The Road to Emmaus

Notre Dame Rose Window Paris


 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;  but they were kept from recognizing him.He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” 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?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;  but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning  but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.  Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 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?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together  and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.  Luke 24:13-35

It tells of two men who were walking towards the sunset. However the Christian is not  one who walks towards the sunset but to the sunrise. The Christian goes onwards not to a night which falls but to a dawn which breaks – and that is what, in their sorrow and their disappointment, the two on the Emmaus Road had forgotten

It tells of the ability of Jesus to make sense of things. The whole situation seemed to these two men to have no explanation. Their hopes and dreams were shattered. There is all the poignant, bewildered, wistful regret in the world in their sorrowing words. “We were hoping that he was the one who was going to rescue Israel.” They are the words of men whose hopes are dead and buried. And then Jesus came and talked with them, and the meaning of life became clear to them, and the darkness became light…. It is only in Jesus that, even in the bewildering times, we learn what life means.

It tells us of the courtesy of Jesus. He made as if he would have gone on. He would not force himself upon them; he awaited their invitation to come in. God gave us the greatest and most perilous gift in the world  – the gift of free will; and we can use it to invite Christ to enter our hearts or to allow him to pass on.

It tells how he was known to them in the breaking of bread…. It was at an ordinary meal in an ordinary house when an ordinary loaf was being divided…. He is the guest in every home. The Christian lives forever and everywhere in a Christ-filled world.

It tells how these two men, when they received their own joy, hastened​ to share it. It was a seven mile tramp back to Jerusalem but they could not keep the good news to themselves. The Christian message is never fully ours until we have shared it with someone else.

It tells how, when they reached Jerusalem, they found others who had already shared the experience. It is the glory of the Christian that he lives in a fellowship of people who have had the same experience as he has had.

And it tells us how Jesus appeared to Peter. That must ever remain one of the great untold stories of the world…

William Barclay Study Bible, Luke.


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