By Mark Avery — General Manager and Editor at Herald and Banner Press and Bookstore in Overland Park, Kansas.
It was Easter! The first one! Only the two men walking toward Emmaus did not know that Jesus had risen. Discouraged and near hopeless, they trudged along, wondering what had gone wrong. What should their next step be?
The only stranger
That’s when He joined them. Cleopas and his unnamed friend didn’t recognize Him. And no wonder. Apparently He was the only stranger in Jerusalem and had somehow missed the significance of the events of the previous week. As their conversation continued, this stranger butted in. The two friends couldn’t believe how little this man knew about events that has so dramatically affect their lives.
Catching this stranger up on current events, they expressed their now dashed hopes that this crucified man would have been the long-awaited Messiah. They even talked about reports of an empty grave, visions of angels, speculation about a resurrection. Makes you wonder why they didn’t investigate.
The thorough explanation
That’s when the stranger interrupted again. Surely they must have been impressed with the stranger’s knowledge of the Old Testament as He started in the Books of Moses and continued through the Scriptures giving a thorough explanation of Himself and the events recently experienced.
Finally, arriving at Emmaus, a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem, they prepared to end their journey. The stranger appeared to continue His trip until they urged Him to stop for the night. Then as they prepared to eat, the stranger took charge. Recognizing His actions, their eyes were opened.
The open eyes
This was no stranger. He was Jesus! He had walked with them. Talked to them. Now they understood. Their load had lightened. Their hearts were glad. They saw Jesus! Alive! Ministering! And just as suddenly He was gone.
The fourteen miles
Immediately they started back to Jerusalem. Despite the seven-mile hike they had just taken. Despite the lateness of the time. The seven miles back to Jerusalem were not as challenging as the seven miles to Emmaus. Their hearts were light. Their spirits excited. Their friends at Jerusalem had to be told.
Earlier reports were accurate. Jesus was alive. Death and the grave had failed. Life reigned.