Luke 24: The Road to Emmaus

  • Read Luke 24:13-35 here.
  • If you missed Sunday’s sermon (April 11) you can listen to it here .

As I studied the text for this sermon, a phrase from v19 jumped out at me.  “Jesus was … powerful in word and deed“.  How I wish more Christians and more churches could be described this way.

As I’ve previously scoured church ad’s while seeking new ministry positions, I’ve often noticed churches looking for “sound” preachers.  (Like any preacher thinks of himself as ‘unsound’!)  What if “sound” was replaced with “powerful in word and deed”?  Would that change the type of people who apply?

Many churches over the years have emphasised “powerful in word”.  They seek a dynamic preacher, and someone who teaches what they understand to be the truth.  People can be proud of their church because of these two things.  In my experience, it’s much less common to find a church that says, “Yes, we have average preaching, but we’re powerful in deeds.”  For many, such a statement would seem “unsound”.

Jesus’ encounter with the travelers on the road to Emmaus demonstrates the importance of both words and deeds.  The travelers were leaving Jerusalem where they’d seen Jesus crucified.  They’d heard the testimony of the women and the apostles about the empty tomb, but they were still disheartened.  They’d heard the truth, but their life experience told them that dead men stay dead!

Jesus restores their hope in two ways:

FIRST: He directs them back to Scripture.  He shows them from the Old Testament how God always intended for the Messiah to suffer and die.  (Can you imagine what an awesome study that would have been to have with Jesus!!)  In v32 we’re told that their hearts “were burning within them while he… opened the Scriptures to us“.  God’s words are powerful!

SECOND: He gives them an experience they won’t forget. Jesus replaced their negative experience with a positive one.  Through his teaching he reoriented their expectations, but he didn’t leave them at that point.  He revealed himself to them, confirming his teaching, proving his resurrection.  He could have left them without revealing himself and they would have been wiser, with a greater appreciation for the Biblical teachings.  But he revealed himself, stayed with them, ate with them, comforted them, and loved them.  He restored their hope.

  • If we accept that churches aren’t perfect (hope that’s not a shock to you), and therefore they will emphasise either “word” or “deed”, why do we more often than not emphasise “word”?
  • It seems to me that the traditional Bible Class structure helps make “word” a church activity, but leaves “deed” as an individual responsibility.  How can Bible Classes better integrate “deeds” into the lessons?
  • What sort of “deeds” can churches perform that others would describe as “powerful”?
  • Have you ever known a person that you’d describe as “powerful in word and deed”?


  1. eirenetheou

    We have a saying in American English, “Put your money where your mouth is” or “Put up or shut up” — challenging a person to back up her words with action.

    Our brother Paul, in the midst of his endless arguments with factions in Corinth, recalls that some of them say, “His letters are profound and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his word means nothing.” Paul’s response is to the point. “Let these people understand this, that the word we write in letters when absent, this is the work we do when present.” Paul is telling his enemies that when he comes, he’ll “put up” not “shut up.”

    We are, of course, in every sense, the flesh of the Body of Christ, and while the Spirit is willing, the flesh is . . . weak. Our hope should be renewed, then, when Paul recalls to the Corinthians what the Lord had told him, “My strength is completed in your weakness.” Thanks be to God!

    God’s Peace to you.


  2. ozziepete

    Thanks d,

    In the case of Paul and the Corinthians, it’s really an issue of integrity. Will he walk the talk? That’s a vital question for the church as we’re far too often (correctly?) accused of hypocrisy.

    When I think of Jesus being powerful in word and deed, I guess I think more of his teaching and his compassion, not just consistency. Although I’m sure his teaching and lifestyle were consistent.

    I’ve been part of more churches that want to be powerful in teaching, or truth, than churches who have the goal of being powerful in deed, or compassion.

    Praise God, that He can fill in the numerous gaps we leave as we seek to live for Him!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s