Luke 24:28-29 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When was the last time you wished you didn’t have anything to do because you wanted more than anything to spend time with Jesus? When was the last time you wished church didn’t let out around 11:30 am because you wanted more time with Him? The two disciples on the Road to Emmaus didn’t want their time with Jesus to end. At this point in the story, they didn’t even know that it was the Resurrected Jesus that had joined them on their walk. They just knew that as He opened the Scriptures to them, their hearts began to burn (Luke 24:32). The Word of God was calling something to life inside of them. They were being stirred in a way they hadn’t experienced before. There was a spiritual hunger being cultivated, a curiosity that was being fostered. They wanted more of what they were hearing. They were willing to go on with this stranger into the evening.
Luke 24:30-3130 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
Here is what I know: An encounter with the Risen Christ leaves a true Christ-follower wanting more. The two on the Road to Emmaus hadn’t gotten enough of their encounter with Jesus, and so they asked Him to stay. They wanted more of the Word, more of the fellowship with His presence. They wanted to live with the same conviction and understanding as their travel companion. Are we that kind of disciple? Do we have a passion, a drive to linger longer in the presence of God? Do we get stirred up and have a need for more of Jesus?
The Apostle Paul had that kind of desire. He said in Philippians 3:7-14 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.
Paul was so obsessed with all things Jesus that he was willing to lose all things personal in order to possess all things Jesus. His gains, his achievements, his milestone accomplishments were nothing when compared with his desire to know Christ. He couldn’t get enough of Jesus.
Paul said about his achievements in verse 9: I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
Paul wasn’t going to hold on to anything that could cause people to give him praise or glory. He was going to pursue and hold fast to only that which came through faith and not any kind of words or personal striving so that he could point others to Jesus. Perhaps verse 10 would be considered Paul’s life verse or life goal:
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul wanted to know Christ in His fullness. He wanted to be all-in with Jesus. Jesus had been all-in to the point of death. Paul said he desired to live with the same commitment that Jesus had lived and died with for Him. Paul went on to say that he would press on to take hold of the life of Christ. That is why Jesus died and rose, so that we could share in His life, so that we could possess His life, so that we could live His life.
How intense is your desire, your passion to be with and to be transformed by Jesus? Maybe we don’t understand what we receive when we enter into a relationship with Jesus. Maybe we don’t understand how satisfying, how special, how life-giving it is. Maybe we don’t understand what we gain when we get Jesus.
When you get Jesus, you gain a love like you have never known.
The love we receive from Jesus is difficult to explain because its dimensions exceed anything we have language for. Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:18 that Christ’s followers would know the dimensions of Christ’s love and he prayed in verse 19 that they would know God’s love that surpassed knowledge in order that they would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Even though you may have experienced God’s love, it is hard to put into words what it is like.
It’s a love more than feelings.
If love was a feeling, we may have been sunk. I say that because when Jesus wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane, I don’t know that love was the predominant emotion. I don’t know that He was feeling like loving through the laying down of His life. To be honest, His feelings told Him to cut and run, to find a way out, but there was no other way for the love of God to be executed than for Him to lay down His life. Jesus chose love over His feelings. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
It’s a love more than words.
Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, (Matthew 5:43-44) and then He walked His talk. He loved everyone who did Him dirty. He loved those who plotted against Him, those who falsely accused Him. While we were enemies of God, Romans 5:8, Jesus died for us.
I had never considered it before, but nowhere in the Gospels do we read that Jesus said to anyone, “I love you,” but the absence of the words doesn’t equal an absence of love because Jesus loved with action. His followers knew how He felt. There was no doubt that Jesus loved all people.
John actually gave himself the nickname, “The disciple that Jesus loved.” That statement doesn’t mean John believed he was loved better or differently than anyone else. It simply meant he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus loved him. When John got to writing his New Testament letters, the books known as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, he made love the resounding theme. He talked about how love is an action. He allowed the way Jesus had loved him to become the standard for what true love looks like.
We know in John 13 that Jesus demonstrated His love for His disciples when He washed their feet. He said to them in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Listen, to be washed by the love of God is to experience a soul cleansing that produces lasting peace.
It’s a love we don’t deserve. There was nothing about us or nothing we did that drew God to us in love. He loves us just because. And nothing we do, even things against Him, can cause Him to stop loving us. There is simply no earthly comparison to the love of God.
In addition to this amazing love,
When you get Jesus, you gain freedom you have never known. Sin is something we are born with. It is suffocating. It makes us slaves. We are born with a sin nature which means we are born with a desire to do the wrong things, things that lead to addiction and broken relationships, things that ruin our reputation, demolish our potential, destroy our bodies and derail our dreams.
Jesus offers a way out from all of that. His blood, shed for us on Calvary’s cross, paid the penalty sin demanded. He was our substitute. His righteousness qualified Him to take our punishment so that we could go free. We don’t have to live as sinners, and we don’t have to be labeled by the sins we have committed. The weight of sin comes off of our backs.
When we receive Jesus as our Savior, and His life is deposited into our lives, we receive His authority and power. We are no longer subject to the devil or his schemes. We have authority over Satan and all demonic forces in the name of Jesus. He has nothing to use against us to keep us in his grip, and we have power to overcome any temptation he places in front of us.
When you receive Jesus as the Lord of your life, you gain an identity that sets you free from any shame, guilt and condemnation. Anything that weighs you down gets lifted off of you so that you truly have the strength and vitality, the joy and endurance to live life to the fullest. You can dream and live by faith instead of fear.
Isaiah 40:31 puts it this way, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” In Jesus there is freedom to run and to keep on running. You truly become unstoppable when Jesus takes over your life.
When Jesus becomes our life, we are free to enjoy life because when we gain Jesus, we gain a life partner who does the heavy lifting for us. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus invites us to yoke up with Him, to join forces with Him, which means we gain all of His force, all of His might, all of His power. When your life is paired with the life of Jesus, there is nothing you cannot overcome. Nothing you face is greater than Jesus.
When you get Jesus, you gain blessings you have never known.
You gain spiritual blessings when Jesus becomes your life. They are the intangibles that make this life a daily joy. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Just like it is hard to describe the dimensions of God’s love, it is hard to explain the vast array of spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus.
There is spiritual confidence and authority given to believers that enables us to have abundant life. We can take control of our circumstances instead of living as victims. That right there would be enough for me to sign up, how about you? We gain Holy Spirit wisdom and peace for every life happening. Don’t we need to know how to navigate the challenges of relationships, parenting, aging, careers, and decision-making? Because of this spiritual confidence and authority, it can always be well with our souls even when it isn’t well with our circumstances.
We also gain a clarity of purpose and sense of calling that give us a clear path to follow. There is wonderful satisfaction that comes from knowing you matter, your life matters, and that you are here on a God-given assignment. You don’t have to stumble and fumble through life trying to “make something of yourself.” You can follow Jesus, the One who made you, and He will show you why you were created. You can gain a sense of direction for your life that leads to constant fulfillment. When you are a Child of God, you are never in limbo. You are never spinning your wheels. You are never simply here to exist and take up space. Rather, you are here to make an impact and to bring transformation to people’s lives just as Jesus did. How rewarding! How thrilling!
There is a strength that increases even as you advance in age or as your body begins to limit you. There is favor with people and earthly blessings that God simply works out in your life as you trust Him. The world calls them coincidences. We know they are miracles, and we are given spiritual discernment to see them, to see God in action, as we allow Christ to move in our lives.
And dare I mention that the promises of God belong to everyone who has taken the name of Jesus? Every Bible promise becomes yours to claim. That means, if you need what has been promised, you will receive it because God keeps every one of His promises. Oh my, do we know what we have in Christ?
When you get Jesus, you gain a love you have never known, a freedom you have never known, blessings you have never known and a Best Friend like you have never known.
He will go everywhere with you. He will never change His plans or bail on you. He has your back and will boldly step in front of you when you need to be protected. Jesus can both protect you and correct you, in ways that make you better and so thankful that He is in your life. He will be there for you and comfort you when no one else will and in ways that no one else can. He will always be for you. He is loyal. He is trustworthy. He will never give up on you. He is the constant encourager. He is the biggest cheerleader a person could know. When you are hurting, He is hurting with you. When you need prayer, He is praying with and for you.
I’m just telling you that when you get Jesus, you gain more than you expected.
There is no way you can experience what I am talking about just from hearing about Jesus. There is no way you can experience what I am describing just from reading about Jesus. There is no way you can experience this incredible spiritual experience from just attending church once or a twice a week. You have to let Him walk with you. Like the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, you have to let Jesus begin to have your attention. You have to welcome Him into your home. You have to spend time with Him to see what He is really like.
Let me try to explain it using the illustration of brand-new cars. You know there is all kinds of crazy technology in new cars today. They will literally parallel park for you. They will sense when a car is passing you and alert you through a blinking light on your side mirror. In other words, new cars now assist you with your blind spots. Also, new cars have technology to turn your bright lights off and on for you as they are needed.
As of February 2019, there is technology that uses cameras on the front of cars, that allows the computer system to adapt to the speed of traffic while the car is in cruise control. You can set the distance you want to have between you and the car in front of you. If the traffic ahead of you slows down, your car will adjust its speed on its own. New cars will beep at you if you are drifting over a line or even make your seat vibrate to jolt you to become alert. There is new technology in cars that senses when a collision is imminent, and that technology sends signals to the brakes to engage. Newer vehicles have everything from stolen vehicle tracking software to programs that disable the audio in a vehicle if the seatbelt isn’t buckled. From OnStar capabilities to wireless internet connections, new cars are now fully loaded with features to give you the best possible experience which includes instruction, direction, comfort and protection.
Hearing about that technology, reading up on it, having someone explain it to you at a dealership all means little until you actually get into a car with those features and begin to drive it. As you immerse yourself in what is possible and begin to use what is available to you, your transportation experience will be transformed. You will be enlightened in ways you could never understand if you stayed on the outside looking in, if you remained limited to the realm of information only. You have to enter the realm of experience to fully appreciate what is available to you as a driver.
Hear me. In order to fully appreciate what is possible, what is available to you, you have to move from information to experience with Jesus. You have to give Him the time to enter into your story and to walk with you in your daily experience, and when you do, your heart will burn. When you do, your mind will be blown. When you do, your desire will be for more and more of Him. You won’t want time with Jesus to end. You won’t want a life disconnected from the Risen Lord. You’ll say, “Stay with me, Jesus.”
David said in Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Does that sound like an expression coming from someone who has simply ingested information about God? Absolutely not. That is expression from someone who has experienced who God is and has been left wanting more.
Do you want more? Are you ready to move on in the things of God? Do you want to see what you haven’t yet seen? Do you want more peace, more power? Do you want a greater awareness of God’s presence or a keener ability to hear God’s voice? Do you long for a renewed sense of purpose and destiny? Do you need some burdens lifted or some strongholds of sin broken? Do you need a Best Friend who will never leave your side?
Just take note of the fact that when the two disciples who had been walking to Emmaus asked Jesus if He would stay, He was glad they asked. Jesus will always stay where He is welcome. Jesus will always come where He is invited. Maybe until now you didn’t realize what you could gain if you would lose your current life and allow Jesus’ life to become yours. But I urge you; Don’t take my word for it and don’t miss out because you are unwilling to take the ride. Go all-in with Jesus. Pursue Him with passion. Ask Him to hang out with you. Invite Him into your home, your heart, your daily life.