Sad. Sorrowful. Somber.
Disappointed. Despondent. Dejected.
Heavyhearted. Heartbroken. Hopeless.
These words all describe Cleopas and his friend who walked seven miles to the village of Emmaus from Jerusalem.
You can almost see their slumped shoulders as they wearily plod along the road talking about the unprecedented events of the past three days.
How long had they been in Jerusalem for the Passover?
Were they along the side of the road to witness Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city?
Were they among the crowd who cried “Hosanna!”?
Did they hear His parable of the wicked vinedresser that foretold his death?
Did they see the contentious interactions He had with the Pharisees and Sadducees?
Suppose they were among the great multitude of people who followed Jesus as He carried the cross to Golgotha’s hill?
Were they there when they crucified Christ, watching Him writhe in anguish and pain?
We don’t know.
But as a “stranger” joins them on their walk and inquires about their conversation, we learn from Luke what they did know. They believed Jesus was a Prophet. That He performed mighty works and spoke powerful words. That He was their hope of redeeming Israel. And that He had been rejected by the religious leaders. Condemned. And crucified.
Amazingly they had interacted early that Sunday morning with the women and other disciples who had witnessed the empty tomb. They’d heard about the angelic message, “He is not here. He is risen.”
Yet, somehow they are astonished by all this. And more astonishingly somehow they did not believe.
It’s at this point “the stranger” rebukes their foolish talk and lack of perception. He calls them “slow of heart.” Then He expounded to them the Scriptures from Moses to the Prophets.
As they reach their destination and the sun is setting, they begged Him to stay and eat with them. It was then “their eyes were opened.” They now saw “the stranger” was Jesus. Then He vanished.
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Lk. 24:32).
Immediately, they got up and began the 7-mile journey back to Jerusalem. Don’t you imagine their return walk was quicker? More lively? More energetic?
“Lord is risen,” they exclaimed as they returned and found the 11 apostles and other disciples gathered together.
Sadness has given way to gladness.
Disappointment has turned into delight.
Hopelessness has dissolved and hope has been reborn.
That’s what seeing Jesus does. That’s the impact of the evidence. That’s how understanding the Scripture changes us. That’s the power of the resurrection.
Haven’t we all had our “Emmaus” moments?
We had hoped for a better report from the doctor.
We had hoped she would get well.
We had hoped to have a baby.
We had hoped that the job offer would work out.
We had hoped they would accept our apology.
We had hoped the contract would be approved.
We had hoped he would come to his senses.
We had hoped they would repent.
We had hoped…..
But before our doubts consume us and our disappointment drowns us in despair, Jesus shows up. We hear the story. Again. We get into the Word. We listen. We learn. Our minds are challenged. Insight is attainted. And our hearts are opened.
Suddenly the load becomes lighter. Joy replaces sorrow. Hope dispels doubt. And faith expels faintheartedness. The journey is easier. The walk purposeful. The goal clearer. And the future brighter.
Come. Walk the Emmaus road. You’ll be glad you did.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman