Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Along the Emmaus Road
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.
For me, the story of Jesus' encounter with two of His disciples, not in the inner circle of the twelve, is one of the most poignant and illuminating in all the gospels. The men are departing Jerusalem after three grief-stricken and bewildering days to travel the road to Emmaus. Why? Are they disillusioned by the Christ they had hoped would save Israel? Are they returning to the homes they abandoned for His sake? Dismal and disheartened, they seek strength and solace in each others company as they walk along, and are deep in conversation when Jesus, whom they do not recognize, joins them and inquires about their discussion.
Astonished by the stranger's seeming ignorance of the overwhelming events of the last three days, the disciples explain everything that has happened. Jesus proceeds to open their hearts and minds to the scriptures pertaining to what must happen to the Son of Man, just as He had so many times to His followers before His crucifixion. Amazed by the knowledge of this man, the two implore Him to stay and share a meal with them instead of going on ahead, alone, as evening is approaching. It is in the reenactment of the Last Supper, what Jesus requested the disciples do perpetually in remembrance of Him, that His identity is revealed. The two men are astounded. They drop any plans they may have entertained along the road to Emmaus and return in haste that very night to rejoin the other disciples in Jerusalem.
These two were as lost sheep, wandering away from the fold, mercifully rescued and redirected by the Good Shepherd before it was too late. I am touched by the time Jesus took with these men and His patience in pointing them yet again toward the truth of His suffering and resurrection. The miraculous thing is, Jesus is willing to spend that kind of time with us whenever we call upon Him, ready to reveal to us the wonder of His saving love.
Where, along your Emmaus road, has the Risen Christ met you?
Psalms 119:1-24 or 12, 13, 14
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