On the road to Emmaus it all becomes clear.
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“That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”
They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
“What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
“Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.”
Luke 24:13-31 New Living Translation
Have you ever been in a conversation where you and another person were talking about two different things? I once said that I wanted to learn the art of fencing (the sport) and my friend said he could teach me how to put up a wood fence. Or maybe you’re listening to a lecture and an unfamiliar word is used more than once. You have no idea what it means, so you look it up later in order for the conversation to make sense.
Before the Internet, most of the population owned a dictionary. It was our only hope of understanding what we didn’t know. Maybe you got rid of yours because you never used it—it’s hard to look up a word if you don’t know how to spell it. Maybe yours is buried in a bookcase. And some of those dictionaries are heavy! Even if we look it up, we still might not understand the word or the context even after reading the definition.
I think that while the disciples walked down that lonely road, they wished they had a book that would explain much of the past three years of Jesus’ life up to His death—and the death of all their hopes. They were confused, sad and lost. They struggled to accept the womens’ assurances of His resurrection. Their hopes and dreams were destroyed with His destruction and they were perplexed by the outcome of the last few days. They just didn’t understand, even though Jesus shared His life’s plan for three years!
Until Jesus revealed the meaning of the writings of Moses and the prophets, they interpreted Jesus’ words to fit their agenda. The disciples were looking for him to set up an earthly kingdom. He came to set up a heavenly kingdom. They wanted a king to rule on an earthly throne. He came to rule on a throne in heaven. They wanted Him to redeem Israel and free her from Roman rule. He came in humility to redeem us on a cross. Now on the road to Emmaus they finally understand the true meaning of his words, and they are willing to believe the words of someone they think is a stranger, until their eyes are opened and they recognize Him.
I know I would have loved to walk on that road with Jesus, revealing to me what His entire ministry really meant and asking Him any question I wanted to along the way. But you and I are blessed to have His story in Scriptures now. We see His purpose and plan, and the glorious outcome of His death and resurrection—we are bought with the blood of Jesus and are His forever!
Copyright text and photo Desiree Bustamante