A Message for the New Year - The Communion of Hearts (Luke 24:1-24)

Harold S. Paisley

In this most beautiful portion of God’s precious word, we have a presentation of four hearts variously filled, but finally brought into complete communion.

1. Peter: A Puzzled Heart

The first mentioned is that of Peter who is said to have "wondered in himself at that which had come to pass." There were abundant reasons for this wonder and as it became better known, the wonder deepened and heightened. It is not over yet, nor ever will be! Peter had ended his run to the sepulcher to find the linen clothes laid by themselves but the enigma was his as with the woman who came earlier, "Him they saw not."

2. Cleopas: A Perplexed Heart

Cleopas is one of the well known travelers to the village of Emmaus. As he walked, he reasoned with his companion, finding only perplexity and bewilderment. He was completely nonplussed at the things that had happened. The one that they trusted to redeem Israel had been condemned to death and was crucified. The hopes of Cleopas were dashed and with a confused mind and sad heart he walked into the setting sun to his home in the little known village of Emmaus.

3. The Unnamed Companion: A Pensive Heart

\Melancholy thoughts filled the second pilgrim as he shared the somber facts. He was astonished also with the tidings given to them by certain women of their company which had visited the garden tomb early that morning. They had testified to the fact of angelic visitors who announced that their Lord was alive. These unusual reports reflected upon added to the greater confusion of this unknown traveler. So, also his companion, having no clue to guide them. They were "slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken." Confusion will always be evidenced when unbelief prevails.

4. The Lord Jesus: A Peaceful Heart

There is another heart in which unbelief, perplexity or enigma never found a lodging, a heart full of light and love. That heart of peace is yearning to come into contact with those other hearts. The heart of Christ is filled with joy. He is the fountain of joy longing to pour true happiness into downcast and doubting souls.

The various glimpses of the Lord on the day of His glorious resurrection proves that His gracious heart was full of calm triumph which he desired to share with His true-hearted, though imperfect followers.

Consider again the three hearts first referred to when the heart of the risen Lord came into contact with them. "The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared unto Peter." How must he have wondered when the Friend who he denied thrice, sought him out on His day of resurrection to share the joy of His glorious victory. No wonder a few days later he could invite the Lord to look into his heart and see if his words "I love thee" were true, as the previous were false, "I do not know the man.

Also, the two favored travellers, with their unsolved doubts and apparently contradictory facts, became calm in heart, when the Lord expounded to their slow hearts the enlightening Scriptures concerning Himself. The writings of Moses and all the prophets had already spoken of the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. The one who walked with them unfolded words of truth and love. Their hearts burned within them; they could not part with such an instructor. They prevailed upon Him to abide with them as it was toward evening and the day was far spent. He went in to tarry with them and was made known to them in breaking of bread. He vanished from their sight, but was enthroned in their hearts forever.

Wherever they went, they henceforth had the blessed assurance, that He who went with them so condescendingly on the Emmaus way, the One who so lovingly talked, would not forget them when seated on the throne of His Father and their Father, His God and their God.

May we too as we enter the unknown and untrodden way of another year say to Him from our heart, "abide with us" and thus teach us to abide in Him, that our joy may be full and perfect peace our portion on our homeward path.

Lord when I trace that wondrous walk
The evening of Thy rising day,
Hear Thee so wisely kindly talk
My spirit owns Thy gentle sway.

* * * * *

No need have I ever to trouble my breast,
Or fear what the morrow may bring;
The heart of my Father is planning my way,
And I am a child of the King.