Luke 24:13-35

Now on that same day, the first day of the week, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then 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?” He 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, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But 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. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and 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. Some 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.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But 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. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They 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?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Luke’s Gospel presents us with an opportunity to eavesdrop on a conversation that takes place as two men are trying to make sense of their present and future by reflecting upon the past events. So much had taken place concerning Jesus over the past few days. It was difficult for them to gain their footing for the present and future moments when the past events had been so painful and the miracle of the resurrection was unbelievable. It appears that as they walked and talked there was a recounting – that what had happened time and time again would somehow provide the answers they sought and the comfort they needed. Even when Jesus enters into the conversation and inquires what they are discussing, we are able to note that “They stood still, their faces downcast.” In order to carry out the work that would be needed in the days to come, their faith was essential. We are called to share the news of the resurrection with faith. These two were able to share with the disciples what had already been seen and heard, but now it was their faith that made a difference. The difference in our witness as we move through these days and in the facing of the challenges that lie ahead, will be not in recounting what we have seen and heard but in the power of our faith. The author James Baldwin was quoted as saying, “The problem with the way Americans use words about the past, is that they use them to cover up the sleeper but never to wake him up.” Let us share our witness of the resurrection, not to cover up the sleeper, but let us use our words to wake them up! This assignment is calling us to live by faith.

In faith,

Help us to be mindful that we are not alone. When we need wisdom, we need only to ask for it. You have promised to bestow it liberally.… Teach us to know that if we are to be successful stewards, we must be your servants.

(Barbara Jordan)