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Missing The Best
Do you ever wonder if you are missing out on the very best? 

In this bible study we will look into how that can happen, even when things seem to be so confusing and hard to understand.

I will use Scripture taken from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for our study.

Our Scripture text will be taken primarily from Luke chapter 24.

To set the stage, we are near Jerusalem, just after the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus has risen from the grave.

Let’s begin:
Luke 24:13 And behold, that very day two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem. 
Luke 24:14 And they were talking with each other about all these things that had occurred. 

We see two of Jesus’ disciples walking together away from Jerusalem. As you might suspect, they are talking about what has just happened concerning Jesus.  

They are walking to Emmaus, a city within about two to three hours walking distance of Jerusalem.

This Passover Observance had been so different than all those before. The events from the previous week had completely shaken up the lives of the disciples. All that they had learned and expected had been dashed to pieces by what had happened. 

Can you picture in your mind, what must have been going through their thoughts? Instead of having Jesus to listen to this day, He had been crucified and buried in the tomb, with soldiers to guard it.

Let’s continue:
Luke 24:15 And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them. 
Luke 24:16 But their eyes were held, so that they did not recognize Him. 

A Stranger catches up with them and listens to what they are saying as He walks beside them.

They did not recognize Jesus. It is not clear why this happened. Perhaps they were so intent on what they were discussing that they didn’t look closely at Him.

Just a thought here: Have you read a passage of Scripture before, and then read it later? When you read the next time you noticed something that you missed before. It was always there on the page, but you didn’t see it the first time. You read every word on the page. It even sounded complete to you. Yet, you missed something there. You didn’t see it. Until you are ready to see all that is written, you cannot see it. When you are ready, there it is!! It’s an awesome feeling to discover it.

I believe this is what happened to the two disciples. They were prevented from seeing Jesus until they were ready to see Him.

Luke 24:17 And He said to them, What is this discussion that you are exchanging (throwing back and forth) between yourselves as you walk along? And they stood still, looking sad and downcast.

The two disciples stopped walking. They must have been astounded at the question put to them. Apparently this Stranger had walked along with them for a little while. Long enough for them to assume He knew what they were talking about.

Luke 24:18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, Do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days?

Cleopas couldn’t believe that this Stranger was not aware of what had taken place in Jerusalem. Hadn’t everyone heard?

Luke 24:19 And He said to them, What [kind of] things? And they said to Him, About Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a Prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people-- 
Luke 24:20 And how our chief priests and rulers gave Him up to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him. 
Luke 24:21 But we were hoping that it was He Who would redeem and set Israel free. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things occurred. 
Luke 24:22 And moreover, some women of our company astounded us and drove us out of our senses. They were at the tomb early [in the morning] 
Luke 24:23 But did not find His body; and they returned saying that they had [even] seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive! 
Luke 24:24 So some of those [who were] with us went to the tomb and they found it just as the women had said, but Him they did not see.

The Stranger questioned them further and the response gushed out from them. Can you hear the disappointment in their response?

They also told the Stranger about the incredible account of Jesus being raised from the dead. You can see that they did not expect Jesus to be raised from the dead. They thought it was all over.

This whole thing amazed them. They still did not know what to think.

Luke 24:25 And [Jesus] said to them, O foolish ones [sluggish in mind, dull of perception] and slow of heart to believe (adhere to and trust in and rely on) everything that the prophets have spoken! 
Luke 24:26 Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer all these things before entering into His glory (His majesty and splendor)? 
Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and [throughout] all the Prophets, He went on explaining and interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning and referring to Himself.  

The two disciples had been discussing what had happened from one perspective. They were looking at it from a worldly point of view. When the Stranger addressed them, He chided them for being slow to understand and for their failure to consider what had happened in light of the Scripture. Then the Stranger began to open the Scriptures concerning Jesus to them.

Can you imagine how they must have felt as this Stranger explained about Jesus and what His purpose was to be. The Word of God was made known to them in a way they had never experienced before.
Here was Jesus, teaching them everything about Himself.

Please note: They STILL did not know it was Jesus speaking to them.

I want this point to sink in for a moment. Their minds were being enlightened to understand all about Jesus. The real purpose of Jesus was being made known to them.

I would like us to look at verse 25 again:
Luke 24:25 And [Jesus] said to them, O foolish ones [sluggish in mind, dull of perception] and slow of heart to believe (adhere to and trust in and rely on) everything that the prophets have spoken!

Do you see it? What was still missing?

Jesus told them they were sluggish in mind, dull of perception. He also said they were slow of heart to believe.

Don’t miss this. These two disciples began to fully understand all that the Word of God had to say about Jesus. They understood with their minds……. But still did not know the One who stood before them, teaching them. Their hearts had not yet believed all that the Scriptures had to say about Jesus.

They were missing the best part.

Luke 24:28 Then they drew near the village to which they were going, and He acted as if He would go further. 
Luke 24:29 But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. So He went in to stay with them. 
Luke 24:30 And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, He took [a loaf of] bread and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then broke it and was giving it to them 
Luke 24:31 When their eyes were [instantly] opened and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished (departed invisibly).

The two wanted this Stranger to stay with them. They saw in Him something special. He agreed to stay with them and they shared the evening meal together.  

The Stranger took the bread, praised God and gave thanks and asked a blessing, broke it and was giving it to them.

All of a sudden their eyes were opened. They recognized Jesus before them, and then He vanished from their sight.

Can you picture this? Let’s read the next verse:
Luke 24:32 And they said to one another, Were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened and explained to us [the sense of] the Scriptures? 

Did they doubt any longer?

Something had happened to them. Something wonderful had taken place in their hearts. Can you sense the excitement they now felt? The account of the women when they came back from the tomb was now made real to them. Jesus had been with them while they walked to Emmaus. He had spent a good deal of time with them explaining the Scriptures. He was alive and well. They spoke to each other about their hearts being greatly moved and burning within them as Jesus taught them.

These two experienced great excitement in learning about Jesus. Now they knew Him and believed with their hearts.  

It’s hard to imagine that while following Jesus as He ministered they had never let Him into their hearts. They were “slow of heart to believe” as Jesus stated it.

It is possible to know the bible and even Jesus with our intellectual minds without ever knowing Jesus with our hearts.

The furthest distance, can be between the mind & the heart.

What that means is we become content with missing the best. God’s best is for us to receive Jesus fully into our hearts and not just in our minds (knowledge).

This is something to meditate upon. Are we missing the best?

Sometimes we yield “almost fully” to the Lord. Until we give Him all, we are missing the best.

Ask yourself this question: Is there peace and joy overflowing in my heart right now?

If there isn’t, you might be missing the best. I urge you to look within and examine whether you know Jesus with your heart, or just know about Him through knowledge. There is an incredible difference.

May God bless you and help you to give Him all and to receive God’s Best.

Amen


Bible Study by InAwe

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