“Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” Luc 24: 13-16
After the tale of the women visiting Jesus’s tomb, two disciples of Jesus embarked on a journey to Emmaus. Recollecting the upheaval that happened recently, they encountered Jesus Himself, however they did not recognise Him. The gospel of Mark adds that that Jesus “appeared in another form” (Mark 16: 12).
These two people on this Emmaus outing, breaking away from the assembly of believers, seem to me like a couple on a new journey “marriage”.
As believers, whilst we are born from above, we get a revelation of who our Lord is and our new identity in Christ. Nevertheless, as we come together in marriage, we need a new revelation of the reason why the Lord want us to be one with someone else. Otherwise like these 2 disciples, although we are Christians, when the Lord shall be in our midst “our eyes shall be restrained” or veiled, our minds confused, so that we would not know our mission as a couple. One sister in Christ related to me the story of a couple that she and her husband met while on honeymoon. Although this other couple was also Christian, they were flabbergasted that my sister and her husband brought their Bible with them on their honeymoon. “What for?”
Even though these 2 disciples were close to Jesus while He was with them before being crucified, they did not recognise Him as He spoke to them now. This could be like to a couple who is talking about what each one of them personally experienced with Jesus while being single. They devised on the future, discuss about their experiences and personal meditations, battles and victories, thinking that it is enough to sustain them now that they are married; and without realising that as a couple, as a family they need more of Him together, a revelation specific to the couple that they now formed… just like the daily new manna for the people in the desert! Otherwise, as we pray, we may sound as patronising as Cleopas while he is giving Jesus a summary of the grievance they felt while their Lord was being crucified. And Cleopas added that they were bitterly disappointed as they thought that Jesus was coming to save Israel from the Roman occupation.
And let us see the answer of our Lord:
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24: 26-27
It would be indeed very naive and foolish of us not to seek the Lord in the closeness of our married life.
Without this, we might face unnecessary trials and tribulations, a consequence of being sluggish in our attitude. And be bitterly disappointed too! On the contrary, let us seek to know Jesus more and more and pray for an intimate revelation of His perfect will for our matrimonial life. And by His grace and mercy let any remaining confusion disappear and let the veil be lifted up so that, together, we shall hold on to Him:
“Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them” Luke 24: 28-29.
The Lord has promised us that if we open our door to Him, He shall come and dine with us (Revelation 3:20). And this is not just about eating, but a deep and pure fellowship with our Lord us as He used to be with His disciples. Let us open our hearts, our intimacy to Jesus not only for sorrows, trials, joys, victories, but in all aspects of our daily practical married life from budgeting to groceries, from family planning to children education.
In the same way that the disciples pressed Jesus to know how to pray (Luke 11: 1), let us do the same, pressing Jesus to show us how to pray in our couple, in our family. More importantly, let the couple cling to Him, not just the wife or the husband on their separate time of meditation but both together as one body in harmony, serving Him faithfully from the beginning until the end.
By urging Jesus to stay with them, the two disciples experienced an extraordinary moment of communion with the Lord:
“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” Luke 24: 30-31
As the disciples’ eyes were opened, they just marvelled upon realising that they had all along been with their Master! Similarly, when our eyes are opened by the Lord, when He reveals Himself to us, o what a joy beloved! The original verb used here for “opened” - verse 31 and also verse 32 - is ‘dianoígō’ in Greek, which means ‘to open thoroughly what had been closed’ (i.e. first born who open the matrix of his mum) or ‘to rouse in someone the faculty of understanding or the desire of learning’. This gives an even deeper indication of how should be our state of mind and disposition towards the Lord as a couple, as we embark on this new journey, the “marriage way”! Let us seek as one this uninterrupted new revelation similar to a baptism of the Spirit. And similarly to the disciples walking together, let us continuously walk with Him together through meditations and prayers. Together as much as possible, morning, noon and night! Diligent in seeking the Lord, being faithful and obedient to renounce the bad habits and sins that He exposes.
By doing so we accomplish the perfect will of the Lord for ourselves and the Lord shall use this to be a blessing to others, like the disciples who decided to go back to their brothers experiencing the visitation of Jesus Christ Himself, their Lord and Master:
“So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Luke 33-34
The two disciples, who were quick to find a place to stay as the evening approached. However, they were so exultant now that they did not think twice in going back straight away. They walked another 7 and half miles back in the opposite direction, to Jerusalem in the pitch black of the night to bring this wonderful news to others! It was “burning” in them to meet with the brethren and share what had just happened.
Likewise, our meeting with the Lord in the intimacy of our married life, the revelations of who Jesus is in our couple and this baptism of the Spirit shall be moments of joy to share with our brothers and sisters as we meet for fellowship, similar to “rivers of living waters” which overflow from us (John 7: 38).
And as this shall also be happening within the intimacy of other families, and other brothers and sisters who diligently seek the Lord, as we meet in fellowship together we shall experience another “dimension” of the baptism of the Spirit:
“Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” Luke 24: 36
In the same way this happened to the all the group of disciples gathered together, the communion and fellowship of those who - in their private prayers and meditations- are urging the Lord with one heart at home to abide in them and come together as the body of Christ, they shall receive the instructions and vision of the Lord for the last days (Luke 24: 37-53), and the Holy Spirit shall come to be amongst them.
A brother recently shared his frustration that, whilst they meet in his assembly for prayers, people tend to express worries such as their children attending very reputable schools or other things of that order. Although these things are legitimate, it should be not the main purpose of our meeting together.
Although the Bible does not say so, some elders/commentators of the Bible tend to believe that the two disciples walking towards Emmaus were indeed a married couple. And beloved the fact that chapter 24 is the last of Luke speak volumes to me. There is no doubt that there is no other message to look for the purpose of the married life in the Lord: God puts together one man and one woman to serve Him as one family, one body, the body of Christ.
Married life can be challenging and all the more difficult if we lose the vision in the way, if the purpose of marriage become diluted in other ambitions we may have or issues we may face.
The Lord put spiritual brothers and sisters, families together to serve Him and obey His vision, to be ready for the last days.
Brothers and sisters, let us not get distracted or sluggish as the night is drawing near and our Lord is coming soon.