Luke 24:13-35 - The Walk to Emmaus
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. 18Then 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?’ 19He 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, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But 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. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and 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. 24Some 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.’ 25Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But 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. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They 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?’ 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
There are a few stories in scripture that are my favourites, and today’s is one of them. Not quite sure why? Maybe because it’s so unassuming, A very human occurrence, Two people walking along a road from one place to another place. In this case Jerusalem to Emmaus. Yes sure. They have just gone through some shattering events and they are processing by walking and talking. Scripture only tells us the name of one of those walking, Cleopas and “a companion,” perhaps it is his wife, with him? We don’t know who they are whether male or female. They are talking about – and weighed down by – Jesus’ crucifixion. When Jesus joins them on the road, they do not recognize him immediately; perhaps their grief and loss blind them. It is when they offer Jesus hospitality, a sign of love, and when he blesses and breaks bread that the revelation happens, and they recognize the stranger with whom they have been walking and talking. A transformation takes place within the travellers; they shift from standing still in a state of sadness to bursting with life and hope. In great haste, they return to Jerusalem to tell the other followers of Jesus what they have experienced: Christ’s resurrection and their own. The exact location of Emmaus is not known that invites us to grapple with what is the truth and what is historical in this story from Luke. Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan stated, “Emmaus never happened. Emmaus always happens.” What does he mean by that, what is the truth? The two disciples were totally preoccupied. As we are all too familiar, it is easy to become preoccupied, missing the obvious going on around. Caught up with our own thoughts, events, concerns, or grief So preoccupied that we don’t recognise that God is amongst us.
The current world in which we find ourselves is a classic example. With our partial lock down & physical distancing. For many of us our personal world has become so much smaller. Added to that, with all our newsfeed about Coronavirus. So easy to get preoccupied. Consumed by self. We might not be on the road But God remains our companion. God has never left us.
Have you seen God travelling with you at the time Or when looking back, can you see that God was your companion?\
If not, what revelation is needed so you can see with clarity? Go into this coming week knowing you have God as your companion.
In the muteness of isolation,
your Spirit whispers a gentle presence;
In the brokenness of separation,
your embrace is hope and life;
When all appears at be at risk -
our community, our life, our future,
you are present, bearing us to life again.
You are before us,
beside and behind us.
We trust in you.
All in Christ, we pray. Amen.
Rev Simon Hansford, Moderator of the Synod of NSW and the ACT
Road to Emmaus, Prayerful Colouring, Mark Hewitt