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.
They were perplexed over the events that had recently taken place, and especially concerning the reports of the women who had seen the angels, and had met Jesus after His resurrection.
They were now returning to their home, to meditate and pray, in hope of gaining some light in regard to those matters which were so dark to them.
As they journeyed, a stranger came up and went with them; but they were so busy with their conversation that they hardly notice His presence.
These strong men were so burdened with grief that they wept as they travelled along. Christ's pitying heart of love saw here a sorrow which He could comfort.
Disguised as a stranger, He began to talk with them. "But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. And He said unto them,
"What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
"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?
"And 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." Luke 24:16-19.
They then told what had taken place, and repeated the report brought by the women who had been at the tomb early that same morning. Then He said:
"O fools,and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?
"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:25-27.
The disciples were silent from amazement and delight. They did not venture to ask the stranger who He was. They listened eagerly as He explained to them Christ's mission.
Had the Saviour first made Himself known to the disciples, they would have been satisfied. In the fullness of their joy they would have desired nothing more. But it was necessary for them to understand how His mission had been foretold by all 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. They had looked upon His death as the destruction of all their hopes. Now He showed from the prophets that this was the very strongest evidence for their faith.
In teaching these disciples, Christ showed the importance of the Old Testament as a witness to His mission. Many now reject the Old Testament, claiming that it is no longer of any use. But such is not Christ's teaching. So highly did He value it, that at one time He said, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:31.
As the sun was setting, the disciples reached their home. Jesus "made as though He would have gone further." But the disciples could not bear to part from the One who had brought them such joy and hope.
So they said to Him, "Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.And He went in to tarry with them." Luke 24:28, 29.
The simple evening meal was soon ready, and Christ took His place at the head of the table, as His custom was.
It was usually the duty of the head of the family to ask a blessing upon the food; but Christ placed His hands upon the bread and blessed it. And the eyes of the disciples were opened.
The act of blessing the food, the sound of the now familiar voice, the prints of the nails in His hands, all proclaimed Him their beloved Master.
For a moment they sat spellbound; then they arose to fall at His feet and worship Him; but He suddenly disappeared.
In their joy they forgot their hunger and weariness. They left the meal untasted, and hastened back to Jerusalem with the precious message of a risen Saviour.
As they were relating these things to the disciples, Christ Himself stood among them, and,with hands uplifted in blessing, said: "Peace be unto you." Luke 24:36.
At first they were frightened; but when He had shown them the prints of the nails in His hands and feet, and had eaten before them, they believed and were comforted. Faith and joy now took the place of unbelief, and with feelings which no words could express, they acknowledged their risen Saviour.
At this meeting,Thomas was not with them. He refused to believe the reports in regard to the resurrection. But after eight days Jesus appeared to the disciples when Thomas was present.
On this occasion He again showed in His hands and feet the marks of the crucifixion. Thomas was at once convinced, and cried, "My Lord and my God." John 20:28.
In the upper chamber, Christ again explained the Scriptures concerning Himself. Then He told His disciples that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Before His ascension to Heaven, He said to them, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." "And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Acts. 1:8; Matthew 28:20.
You have been witnesses, He said, of My life of self-sacrifice in behalf of the world. You have seen that all who
come to Me,confessing their sins, I freely receive. All who will, may be reconciled to God, and have everlasting life.
To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to all nations,tongues, and peoples.
Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe; but know that My presence will be there.
The Saviour's commission to the disciples included all the believers to the end of time.
Not all can preach to congregations; but all can minister to individuals. Those minister who receive the suffering, who help the needy, who comfort the sorrowing, and who tell the sinner of Christ's pardoning love. These are Christ's witnesses.