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Luke 24:13-35, The Walk of Emmaus

It’s not hard to imagine that the disciples did not recognize Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Besides the fact that Jesus was certainly immeasurably altered by his adventure to hell and back, the disciples had no frame of reference for resurrection. It had never been done before – not like this. They had no reason to believe they would ever see their dead friend again.

But they remained faithful to Jesus and his teachings, even in their grief. They told the stranger about the things that had happened, and how they did not know what they would do next. Even more, when the moment of truth came, and they were faced with the task of following Jesus’ commandment to love one another or let the stranger go on his way, they remained faithful. They asked the stranger to stay with them and to share a meal with them.

It is no surprise Jesus was revealed to them in the breaking of the bread. They had shared meals with Jesus for years – an intimate and vulnerable sharing of the one thing human beings cannot live without. In that tender, vulnerable moment, Jesus’ identity became clear to them. Of course Jesus would reveal himself during the sharing of a meal! It is the one place where human need and vulnerability meet the strengthening of relationships and the sharing of love.

Luke 24:13-35

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Earlier Event: September 2
Matthew 14:13-21, Feeding the Five Thousand
Later Event: September 4
Luke 11:2-4, Forgive Us Our Sins