What I love about Doctor Luke is that he always finds off-the-beaten-path stories to write about. Mark mentions this story but only slightly in Mark 16.12-13, whereas Luke gives a lot more detail here. (Sidenote: Did you realize that Luke was the only Gentile inspired to write a Gospel account of Jesus? And, without dispute, church tradition attributes Luke as author of the Book of Acts.)
The Emmaus Road trip happened on the very same day Mary found the empty tomb – Sunday. Two of Jesus’ followers, Cleopas and another (I’ll go out on a limb here and guess it was Luke himself) were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, about a seven-mile walk. Cleopas, according to early church tradition is identified as Joseph’s brother, thus, Jesus’ uncle – (another little sidenote, he is most likely the same Clopas as mentioned in John 19.25.) In other words, Cleopas and his wife, were close to Jesus and were deeply grieved over the events of the recent week. Luke’s story states, “As they walked they talked together of all these things which had happened.” They were definitely aware of the news Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and the other women brought to the apostles earlier that day. These two men were disheartened and sad as they trod to Emmaus.
Along the way, another Man joined them, their eyes were blinded either by despair or perhaps by divine intervention – whatever the case they did not recognize their walking companion. As He walked with them He questioned them regarding their despondency. I love the way Cleopas put it…
Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which have happened there in these days?
The Man proceeded to ask, “What things?” Dear Cleopas went on and on, telling this “Stranger” all that had happened. We read these scriptures knowing this Man was the resurrected Christ and as we read Cleopas’ words and passion we want to say – But, it’s Him, Cleo, it’s Him – He’s alive just like the women told you! Open your eyes and see!
Jesus then began to explain all the prophecies beginning with Moses – undoubtedly Cleopas (and Luke) were astonished at His words. It wasn’t until that evening, when the three arrived in Emmaus and they invited this Man to stay with them and rest, they then sat down to eat and He broke the bread and that very moment their eyes were opened and they knew Him! But, as soon as they recognized Him, He vanished!
Here’s the part I love…
Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?
What a revelation these two men had, it’s no wonder their hearts burned within them, they had walked with The Word Himself for almost seven miles – they were so excited they turned around and went right back to Jerusalem to tell the others.
I am reminded of the prophet Jeremiah’s words, But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.
Friends, if we belong to Jesus then He walks with us every single day; with eyes wide open we can sense His presence. His Word firmly planted in our hearts and minds – ignite it, fan the flame, and, don’t hold back. We live in a dark world raging with hopelessness – let’s go alongside someone and take them on a walk, on the Emmaus Road with us, and…
let’s set the world on fire with this Good News!
Linked with Kristin today for Three Word Wednesday!