary, but as on eagle’s wings they now return to Jerusalem. Soon we find them in the midst of the disciples, telling them with joy what things were done in the way, and how Jesus was known of them in breaking of bread. Yes, then it was a time to exclaim with the psalmist: “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.”

May it please the God of Israel to bless these words to many souls. Oh, how many are strangers of these things, or some of them, on their way to death and eternity. May this risen Jesus become in many dead souls the Resurrection and the Life, and speak with power: “In thy blood, Live; yea, in thy blood ,Live.” Remember, dear readers, without the Lord Jesus Christ there is no life, but everlasting condemnation. May the almighty God stop you upon your own way, and lead you in the way everlasting.

Oh, may there be a few crumbs in these words for quickened, seeking souls, who, with the men of Emmaus, have been led into painful soul-voids, which can only be filled with the appearance and salvation of Immanuel. May it be heard again as in olden times to the glory of a triune God and the exaltation of Jesus: “And they told what things were done in the way.” Such a way is the right way, and shall lead under the guidance and protection of Immanuel to the eternal feast and glory.

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