Key Number Three: As Though …

And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further[1].

First of all, what an amazing sentence we find here! What a surprising way to speak about the Lord!  There are not many places in the Bible where God pretends – where He acts “as though” He is going to do something. Like everything in this story, this word is extremely meaningful: In our own walk, we mainly see “as though” things – and we cannot know God’s thoughts and God’s heart simply by looking at things which are seen. God loves each one of us and the desire of His loving heart is to reveal Himself and His love to us and to stay with us forever, but for that precise purpose, in order to be with us forever, He often acts “as though”. Do you remember the story of Joseph? In the inner room, invisible to his brother Benjamin, he wept out of love for his brother – and yet, upon leaving this room, he did something completely opposite to what we might expect and what he himself probably longed to do. He washed his face so there would be no trace of his tears of love, he restrained himself … and then – went on with his plan, as though he did not care for Benjamin. It’s difficult to imagine a more graphic or expressive illustration of the difference between the unseen truth – and the visible “as though” things.

The Lord cannot reveal His love until His plan is completed – hence we constantly face “as though” realities.  Lazarus hadn’t read John 11:4:  now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, and when Yeshua didn’t come to heal him, it seemed as though He didn’t care. Job and his comforters didn’t read the heavenly prologue of the book of Job, and everything that happened to Job seemed as though God was punishing him for something he had done. All these stories are “as though” stories – and we find this mystery in the Scripture again and again: the secret of God’s love (Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus[2]), which is hidden within God’s plan (this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God[3]). Isn’t it the same in our lives? So often we feel that the day is far spent and He just went by, went further.  We have to hold to this message of the Emmaus story, we have to remember that this is just a feeling, just an impression: just as though.

However, this is only one part of the message. There is something more that these words teach us.  In fact, this particular Greek verb προσεποιησάμην: make as though, act as if, pretend – occurs only one additional time in the whole Bible: John 8:6, in the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.  “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.” Why did he act as though he didn’t hear them?  We see the same pattern here: He has a message of love and forgiveness for this woman, but He would not speak to her and reveal this message to her, unless and until His purpose is achieved and His plan is completed. What is the plan, then, and what is the purpose? He is waiting for  the response of the heart. He is testing the hearts of the people around – and he is testing them by this “as though” reality. Although the eyes of these people were still restrained and they did not know who He was, their hearts were clearly experiencing the touch of His Spirit – and being convicted by their own conscience, they went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst[4].  Thus, His test was complete: they acted upon their hearts, not upon their eyes.

Back to our story – What happens there when Yeshua makes as though he would go further?

 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them[5].

They constrained Him – and I want us to understand: this is the only thing in this whole story that they actually chose to do by their own free will. At first glance, it was just a natural human concern: it was toward evening, and the day was far spent. However, we know that later, they would say one to another, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?[6] In other words, by this point, their hearts had been burning, they had a sense that their meeting with this ‘stranger’ was not yet over – and when they urged him to stay, they acted upon their hearts, not upon their eyes. It is crucial for us to understand that first, they constrained Him – they asked Him to remain with them (He always wants to stay with us, even if He might act as though He is going past) – and only then, and only for that reason, He went in to stay with them.

It is always like this is in Scripture – God is waiting for the response of our heart.   When the Lord revealed Himself to Moshe in the burning bush, upon seeing this bush, Moshe said: I will now turn aside and see this great sight[7]. If Moshe hadn’t said this, if he hadn’t turned aside to see this great sight, he would not have become the one who led Israel out of Egypt – for it is written that the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, and only then God called to him from the midst of the bush[8]. Only when Moshe started to walk in the direction of God – and God saw that – only then did He speak to him. Each of us must know and remember this: the sovereign Lord Himself chooses when to reveal Himself to us; He Himself intervenes and makes our hearts burn within us; He Himself calls us to turn aside – to listen and respond. But whether He remains to unfold the purpose of his intervention, depends on our heart response: whether we constrain Him to stay with us – whether we turn aside to listen to Him. And this is our key for today, KEY NUMBER THREE:  often enough, God acts as though – He withholds His true feelings, desires and intentions from us, in order to serve His higher purpose for our lives. However, it is always our decision whether we trust our eyes or our hearts. There is still something we can do even when our eyes are restrained: listen to our heart!

[1] Lk..24:28

[2] John 11:5

[3] John 11:4

[4] John 8:9

[5] Lk..24:29

[6] Lk. 24:32

[7] Ex. 3:3

[8] Ex. 3:4

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

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  1. Maureen Harrison

    Thank you Julie
    It is so precious to know in our times of deepest need Yeshua is loving us all the more ,,, What a comfort to know Him when all else s gone.

  2. Leaky Mutahi

    True eye opening knowledge. You can visualize His Glory in your writings

  3. Sharon Stern

    Well, Linda, I must say; you hit the bulls eye in my understanding of this spiritual application in my life. The real question is how do we develop hearts that burn for truth and revelation and relationship with Yeshua and HaShem? Exactly, by obeying the greatest commandment/instruction of all as stated in Deuteronomy 6:5 after the foundational statement and commandment of all in Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel! HaShem is our God, HaShem is one!  You shall love HaShem your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Yeshua even challenges us in Matthew 7 – ““ Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” So, my job is keep my heart fixated on Him and His will and His Kingdom, for it is out of my heart (Mark 7:14-23) that my behavior will either be a blessing or defiling. So, while this hidden-ness concept that keeps Maschiach behind the curtain for many; and the fact that it is up to HaShem as to the timing for His revelation in the lives of individuals; and also this concept of seeming ‘as though’ —- how we interpret the physical realm and situations that surround us as blinding us from the true reality — despite all these facts; hallelujah for the revelation of Maschiach and the provision of the Ruach haKodesh that leads us into all truth — opening the eyes of our hearts, so to speak, to see through spiritual eyes, rather than physical eyes which will often deceive us. May we all have hearts that burn for deeper revelation of Torah truth in our lives that binds us closer to our Messiah and our Heavenly Father to do their will on earth as it is in heaven. This is our opportunity to engage in “Tikkun Olam” – repairing what is broken and participating in the work that is necessary to return to the garden once again and to usher in the return of Maschiach swiftly and soon.

  4. Henrietta Wisbey

    There is a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God,
    the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. Ps.46:4

    Beautiful river flowing through this blog
    and these contributions streams of delight
    making glad all our hearts.
    May you all be blessed
    Henrietta

    1. Henrietta Wisbey

      Dear Julia
      I hadn’t read your post so good to know one is flowing in the river of His pure delight.
      I love. Thank you Henrietta

  5. henrietta Wisbey

    Dear Julia
    Beautiful “as though” reminds me of the Psalmist: one thing have I desired…..one thing. H.F. Lyte penned a beautiful hymn Abide with me and one line from that contains this penetrating thought: “the darkness deepens Lord with me abide.”
    Blessings Henrietta

    1. Julia Blum

      Dear Henrietta,- as it happens so many times, the Scripture you quote is on my heart right now. Psa 27: one thing have I desired… – The Psalm for the month of Elul. Did you read my post in Influitive, about Elul, – or is it just His Spirit that put the same Scripture on our hearts?

  6. Mary Yeh

    “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?” I have a burning heart hearing our Yeshua in your beautiful writings! I have been under the best teachers of the Scriptures since I was brought into a life relationship with Yeshua mingling with my spirit since I was 19 years old (now in my senior years), all being men and yet you being a woman, your writings blaze with the beauty of Mashiah in the intricacies of your crafted words conveying what He is to us! You are truly a light bearer reflecting His Heart and His Image! You have made my heart rejoice that the Holy Spirit is still shining brightly from His Torah with the New Testament igniting all the Tenach and unveiling what a marvelous One Israel has produced to save all of us and be the Glory of Israel (I pray soon!) You are a great encouragement to me! I will always stay hooked up to the eternal River of Life that is enthroned in your writings! You are now on my daily prayers specifically (as also Dr Eli and Israel and all the overcomers) to keep running the race and finish your glorious craft to His Glorious Name!

    By the way, I purchased 2 of your books on my Kindle Fire and absolutely love your vision! I can listen to them over and over and am electrified and radioactive to touch others with your messages! Thank you!

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you so much, Mary! Thank you for your kind words – and thank you so much for praying for me! It’s precious and I so appreciate it! I certainly need His guidance and leading in administrating this Blog! Blessings!

  7. Paul G Fricker

    Thank U Julia for such an insightful comment. But on a different thought, do you think these two were husband and wife? I gave heard it said that they were. Love to hear your thoughts on this

    1. Julia Blum

      Hi Paul, I’ve never heard it taught this way and I don’t think so .

      1. Dorothy Healy

        Paul, the reason why it has been suggested that they may be husband and wife is that one is named Cleopas. Mary, the wife of Cleopas was at the foot of the cross with the other Marys, which means she must have been close to Jesus and probably Cleopas was also, so perhaps they were walking together here. I think they were certainly special disciples whose hearts had been prepared for this encounter.

      2. Paul Fricker

        Don Miller, who was a Southern Baptist Pastor and who is now in glory, teaches that these two were in fact husband and wife. He has a web page. “Don Miller – Bible Praying men”. Thank you for your comment; be blessed as you bring forth God’s truth to others.

  8. Hendrik Jansen van Rensburg

    Thank you so much. This made me know my Saviour so much better. What a great He has for us.

  9. Frank Fisher

    I so much appreciate what you have revealed here. And your style is such that it ‘as though’ I was sitting in your classroom.

  10. John miller

    Good comments. As in SS …the call is Come away My fair one come away! or in Revelation to John to Come up higher! or to the inner circle, Come on the Mount, or closer to pray with Me. How loving to call for closer intimacy! Yet, He will not push us further than our hearts are willing. John

  11. Roy Smith

    Many thanks and blessings Dr Julia for a wonderful insight to the scriptures.

  12. Grandpatugalong

    Beautiful, Julia. Somehow I missed it. How does this key relate to the hidden Messiah?

    1. Julia Blum

      This key speaks of the response of the heart while the eyes are still restrained. They didn’t recognize Him, their eyes were still restrained – but their hearts were burning, and that’s why they urged Him to stay. They listened to their hearts – and because of that, their eyes would be opened and they would recognize Him soon.

  13. Danny

    Wow! I’ve listened to many sermons that had less to say but took so much longer to say it. This really blessed me. Thank you ever so much.

  14. Elizabeth (Lisa) Seibel-Ross

    A truly beautiful key and a pattern of Divine/Human interaction that I imagine many can recognize within the outworking of their lives. I love your description of God’s love as being hidden within His plan. Being able to trust His call on our hearts and respond to it is the key to realizing our greatest joy.

  15. jane z mazzola

    I agree w/ both Linda, & also, Laurel. Mystical in reflection & to ponder. Thank you very much.
    Jane M

  16. Jerry S.

    As though – perfect explanation.
    J.

  17. Laurel

    Very insightful!
    Thank you.

  18. Linda Woolard

    Wow ! Dr. Julia. This is best post ever ….so spiritually deep ….that spiritual LOVE is what knowing Him is all about. Of course, it is based on LOVING HIM first with our whole heart , soul & spirit & then our neighbor as ourself somewhat , really more than ourselves as we obey what Yeshua Jesus Holy Spirit tells us is needed in & through Him ! Blessings!