Published On: Mon, Apr 18th, 2016

The Emmaus Experience

FillingupThe furor in Jerusalem had subsided. Jesus had been humiliated, tortured, tried and crucified for reasons best known to the Roman rulers. The Scripture says on the first day of the week, some women, still recovering from the shock of Jesus’s crucifixion, had gone to His tomb to spice it up, but found an empty tomb.

As they began to wonder what was going on, two men in shining garments, who stood by as the women struggled to come to terms about what they were seeing, said to the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,” saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:1-7).

The Scripture says this reminded the women about Jesus’s prophecy and they returned home to break the news to the disciples and all the people. Two men, Cleopas and his companion got the news and began discussing the story on their way to a city called Emmaus the same day. As you can possibly imagine, their lamentations knew no bounds. Visibly shocked, disappointed and disillusioned, they failed to understand why a Man they had so much revered, loved and worshipped should suffer such humiliating public spectacle before being killed. Their dream, it appeared, was over.
Only a week before, they had been excited by Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and were highly convinced that the Messiah had come to stay; to deliver them from the brutal rule of the Romans. They struggled to imagine that their Savior was gone!
Suddenly, as they chatted along, a stranger broke the conversation and it will be appropriate to share Luke’s account of the encounter.

Stranger: “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
Cleopas: “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
Stranger: “What things?”
Cleopas and Companion: “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but Him they did not see.”
Stranger: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”

This stranger then took them through the Scriptures and explained the sacred passages that were about Him. When they reached their destination, the two men were so excited with this stranger’s teachings that they invited Him to stay with them. As the stranger sat with the two men at the dinner table, He took the bread, said the blessing, broke and handed the pieces to them. It was at this point that their eyes were opened and they recognized the risen Savior, but before they could say anything, He disappeared from their sight (Luke 24:13-27).

That stranger was Jesus Christ Himself! He made it clear to these two men that they were blinded to spiritual truths and were worried for no apparent reason. He had told them time and time again that the Messiah would be crucified and resurrect on the third day, but they did not believe it. In the First Book of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul explains the prophecy with an analogy: “But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come? You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies” (1st Corinthians 15:35-36). Jesus Christ died and came back to life. He is the only One who conquered death!
The two men might have been startled by the intrusion of a stranger in their conversation, but the timing by Christ was appropriate. Hope is fleeting; it appears and disappears quickly and very hard to cure. The hopes of Cleopas and his companion were dashed as they found themselves trapped in their own misery and Christ intervened to stabilize that hope.

Like these two men, we too face the vicissitudes of life and cannot help, but identify with the circumstances they faced. We easily lose hope when our expectations fall short and forget that Christ knows our pain and walks side by side with us in our moments of uncertainty. He doesn’t leave us alone. Throughout Apostle Paul’s travails, he never faltered in trusting God because he believed that God was always with him. He believed and did what God said and left the results to Him.

The Emmaus experience demonstrates that we would be walking independently of Christ’s direction and guidance if we trust our own thinking, and ignore His Word and its application to the details of our lives. He is a God who is ever faithful and wraps His love around those who open up to Him. What is more; His promises are Yea and Amen! Stay close to Him.