Two bereaved followers of Jesus wander home from Jerusalem, after a devastating week. Downcast, grief-stricken and confused, they wonder, ‘is Jesus dead? Is he who we thought he was?’
In the face of all that is broken in our world, it can be easy to fall inward, to wonder, ‘is God a living hope?’ You might find yourself on an Emmaus road at times, wondering about all that is happened and what to do next.
God hears our grief. From the cross.
Talking with a kind stranger can be liberating. It feels safe to be honest about complex feelings. In the wake of inexplicable loss, Jesus – the resurrected King – appears incognito alongside Cleopas and his companion.
It might seem strange that they were kept from recognizing him. But we see that his anonymity invited an inquiry that helped the grief-stricken disciples to process their grief, their unbelief and their confusion. And that was a gift – the listening. In the listening, he prepared their hearts and minds for something huge. Jesus created the conditions for a teachable moment that was set to change the world as these two knew it. He listens to you too.
God listens to our heart. On the road.
Jesus explained to them all in the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24 v 24). A wise and generous stranger explained everything to these two on their journey home – laying out the plan from Moses to Malachi. The antidote to their unbelief was a very long story of Hope.
Their hearts began to burn within them and they wanted more, wouldn’t you? ‘Stay with us’ they urged. Together with Jesus they broke bread. And in this first communion Jesus was revealed. Not only a kind wise man but he was their risen Lord. Jesus was alive. Our Jesus is alive.
God restores our hope. From the empty grave.
So, it was true. Jesus had risen from the grave, defeating death once and for all.
How does this knowledge change the way we live? When Cleopas and his companion realised it was Jesus on the road and in the room with them, they did not hesitate to share this news. They ran several kilometers, at night, to make sure people knew – ‘he is who we’d hoped he would be’. He is the Messiah.
Jesus’ resurrection sent them on a mission, as it did for the hundreds of others he appeared to in the coming days. The church was a movement born out of this very good news—and still is! Jesus is alive and he is our living hope.
God goes with us. Into the world.
Jesus is always walking alongside us whether we realise it or not. He walks, he listens, he asks, and he empathises. He addresses our unbelief and leads us gently, thoroughly to understanding. Then, he sits, stays and eats with us, revealing himself in communion.