Just a brief word, dear friends, at this point. If you will please turn to the familiar 24th chapter of the Gospel by Luke. The Gospel by Luke, chapter 24, at verse 16: "But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him." Verse 31, "...and their eyes were opened and they knew Him."
I would first like you to notice the exact way in which these things are said: "Their eyes were holden that they should not, that they should not, know Him." And their eyes were open? No, "...their eyes were opened!" Notice that in both places it is as though something deliberately happened to them or acted; as though there were an act on the part of someone, that made them unable to know Him; as though someone had put a veil over their eyes deliberately, just deliberately, that they should not know Him. And then it was as though that was just as deliberately removed; and they were not open, but opened! An act in removing that blindness and they knew Him by the act.
You may not agree with me, I don't mind if you don't, but I believe that from the time of the disciple's call to the day of Pentecost, they were in a state of parenthesis. Everything was parenthetical. And that parenthesis was gathered up and cumulative in the forty days after the Resurrection. So that what was happening in that parenthetical period was incidental; that is, a number of incidents without any finality. Something happened and another thing happened, but it never went through. It just happened, just happened. On the day of Pentecost, the incidents were gathered together and made the permanent, normal Christian life; the continuous thing. This was something happening now, and He vanishes. It hasn't gone through, hasn't been established, nothing positive and remaining. Another thing will happen like that, perhaps in a moment, in an hour, and He vanishes, He took off. It's an incident, and another incident. And when you come to the day of Pentecost, all the "incidents" are gathered together into one basis of life for the whole dispensation.
And that, I believe, is the meaning here... this particular incident at Emmaus, on the road to Emmaus, and at Emmaus. Do you notice, in that walk (it's a focal point, I feel, of this whole conference) on the way to Emmaus, these two who walked and were sad. They were in despondency and despair. Their hearts were down, as we say, in their boots. Everything had gone; nothing left. They were dwelling upon the Cross from the purely natural side; on the death side of the Cross, the death side of the Cross. If you stay there, that's where you will be.
Oh, I have been in a time in my life where the message of the Cross, yes, the message of the Cross... but always the death side. It was as though [I was] standing over a corpse and dissecting it, bit by bit, bit by bit, taking this corpse to pieces and exposing it, dwelling upon it, examining it. The self, the self... all occupied with this wretched dead corpse, and that was the interpretation of the message of the Cross: the death, the death, the death. And you know, it got nowhere. It led to a lot of confusion and a lot of contradiction, and this is where these two were, just on the death side of the Cross from the natural standpoint. The death, the death. "We trusted that it had been He that should redeem Israel," but, but, but... "three days elapsed," and so on and so on. And so they were as they were: sad and miserable, perplexed and wretched because they were on the death side only.
The Lord Jesus, incognito, came along side, took out the Bible and went through the Bible showing that although the Cross was constituent in the purpose and work and plan of God, the Cross was not an end; was not an end only of the natural. The Cross really was intended to be an open door to a new hope, "Blessed be the God and Father...."
Peter, who was one of these men up there in Jerusalem, very miserable, came to see and say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath begotten us again to a living hope by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And the Lord Jesus on that walk opened the Scriptures and He opened, so to speak, He opened the Cross into a new life, a new realm, not an end in death, but a beginning in Life. And you notice what a change, what a change in them; they got to the end of the day, to the end of the journey, and they had said, "The day is far spent! The day is far spent, it's dangerous to be on the road now at night, the brigands are on the road, it's dangerous, and, uh, well, we're tired." But brigands or no brigands, tiredness or no tiredness, they went back to Jerusalem at the double, because He had shown that the Cross, while it was in the plan of God for a purpose, really, it was not an end, but a beginning.
Now then, to our words: "Their eyes were deliberately holden that they should not know Him. But after He had expounded the full meaning of the Cross... ought not, ought not the Christ to suffer and to enter into His glory." The full meaning of the Cross; the Life side; the glory side; He had given them that. Their eyes were opened; deliberately opened. What I am saying is this, dear friends, that there is a Divine Fiat which should take place when, when the Cross has had its place, done its work, been accepted for its own meaning, but we have moved on, onto Resurrection ground; onto the Life side. Then our eyes are opened. And the focus of all this, which I think to be so important, oh, I can't tell you how important I know it to be: the real issue of a right apprehension of the Cross and entering into it, it's meaning, is that a spiritual faculty inside is created for spiritual understanding.
I'm going to explain it in this way. For years, for years, I was a Christian. Yes, I know I belonged to the Lord. I was a preacher of the gospel; I was an expounder of the Scriptures. Yes, I could take you through all the scriptures, and find Christ in all the Scriptures. I could do it all! Expound the scriptures, analyse the books of the Bible; give it to you all like that. Then, there came a crisis, a deep crisis: a crisis of the Cross, yes, for an end; an end that has its place and an essential place, but the crisis of the Cross, or the climax of the Cross, in a new position!
A New Position
And what was the chief mark of that new position? It is what I have always called, and many of you have heard me speak of it, my open heaven, an opened heaven; a faculty, a spiritual faculty was, so to speak, born within. Whereas before all this work on the Scriptures was hard going, having to get the latest books on the doctrine of the Cross; and all that... cumulating all the works belonging to the theological libraries. My word, it was hard work! As I have said: finding the straw myself for making the bricks! Oh, years of it.
The crisis, the turning point, now that was forty-seven years ago. From that day to this, I have never had to put in any labourious work to get a message! An open heaven! If you don't believe it, believe me, remember what I said this morning: I want another whole week just to touch on one aspect of things. You know, it's like that! It's like that. It's the twelve baskets full over after all the feedings, of all the days and the hours. An opened heaven! You're seeing, seeing, seeing! More and more!
But what was it that I came to see with that new faculty? It's a wonderful thing. It's a faculty; it isn't an intellectual ability at all. Nothing like that, I haven't got any brains, I'm a no-talent man in that realm. No, it isn't there. What did I see? Did I see the Cross? No, I did not, in the first place. Did I see the Church? Not in the first place. However much of the Cross I've come to see, and however much of the Church I have come to see, how did I come to see? I saw the Lord Jesus. And I came to see that it's the Person that makes the Cross. You can have a thousand, a million crosses, with not that effect. It's the Person.
You've got to interpret the Cross in the light of the Person. Who is it that is in the Cross? That's why Paul said to these very, very intellectual Corinthians, "I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." And Him crucified! No, seeing the Lord Jesus, that alone is the way of seeing the meaning of the Cross.
The Church? Oh, a wonderful subject, the Church. Wonderful subject. The Church... you can keep on for years talking about the Church. How did I come to see the Church? I came to see it, and I believe I did, because when I saw, it was an emancipating thing; from all the imitations, all the imitations, all the traditions. I saw the Church because I saw the Lord Jesus; that He! If you understand the Lord Jesus, you know what the Cross and the Church is. You know what the Church is if you see the Lord Jesus because, after all, what is the Church? It is but the embodiment, the corporate embodiment of Himself. And this Church is a vast thing because it is as great as Christ. And if you can get the dimensions of Christ, you'll see the dimensions. Do you see what I am trying to say?
Here then, everything is gathered into and focused upon one thing. You have heard the expositions. Perhaps you have been in the despair of the death. Perhaps everything has gone; everything is gone. Or perhaps you have been in confusion, but you've heard the expositions, Moses and the Prophets, and all the Psalms. But you still are held until an act, an act of God the Holy Spirit; a Fiat which means your eyes are opened; your inward eyes opened. Something has happened.
Oh, how I've known all that! These men were men of the Bible. They were Hebrews, as far as we can tell. They knew the Scriptures; men of the Bible, but when they had their eyes opened, it was as though they had never known the Bible at all. It's a new Bible!
You've had all the teachings, the expositions. Dear friends, what we need is this act; this inward act. Oh, I can't explain it. I've no time even to try to expound it, but it is something infinitely precious, infinitely wonderful if the eyes are opened and you see not Zion as a doctrine, a teaching... not even the overcomers as some thing in the Bible, but you see Him.
Oh, I'm not thinking about visions, you know I'm not, of a person... these psychic apparitions, visitations. I'm thinking of a spiritual seeing of the significance, the significance, the implications of the Son of God: vast, eternal, beyond all comprehension... His greatness. And it's Himself that interprets everything; interprets everything by the act of the Spirit. That act of the Spirit must come upon all Scriptures and everything else in our tradition, and open our eyes.
That's what I meant, you see, they had the incident; the incident of the opened eyes. And it meant a lot. They went back to Jerusalem; told them all about it. But still they hadn't seen because presently they will say, "Lord, dost Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" They're still in the "not". They hadn't seen, they hadn't seen. But from the day of Pentecost, the act of the Spirit: an entirely new conception because they had now, by the Spirit, seen the Lord.
Do you understand what I am saying? And I say to you, go away from this time saying, "Lord, with all the teaching, all we've heard, all the Bible before us, do this inward thing of creating this spiritual faculty, being able to see what no natural eyes can see." It will be transforming.
And they went to Jerusalem and they broke in on the others. And what does the chapter say? They told them how He was made known unto them in the breaking of bread. The Cross on all its sides, death and Life. This, oh that the Lord would make this simple time, this short, brief time, in the breaking of bread, time when we see, we see Him. Now eyes are not open, but opened; something happens to us. Ask the Lord to make it like that after this week: opened eyes!