Read: Luke 24:13-35
I would give anything to walk seven miles with Jesus, even if it took me all day to recognize Him! The women have told the disciples, they’ve checked out the empty tomb, and the word is already spreading. In this great story of two disciples, Cleopas and an unnamed other, walking along feeling defeated after what should have been the highlight of their lives, Jesus appears and asks them what they’re chatting about.
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Luke 24:17-18
News spreads quickly in a culture that relied mostly on oral communication. Unlike our modern inability to communicate verbally, they were good at passing stories. In this case, they all knew about Jesus of Nazareth, the One they decided to follow, who was convicted by their very own priests then crucified by the Romans. Everyone knew about this.
Less than a week earlier, Jesus was welcomed on a borrowed colt with shouts of hosanna. This was already a festive time of year when they gathered to celebrate the Passover. To say expectations were high is a great understatement — they expected Jesus to change the world that weekend!
Well, He did change the world, just not as anyone expected. More on that later!
The two continue to explain what they’d heard about the women and the disciples, the empty tomb when Jesus rebukes them:
“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” Luke 24:25-26
Moses and All The Prophets
Jesus explains to them how His journey was foretold by Moses and all the prophets. We have the privilege of having Bibles in various versions laying all around. If Jesus used ancient scriptures to explain how He must come into the world, suffer, and then be resurrected, it seems we should be serious about understanding the Old Testament to appreciate the New.
While the language used here leaves us with no doubt that this was a rebuke, it doesn’t sound like it’s harsh. There’s a lesson to be learned in that alone. Jesus rebukes them, but they all continue to walk together. I get the impression they’re not in a great hurry, other than to get to Emmaus before sunset. The men knew there was something special about this one who was walking with them. At the very least, He knew scripture like no one they had ever encountered.
But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” Luke 24:29
Their request is sincere. Although He seems to be a stranger to them, they offer a safe place for the evening. This, of course, includes having supper together. Jesus takes the opportunity to take the bread, give thanks, then give it to them.
I think this was another story the Eleven shared with others, the story of the Last Supper. They might have shared the story in great despair, kicking themselves for not recognizing it was the Last Supper, but they no doubt told others how Jesus changed to words to suggest this was His body broken for the world, His blood shed for many.
These two disciples from Emmaus hear the words and their eyes are opened. This is Jesus!
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32
Several years ago I was sponsored to join the Walk to Emmaus as part of the Upper Room Ministries in Montgomery, Alabama. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I trusted those who urged me to invest the weekend retreat (Thursday evening through Saturday). At some point, I should write a complete post on the experience, but suffice it to say, the retreat was all about having an encounter with Jesus. The featured image on this post is from the booklet they gave each of us. Through music, prayer, teaching, fellowship, and living for a few days with no electronic devices, we were all blessed to hear from our Savior, to meet Him on our own road to Emmaus.
Is your heart burning to know Jesus? Has anything in the last 24 chapters of Luke stirred up something from within? I truly hope so.
I pray that we will all recognize Jesus in everything around us, that excitement would well up inside of us as we realize He longs to break bread with us. Go and tell the world!