I’ve shared the gospel enough times with people who had no interest in it to need some sort of encouragement not to give up. Perhaps you can identify with that. I found some of that encouragement this morning in Luke 24 in the story of Jesus talking with two of his followers on the road to Emmaus.
Cleopas and his friend are walking to the village of Emmaus when they are unexpectedly joined by a stranger who begins to interpret to them “in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (the Messiah).” (v. 27) It’s amazing to me that as the stranger reveals to these two such deep spiritual truths, they still don’t realize who he is!
But after arriving at Emmaus and sitting down to dinner together, Jesus takes bread and breaks it and gives it to them, and in that moment, “their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” This is what I long to see in the lives of people with whom I share the good news of all that the Scriptures reveal about Jesus the Messiah. I long to see their eyes opened so that they recognize Jesus for who he is. This is what I ask those of you who pray for our ministry to ask the Lord for. Pray that God would grant spiritual sight to those who are blind to the glory of Jesus Christ.
It is interesting that the revelation of Jesus to these two occurs in the breaking of the bread. This is most likely a reference to the Lord’s Supper, which is itself a revelation of the sacrifice for sins that Jesus made when he offered his body and his blood on the cross. It is in the declaration of that event, the Calvary event, that blinded eyes are opened.
That is not to say that everyone who hears the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection will be able to see with spiritual sight the glory of Christ. But when God in his grace opens blinded eyes and brings people to faith, he does it through the proclamation of the gospel. It’s difficult to proclaim the gospel to spiritually blind people who may not care two cents about what you are saying, but how necessary it is to be willing to open our mouths and to share the message without which no one can be saved (Acts 4:12), and trust that God will use it to save those lost sheep he has committed himself to finding (John 10:16).
This also shows us how we can pray for unbelievers: “Lord, open their eyes to see the glory of Christ the way you opened the eyes of those two in Emmaus.” Notice also that after Cleopas and his friend go to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples about what happened, Jesus appears again to them all. And verse 45 says, “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”
“Lord Jesus, as we are faithful to declare the gospel message to those around us, please open their minds to understand the Scriptures. Give spiritual sight that blinded sinners may see the glory of Christ.”
In verse 47, Jesus says that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Commit yourself anew to proclaiming the good news of repentance for forgiveness of sins. Commit yourself anew to pray for those who are hearing that message. Pray that God would open their eyes and their minds to understand the Scriptures and to see the glories of Jesus, our wonderful Savior. Be encouraged as you speak to and pray for the hardest of hearts. God is able to open closed minds and eyes.