It was about seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
One afternoon two friends, Cleopas and Simon, began the journey. In the days before cars or bicycles, walking was often the only option. By foot, the trip would probably have taken two or three hours. But the two friends had a lot to talk about and the walk would be good for them. They had recently lost a close friend.
As they walked a stranger drew near and joined them. “What are you guys talking about? And why are you so sad?” the stranger asked.
“And what planet are you from?” said Cleopas. “Do you seriously have no idea what’s been going on around here?”
“Like what?” asked the man?
And so they told him all about Jesus of Nazareth… a great prophet, a great teacher and a true friend. They told how the chief priests and rulers had condemned and crucified him.
“And we trusted in him!” said Cleopas. “We actually thought that he was the one who would save us.”
“Oh my,” said the stranger, as he shook his head sadly. “I don’t want to offend you—but you guys are seriously slow. What I mean is… you don’t catch onto things too fast.”
“Huh… what?” they asked.
“If he was the Christ, the one who would save you, then don’t you think he would have to suffer the cross?”
Then, starting with Moses and the prophets, the stranger explained scriptures concerning the Messiah, and before they realized how much time had passed, the three of them were standing outside the village of Emmaus. The stranger acted as though he would continue on, but Cleopas and Simon wouldn’t hear of it.
“Come and stay with us,” they insisted. “It’s getting late. It will be dark in a couple of hours. Please stay and join us for dinner.” The stranger agreed and went with them. As they sat down to eat the stranger took a loaf of bread, blessed it and gave it to them.
Suddenly, everything clicked. They looked closely at their travelling companion and realized that it was not a stranger, but Jesus, their friend, who had died and was buried three day ago.
In the same moment that they both recognized him, he vanished from their sight. The two friends remembered how their hearts were stirred when he spoke… the intensity of the emotions that they felt… how could they not have known that it was Him.
What happened next amazes me. They got up from the table, put their dusty sandals back on their feet and walked all the way back to Jerusalem! Whatever would possess them to do that? Can you imagine walking seven miles to get somewhere, then turning around and going back to the place that you just came from? Who does that?
I wonder if they made it before dark. If not, I hope it was a clear night. I hope that the moon and stars provided enough light for them to see where they were going. But these two guys were highly motivated and they had good news. It was a message that couldn’t wait till morning. In Jerusalem, they found the disciples and told them: HE’s ALIVE!
Happy Easter, everyone and remember: The message that couldn’t wait till morning is true and important yet today. You can read it for yourselves in the gospel of Luke, Chapter 24. Something to think about, as you’re nibbling on your chocolate bunny: How would your life be changed if Jesus revealed himself to you?