The Jesus Who Comes After You & Walks With You to Restore You to Where You Belong

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirteen through fifty-three of the twenty-fourth chapter. “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Ammaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had. Happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communication are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleo, 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: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchure, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they say not. Then he said unto them, 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. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he book bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and  hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread” (Luke 24:13-35).

 

            “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:36-43).

 

            “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:44-49).

 

            “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:5-53).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Jesus having already been risen from the grave on the third day. The twenty-fourth and final chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke is quite remarkable and astonishing when you take the time to consider it as it is the third account of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is one thing I absolutely love about the four gospel narratives is that not only do they all describe the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, but they also provide different vantage points of the events which took place within His life. In all reality the four gospels are essentially four different lenses through which we can view the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. With this being said, however, we must recognize and understand that this simply means that there are four different ways through which we can behold the beauty of the life and person of Jesus. Oh I absolutely love that in addition to the writings of the apostle Paul, as well as the writings of the apostles Peter and John, and even Jude and James, we have four distinct gospel narratives which provide us with a powerful picture of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s important for us to note that this isn’t a matter of picking and choosing which lens works best for us to behold the person of Jesus Christ, but rather four different vantage points of the life and ministry of Christ. With this being said it’s worth noting that two of these lenses and vantage points were written from men who actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel written by Matthew and the gospel written by John were gospels written by two of Jesus’ disciples—those whom Jesus had personally invited and called to walk with and follow Him. What’s more, is that the narrative and account of Jesus’ calling these men to walk with and follow Him are indeed presented before us within the gospels as Jesus found John with his brother by the sea of Galilee, and found Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom.

 

            As we come to the other two New Testament gospels—the gospel written by Mark, as well as the gospel written by Luke—we find that these gospels were written not by men who had in fact walked with the person of Jesus Christ, but rather those who walked with His disciples and followers. Oh if there is one thing I find absolutely astonishing when reading the four gospel narratives it’s that there were those who wrote about Christ based on their time and experience walking with Him, while there were others who wrote about Christ based on walking with His disciples and followers. In all reality, I am absolutely and completely convinced there is something that must needs be said about this—particularly and especially as the foundation for what we find in the passage of text before us. I am absolutely and completely convinced that within and throughout the course of our lives we need a clear and present mixture of both of these realities and manifestations. There is without a doubt and without a question the tremendous need within our hearts and lives to walk with and follow the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, however, with that being said we must also recognize the importance and value of walking with those who themselves walked with Jesus. Luke and John Mark wrote about Jesus—not because they had personally walked with Him in the flesh, but because they had walked with His body and those who had personally experienced His life and ministry in the flesh. OH how truly wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that these two men would be inspired by the Holy Spirit to write about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ—not because they walked with Him personally, but because they walked with those who knew Him and those who did in fact walk with Him.

 

            I am absolutely and completely convinced there is something to be said about the distinction that exists between the four gospel narratives which were written concerning the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as there is a powerful picture concerning those who actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ and those who walked with those who actually knew and experienced His person and presence. I sit here today thinking about and considering this truly awesome and wonderful truth and I find myself being confronted with the great and powerful truth that we as the saints of God need to have both experiences and both realities present within our lives. There is not a doubt in my mind that we do indeed need to walk with and follow Jesus Christ ourselves as we deny ourselves and take up our cross, however, there is also a great and present need for us to walk with others who know Christ, and others who knew Christ. If there is one distinction between our walking with others it’s that during the days of Luke and John Mark they walked with those who knew Christ. Both Luke and John Mark had walked with and engaged in fellowship with those who had personally known and walked with the Lord Jesus Christ, and it was that experience and encounter with those who walked with and knew Christ that not only produced within themselves a desire to become a follower of Jesus, but also to write a narrative and account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. How truly astonishing it is to think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that there were those who wrote gospel narratives because they actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ and were eyewitnesses of His life and ministry, while there were others who wrote gospel narratives having walked with those who knew and walked with Jesus Christ, and having received the witness and testimony of others who walked with Him.

 

            If you begin reading the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the beloved physician Luke you will find him writing unto the recipient of this gospel—Theophilus—and declaring unto him that he sought to undertake the wonderful responsibility of presenting a precise and orderly narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Luke sought to write this gospel narrative based on and according to the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit he did so having interviewed and spoken with countless eyewitnesses who had actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel narrative which Luke wrote was written—not based on Luke himself walking with Jesus the Christ, for Luke was a Gentile who became a believer and follower of Yeshua of Nazareth under the apostolic ministry of Paul. It’s important to note that both John Mark and Luke were Gentile converts who made the decision to follow Christ and to become a disciple and follower of His. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to consider it is when you find that both of these men would spend time journeying with the apostle Paul. What’s more, is that not only did these men spend time journeying with the apostle Paul, but I would dare say they both heard him teach and preach, as well as had sidebar conversations with him concerning the person of Jesus the Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that these two men not only heard and listened to the apostle Paul preach and teach during his apostolic ministry and journeys, but they also undoubtedly would have had individual and personal conversations with him concerning the person of Jesus. What we must learn and understand about the apostle Paul is that he wasn’t one who personally walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ as the apostles Peter, John and Matthew did, however, he was one whom Christ appeared to while journeying on the road to Damascus as he was prepared to execute a great degree and measure of persecution against the Christians and followers of the way who were present in that city.

 

            The more I think about and consider the four gospel narratives the more I am brought face to face with the fact that there were those who wrote and spoke about Jesus because they actually walked with and followed Him, while there were others who wrote and spoke about Jesus because they walked with and fellowshipped together with His body and His church. With this being said it’s important to note that I am in no way suggesting or implying that individuals such as Luke and John Mark did not themselves have a personal experience and encounter with the Holy Spirit, and that it was that encounter which set them on the path and journey to walk with and follow Christ together with His body. This is actually something worth thinking about, for if there is one thing I have always found remarkable when considering Jesus’ calling of the twelve to walk with and follow Him it’s that He didn’t merely call and invite them to walk with and follow Him alone, but He also called and invited them to walk with Him together with others. When Jesus called the twelve disciples to come after, walk with and follow Him, it was more than just an individual calling inviting them to walk with and follow Him alone. We must needs recognize and understand that when Jesus called Simon he called him together with his brother Andrew. When Jesus called James he called him together with his brother. When Jesus called Matthew and the other disciples He invited them indeed walk with and follow Him, however, He also invited them to walk with each other. In coming after and following the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize that it is not only about our walking with Christ alone, but it is also about walking with others. WALK WITH CHRIST! WALK WITH ME AS I WALK WITH CHRIST! WALK WITH ME AS YOU WALK WITH CHRIST! WALK WITH ME AS WE WALK WITH CHRIST! One of the greatest truths surrounding the four gospel narratives is that not only did Jesus call men to walk with and follow Him, but in that walking with and following Him He would also invite them to walk with each other.

 

            This language of walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as walking with and fellowshipping with others is quite spectacular and challenging when you take the time to think about it, for if we are being honest with ourselves we must needs admit that we have been called to two distinct realities within our hearts and lives. On the one hand we have been called to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, while on the other hand we have been called to walk with and fellowship with the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth, for it draws and invites us into the place where not only are we willing to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, but we are also willing to walk with and fellowship together with His disciples and those who are also walking with and following Him. While Christ was indeed manifested among us in our midst as the Word made flesh there were those who walked with and followed Jesus personally, as well as walked with and fellowshipped together with others who had made the same decision within their own hearts and lives. What we find in the lives of men such as John Mark and Luke is that these were men who did not walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ personally, however, they did in fact walk with and fellowship together with those who had experienced and encountered the Lord Jesus Christ. Although the apostle Paul never walked with the Lord Jesus Christ as did the other apostles he still experienced and encountered the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. Not only this, but there are specific instances within the epistles written by his own hand when he referenced the Lord Jesus appearing and speaking to Him. Through the life of the apostle Paul—not only do we see the risen and exalted Christ appearing to Him on the road to Damascus, but we also see Christ appearing to him throughout his apostolic life and ministry.

 

            I am absolutely captivated with the fact that when we come to the four gospel narratives written by these authors we are presented with a testimony and witness by those who did in fact walk with and follow Jesus personally for three and a half years, while we are also given two narratives and accounts by those who had walked with and fellowshipped with those who had in fact walked with Christ in the flesh, as well as those who followed Him during the days of the early Church. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading these gospel narratives and encountering the awesome and powerful reality that if we wish to be disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ we must recognize and understand that there are essentially two sides to it. There would be those who would like to separate these two sides of the coin and isolate one of them while discarding the other, and yet the truth of the matter is that to do such a thing would be absolutely and incredibly dangerous. We do ourselves a great disservice—and not only ourselves, but those we have been called to walk with and fellowship with—when we choose to isolate one of these realities within our hearts and lives while discarding the other. If we are being honest with ourselves and with others we must needs admit that more often than not we isolate walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ while discarding and ignoring the need to walk with and fellowship together with those who are also walking with and following Christ. In all reality I am convinced that our lives are not only about walking and following, but also walking and fellowshipping. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is, for it draws and calls our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that we have indeed been called to both realities within our lives.

            I am sitting here writing these words today and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the tremendous fact that there is not only a great and tremendous need within our hearts and lives to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, but there is also a tremendous need for us to walk with and fellowship together with the body of Christ. We dare not and must not isolate walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ while at the same time ignoring, despising and rejecting the need to walk with and fellowship together with those who are themselves walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is one thing I can’t help but see and discover when reading the four gospel narratives it’s that when Jesus called and invited the disciples to walk with and follow Him—not only was He inviting them to walk with and follow Him, and not only was He inviting them to walk with and fellowship with each other, but He was also inviting them to walk with and fellowship together with others who would gather themselves together unto Him. Stop and think about this and how absolutely incredible it truly is, for the disciples of Jesus Christ who were called and invited to walk with and follow Him were not only called to walk with each other as they walked with Christ together, but they were also called to fellowship together with publicans, with sinners, with the poor, with the blind, with the lame, with the crippled, with the deaf, with the mute, and even with those who were oppressed and possessed by unclean and evil spirits. We must needs recognize and understand that our decision to walk with and follow Jesus Christ is not isolated, nor does it take place in a bubble, and it does not happen in a vacuum. We have a great need to recognize and understand that we have indeed and have in fact been called to walk together with others as we walk with and follow Christ in our own ways.

 

            Of the four New Testament gospel narratives we find that two were written by those who actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ personally for three and a half years. The gospels written by Matthew and John were written by individuals whom Jesus had personally called to come after, walk with and follow Him. Their gospel narratives was not written on hearing the eyewitness account of others, but was written based on their own personal encounter and experience with the Lord Jesus Christ. These men actually walked with and followed the Lord Jesus Christ and did so for three and a half. Years. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it draws and calls our attention to the tremendous need that we have within our hearts and lives to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ on a personal and individual basis. With that being said, however, it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that we have not been called to walk with and follow Jesus alone, but that by the very nature of walking with and following Jesus we have been called to walk with and fellowship together with others. We cannot and must not make an attempt to separate these realities within our hearts and lives, for to do so would be to cut ourselves off from Christ and from His body. WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO CUT YOURSELF OFF FROM CHRIST? What an incredibly powerful question this truly is, for there would be those among us who think they can walk with and follow Jesus alone and by themselves without fellowship together with the body of Christ. I am convinced that such a thought and line of thinking is incredibly false and misleading, for when we choose to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ alone without and apart from His body we are actually cutting ourselves off from Him.

 

            Pause for a moment and think about the statement I just made—the statement that if and when we make the decision to walk with and follow Jesus alone without and apart from walking with and fellowshipping together with His body we are actually cutting ourselves off from Him. Such a statement might seem far fetched and might seem like it is entirely and altogether false, and yet I am absolutely convinced that we actually do ourselves great damage, great harm and a great disservice when we seek to cut ourselves off from the body of Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we cut ourselves off from the body of Christ we are actually to some degree and measure cutting ourselves off from Christ. There is a reason why the apostle Paul wrote about the body of Christ and how it is made up of many members—and not only how the body is made up of many members, but is also united and unified under one Head which is Jesus the Christ. Oh you would not think, nor perhaps even believe that you could cut yourself off from Christ when you separate yourself from the body of Christ, and yet the truth of the matter is that this is exactly what you are doing when you choose to separate and cut yourself from the body of Christ. It is through the body of Christ that we not only present the witness and testimony of Christ in the midst of the earth, but also help others to experience the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a great and pressing need within our hearts and lives to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as to walk with and fellowship together with His spiritual body, for by doing so we are further connecting ourselves to the head of the body which is the Church of Jesus Christ.

 

            It is with all of this in mind I would like to invite you to not only consider the opening words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke, but also the words which are found in the opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. What’s more, is I would also like to call your attention to the words which are found within the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, as well as the opening chapter of the first epistle written by the same apostles. Furthermore, I would like to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Rome, the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Philippian saints, as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Ephesian saints. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages and you will begin to see a powerful picture—not only of our need to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, but also to walk with and fellowship together with the spiritual body of Jesus which is the Church:

 

            “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightiest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1-4).

 

 

            “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But 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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

 

            “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. IN him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true. Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:1-18).

 

            “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:1-5).

            “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus sis the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:1-6).

 

            “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

 

            “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one. Member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which we think to be less hsonourable, upon these we bestowe more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body: but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:18-27).

 

            “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one ind. Let nothing be done through strive or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11).

 

            “I therefore, the prison of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, on baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: ;From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:1-16).

 

            I fully realize that there was a lot of Scripture that was presented to you and that it might seem like a lot to take in, however, each of these passages help illustrate the tremendous truth of our need to both walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as to walk with and fellowship together with others. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful and powerful truth that we have been called to walk with and fellowship together with others just as much as we have been called to walk with and follow Jesus. There are those among us who think and feel they can simply walk with and follow Jesus without and apart from also walking together and fellowshipping together with the body of Christ, and yet such a line of thinking is not only false, but it is also highly deceptive and dangerous. I am absolutely convinced that when we seek to cut ourselves off from the body of Christ we are actually cutting ourselves off from the head of the body which is the Lord Jesus Christ. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that it is possible to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ and actually cut ourselves off from Him to some degree and measure because we are unwilling to walk together with and fellowship with the members of the body. The apostle Paul made it perfectly and abundantly clear that we have indeed and have in fact been called to one body and that we all make up one body. Not only this, but the apostle Paul also wrote that we each have need of each other and that we cannot and should not even think to say that we do not have any need of another. There is absolutely no place within our hearts and lives for an unwillingness to walk together with and fellowship with the body of Christ.  In fact, I would dare ask how we can even think we can truly walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ if we are unwilling to walk together with His body which is present in the earth.

 

            The New Testament gospel narratives present us with the powerful picture that we have indeed and have in fact not only been called to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, but we have also been called to walk together and fellowship with His spiritual body present in the midst of the earth. The New Testament gospels written by John Mark and Luke are powerful examples of those who present a testimony concerning Christ—not only based on their walking together and fellowshipping with the body of Christ, but also based on their encounter with the person of the Holy Ghost. There is not a doubt in my mind that both John Mark and Luke each had their own experience and encounter with the person of the Holy Ghost during the days of the early Church and during the days of the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. The gospels which we find here before us are incredibly awesome and powerful when you take the time to think about them, for they bring us face to face with the reality that these men wrote gospel accounts concerning the life and ministry—not because they personally walked with Jesus in the flesh, but because they walked with His body and His church in the flesh. Oh it is absolutely incredible and necessary that we recognize the awesome importance of our walking together with the spiritual body of Christ and the witness and testimony that is found in the midst of it. Pause for a moment and think about the tremendous benefit that is found in the spiritual body of Christ and the Church when we all with our differences yet united in the Spirit not only walk with, but also worship together before the Father, before the Son and the Spirit. Oh there is something to be said about not only walking together with the spiritual body of Christ, but also worshipping together with the spiritual body of Christ. Not only this, but there is something to be said about working together with the spiritual body of Christ. WALKING TOGETHER WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST! WORSHIPPING TOGETHER WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST! WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST!

 

            I am absolutely and completely convinced there is something truly incredible and powerful about our deciding to not only walk together with the spiritual body of Christ, but also to worship together with the body of Christ. Not only this, but there is something to be said about our willingness to work together with the body of Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that we have a great need within our hearts and lives to be those men and women who are truly ready, willing and able to walk with, worship with, and work with the spiritual body of Christ. We dare not, we cannot and must not think for a moment that we can indeed and can in fact walk alone in this life as we follow the Lord Jesus Christ. There is something to be said about our being able—and not only our being able, but also our being willing to walk together and fellowship with the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for more often than not it is in the process of walking together with and fellowshipping together with the spiritual body of Christ that we experience the context, the framework and the environment for change, transformation and growth. I do not believe that there was no benefit unto and for the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ surrounding and centering upon their walking with and fellowshipping with each other. We of course know and understand there was a great benefit to their walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ, however, I would also say there is also a great benefit to their walking together and fellowshipping with each other. If this were not so then the second commandment would be of absolutely no value and worth to those who walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is little if any benefit to walking together with and fellowshipping together with the spiritual body of Christ then there is absolutely no use, nor any benefit to our loving our neighbor as ourselves. The first and greatest commandment is indeed to love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength, however, the second commandment is similar in nature in that we have indeed and have in fact been called to love our neighbor as ourselves.

 

           

Oh, the more I think about and consider this particular truth the more I am brought face to face with that which is found in the final chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. The context and framework for what we find here is not only that Jesus had indeed and had in fact risen from the dead, but that certain woman from the company of those who walked with and followed Jesus went to the tomb early on the third day and found a tremendous sight. These women would set out to journey unto the tomb bringing spices and ointments for the body of the Lord Jesus Christ and wondered who would roll away the stone for them as they came to the tomb. Much to their shock and surprise they would come unto the tomb very early in the morning on the third day and would find the stone was already rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. Not only was the stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb, but the body of the Lord Jesus Christ was not present in the midst of the tomb. Moreover, the linen graveclothes with which Christ was buried in were still present in the tomb as they were left behind by Jesus. [As a sidenote it is incredible to think about and consider how Jesus Christ rose from the grave on the third day and left the graveclothes behind. Jesus would indeed rise from the grave and yet He would not emerge from the grave still bound by his graveclothes but would leave them behind in the empty tomb]. As if this weren’t enough for the women at the tomb they also saw a vision of angels who not only declared that Jesus was not there, but also that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave as He said He would. The angels which were present there in the tomb emphatically declared unto these women that Jesus was no longer there but had risen and in fact asked them why they searched for the living among the dead.

 

The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by Luke describe two men who were departing from Jerusalem after the death and burial of Jesus. What makes this narrative so incredibly intriguing is when you consider the fact that these men were leaving Jerusalem after Jesus had been crucified and buried, but also after the women had returned from the tomb and had spoken of the rolled away stone, the empty tomb, and the grave clothes which were still present in the tomb. This particular narrative is truly remarkable when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome truth that these men had indeed been made aware of the fact that Jesus had been crucified and buried, however, they were also made known of the fact that Jesus had risen from the grave. If there is one thing I find so absolutely astonishing about this particular account it’s that these two men were departing from Jerusalem after hearing that Jesus had risen from the dead. This in all reality begs the question being asked of why they would depart from Jerusalem. These men were departing from Jerusalem and heading on a journey to a village called Emmaus, and they would do so even after hearing that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave. Oh there is something truly captivating and challenging when reading these words and considering how these men could leave Jerusalem after hearing that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave. Even more than this is when you find these men departing from the city of Jerusalem and heading toward the village of Emmaus and how the Lord Jesus would not only appear with them, but would also walk with them as they journeyed to Emmaus.

 

If there is one thing I can’t help but find myself thinking about when reading these words it’s the fact that not only had these men departed from the city of Jerusalem, but that Jesus appeared unto them. These men were in fact aware that their rulers and chief priests delivered Him to be crucified and that He was buried, but were made astonished when certain women of their company proclaimed that they had not only seen the stone rolled away, and not only had seen the empty tomb, but had also seen a vision of angels. In all reality, I would dare say that Jesus’ appearing unto these men was not only the means whereby He would restore them unto their brethren, but also as the means whereby He would return unto Jerusalem. We know that as of this time Jesus had not yet given the command and instruction to tarry in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father, which means that these men had departed from the city of Jerusalem before this instruction was even given. These men would in fact depart from the city of Jerusalem and would make their way to Emmaus, however, Scripture does not reveal why they would leave Jerusalem. Why after hearing that Jesus was possibly alive after having been raised from death to life as He said would take place would you still depart from the city of Jerusalem? We know that these two men were present among the disciples when the women returned from the tomb and we know that they heard the testimony of the women, and yet they would still choose to depart from the city of Jerusalem. The underlying question we must needs ask ourselves is what would prompt these men to depart from Jerusalem after hearing that Jesus might possibly be alive. I could somewhat understand them departing from Jerusalem after Jesus had been crucified and buried without the testimony of the women that He was possibly risen from the grave, but I cannot understand how or why they could depart from the city of Jerusalem.

 

What I can’t help but think about and be so appreciative about this particular narrative is not only that Jesus was willing to appear unto these men, and not only that Jesus was willing to walk with these men, but you almost get the sense that Jesus went to get these men that he might return them to Jerusalem and restore them to the fellowship of the saints. WHEN JESUS APPEARS UNTO YOU! WHEN JESUS WALKS WITH YOU! WHEN JESUS COMES TO GET YOU! There is not a doubt in my mind that the sole purpose for Jesus appearing unto these men was not only to walk with them in their disillusionment, their confusion, their questions and their doubts, but also to go and get them that He might restore them unto their brethren and return them to the city of Jerusalem. There is not a doubt in my mind that these men needed to be in Jerusalem among the brethren—particularly and especially when the day of Pentecost arrived and the person of the Holy Ghost was released. With this being said, however, it’s interesting to note that Jesus would appear unto these men as they journeyed from Jerusalem to Emmaus, would walk with them all the way unto the village of Emmaus, and would even abide with them in what was perhaps one of their homes, and yet when the time came for them to return unto Jerusalem He would no longer be present. It is worth noting that Jesus appeared unto these men as they were journeying along the way from Jerusalem unto Emmaus, Jesus would expound unto them those things concerning Himself beginning with Moses and continuing through the prophets, and He would even walk with them the whole way to their village of Emmaus. Jesus could have appeared unto them and immediately revealed Himself in their presence, however, Scripture reveals that their eyes were withholden from recognizing and understanding that it was Jesus who was walking with them.

There is something absolutely remarkable when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for Jesus could have appeared unto these men and immediately revealed Himself unto them. The truth of the matter, however, is that although Jesus appeared unto them their eyes and their understanding were prevented from recognizing that it was He who was among them. Stop and think about the fact that these men were not only disillusioned thinking and believing that Jesus would restore the nation and kingdom unto Israel, but they were also astonished when certain women from their company showed up with tales of angelic visitation and the empty tomb. Jesus would indeed appear unto these men as they journeyed along the road to Emmaus from the city of Jerusalem, however, their eyes and understanding were initially withheld from recognizing and understanding that it was He who was walking with them. Jesus would appear unto these men as they were journeying away from Jerusalem, and I can’t help but get the strong sense that Jesus set out on a divine rescue mission to go and get them before they would relegate themselves to despair, disillusionment, confusion, doubt, bewilderment, and the like. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus appeared unto these men along the road there was indeed a very specific purpose behind His appearing unto them. What’s more, is that Jesus could have appeared unto them and rebuked them for leaving Jerusalem, and even rebuking them for their disillusionment and doubt, however, Scripture does not reveal this as being the case. There is absolutely no mention in this passage of Scripture that Jesus rebuked these men for their doubt, for their unbelief, and perhaps even for their disillusionment. We know that Jesus spoke unto them and proclaimed “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken,” however, we must needs understand that Jesus would immediately expound unto them all those things concerning Himself beginning with Moses and all the prophets.

 

I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that Jesus set out to find these men as they journeyed on the road to Emmaus that He might call them back to Jerusalem, as well as restore them unto the brethren. There is absolutely no mention of Jesus instructing these men to return unto Jerusalem, however, what we do find is that after He made Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread they would rise up at once and return unto Jerusalem. What’s more, is that almost immediately after they arrived back in Jerusalem and were once again joined unto the brethren Jesus appeared unto them showing Himself very much alive. Oh it is something worth noting that Jesus was not only willing to appear unto these men and walk with them, but He was also willing to abide with them in the house and break bread with them. Jesus set out from wherever He was at this particular time that He might come unto and find these men as they were departing from the city of Jerusalem. Jesus would indeed and would in fact come unto these men that He might show and reveal Himself unto them as a means of inviting them back to Jerusalem. I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading this passage that Jesus’ appearing unto these men, Jesus’ walking with these men, Jesus expounding unto these men all things concerning Himself from Moses and the prophets, and even Jesus’ willingness to tarry and abide with them was all part of a beautiful plan to call and invite them back to Jerusalem. Even these men would speak one to another after He vanished from their sight and spoke of their hearts burning with them as he talked with them along the way.

 

A JESUS WHO IS WILLING TO COME AFTER YOU! A JESUS WHO IS WILLING TO COME AND GET YOU! If there is one thing I absolutely love when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that Jesus was absolutely willing to come unto and come after these men that when it was all said and done they might return unto Jerusalem. What we find within this passage is that after Jesus had expounded unto them all things concerning Himself from Moses and the prophets, after Jesus had tarried and abode with them, and after Jesus had made Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread, these men did not need an invitation to return unto Jerusalem. How absolutely astonishing it is to read this passage and find that Jesus didn’t command these men to return to Jerusalem before He vanished, and yet these men would rise up at once and return unto Jerusalem. Once these men had realized that it was the Lord who had appeared unto them they could not help but rise up and return unto Jerusalem—not only to confirm the testimony of the women, but also to present their own testimony. These men were divinely chosen by the Lord to be the recipients of a special visitation of the risen Jesus Christ as He would not only walk with them, but would also tarry and abide with them. What’s more, is that it would be there in the house Jesus would make Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for there is something to be said about the breaking of bread. There are simply certain things that cannot be accomplished and cannot be experienced without and apart from the breaking of bread. In fact, I am convinced this is what was so incredibly necessary about what is found in the final verses of the second chapter after the Holy Ghost had been poured out and the early Church was formed. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the second chapter of this New Testament book:

 

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).

 

I absolutely love reading the words which are found in this latter chapter of the gospel narrative written by Luke, for within it we find a Jesus who is willing to come after and come and get those who were departing from the place of promise and blessing before the appointed time. You cannot read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter the truth that Jesus was indeed and was in fact willing to come after and come and get these two men as they departed from Jerusalem that He might restore them unto Himself, as well as unto the brethren. What’s more, is that what we see and find with these two men is that their lives are a powerful witness and testimony to the words which Jesus spoke concerning tarrying in Jerusalem until they be endowed with power from on high. The simple fact that Jesus would go after these two men after they departed from the city of Jerusalem wonderfully and powerfully suggests the importance of tarrying in the city until they were endued with power on high. These two men would depart from the city of Jerusalem and would encounter the risen Christ as they walked along the way, and when they returned unto the city of Jerusalem and unto the brethren they would experience the risen Christ once more. Oh we must needs recognize and understand the tremendous testimony that surrounds these two men, for the testimony they have is not only that Christ was willing to come after them as they departed from Jerusalem, but also that Jesus sought to restore them unto Himself, restore them unto the brethren, and position them to receive the promise of the Father.

 

We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that Jesus was willing to come after these men and not only through walking with them, but also tarrying and abiding with them restore them unto Himself. It would be in the breaking of bread that Jesus made Himself known unto them, and it would be after they realized that they had entertained the risen Jesus they would immediately rise up and make the journey back to Jerusalem. The simple fact these men would make the journey back to Jerusalem suggests that this was the ultimate objective of Jesus when He appeared unto them along the way. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus appeared unto these men to demonstrate His willingness to walk with them along the way as they journeyed unto Emmaus. Oh it is indeed true Jesus could have simply appeared unto these two men, revealed Himself as being alive, and then commanded them to return unto Jerusalem, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. Jesus chose to walk with these men as they journeyed away from Jerusalem and journeyed toward Emmaus and would even abide with them. THE GOD OF THE JOURNEY! WHEN JESUS JOINS US ON THE JOURNEY! This is something we have a great need to recognize and pay attention to, for within the New Testament book of Acts we find Jesus once more appearing unto one as they journeyed from the city of Jerusalem and would make their way unto the city of Damascus. It would be on the road leading from Jerusalem to Damascus the Lord Jesus Christ would appear unto Saul of Tarsus and would reveal Himself as the Lord and the One whom he was persecuting. It would be this encounter with the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus that would forever change and transform the life of Saul of Tarsus and would ultimately result in His being transformed into the apostle Paul.

 

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the fact that the living and eternal God is indeed the God of the journey—and not only the God of the journey, but the God of the journeys we take. It would be while these two men would journey from Jerusalem unto Emmaus the Lord Jesus would appear to them as He would walk with them all the way to their destination. Not only would Jesus walk with them, but Jesus would break the bread of Life unto them as they walked before He would break the actual bread in the house with them. Jesus would break both the bread of Life and natural bread in their company and presence, and it would be as a result of the latter they would come to recognize and know that it was Jesus who had appeared unto them. With this being said we must also recognize the narrative of the Ethiopian eunuch who was journeying from Jerusalem in his chariot and reading the words of the prophet Isaiah as he went. The Spirit would prompt Philip to journey unto this man and upon finding him he would expound unto him the truth concerning Jesus the Christ. It would be after being baptized into the name of Christ this Ethiopian eunuch would then ask to be baptized in water. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this, for it further demonstrates and emphasizes the awesome truth surrounding the living and eternal God being the God of the journey and being willing to come after us in the journeys we take. Jesus was willing to come after these two men as they journeyed from the city of Jerusalem unto the village of Emmaus that He might restore them unto Himself and unto the brethren, and Jesus would appear unto Saul along the road from Jerusalem to Damascus that He might radically transform him into the man who would become the apostle Paul.

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