And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. Luke 24 : 13 – 16 (NASB)
I remember the pleasure of many long walks with friends over the years, during which there was always much talk. Many subjects were discussed at depth, family, work, politics and of course spiritual matters. These walks could be lengthy affairs resulting in aching limbs the next day.
Today we discuss a walk of about seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus by two disciples after the Crucifixion of Christ. One has been named as Cleopas but the name of his companion is unkown, some have speculated it may have been Peter or even Luke. The location of Emmaus is not completely certain but the most likely candidate is Abu Ghosh just west of Jerusalem. There is no indication as to why these men were travelling to Emmaus, it could be that they came from or had family there. Whatever the reason, the afternoon of resurrection day finds these two despondent souls on this road. They were deep in discussion over the life and death of their Master, and whether He was the Messiah or not.
As they travelled they encountered a fellow traveller going the same direction. There was something likeable about this man, they readily welcomed Him as a travelling companion as the debate continued. Little did they suspect who walked with them, for Christ was with them “in a different form” (Mark 16:12). In hindsight we can say that the approach of Christ to these disheartened disciples was to guide them spiritually into scriptural truth of the expected Messiah. They just didn’t know that yet. Take note that Jesus listened before asking of what they spoke about, at which the startled pair gawped in disbelief at him. How could He have not known what had happened in Jerusalem over the last three days. They gave Him the whole story of His arrest, execution, and the supposed resurrection reported by Mary Magdalene. He felt their pain as they poured out the details, how His heart must have hurt for them in that moment. He wanted so much to heal their pain, therefore “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself,” (Luke 24:27).
On the approach to Emmaus they beckoned their new friend to rest a while and have dinner with them, that they might hear more from Him. It was at dinner as He blessed and broke the bread that immediately their eyes were opened: “Rabbi!” And immediately He was gone. How He had swept their despondency away in that moment, they were filled with joy and excitement. Their weary legs found renewed strength as they hurried that very hour back along the road to Jerusalem. All the while chattering like excited children over what had just happened, the miles could not dampen their elated spirits. One can only imagine their excited rendition of their experience before the astounded disciples in Jerusalem, who had barely time to respond when Jesus appeared amongst them saying “Peace be unto you” (Luke 24:36).
Dear reader, this truly is an astounding encounter with the Messiah! He came alongside these hurting souls and dissolved their anguish through the apt application of scriptures, and filled their hearts with inexplicable joy in a brief moment. There is much joy and encouragement we can have by discussing scriptures and our blessed Saviour with our brethren. It is our duty to build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11) in the faith, who can you encourage today?