A Retelling of the Walk on the Road to Emmaus

[Three men walking along the road…]

“It has been a crazy, crazy week in Jerusalem,” the man explained to his other two companions.  “Just a week ago there was an impromptu parade.  It was an amazing moment. Many of us were gathered along the road and were buzzing with excitement.  Riding up into the city on a donkey was a man who certainly was a prophet.”

“Over the last several years, his reputation had grown and grown.  The stuff he taught was truly inspiring and not like our boring rabbi’s teaching.  He hung out with anyone…even those who drank too much and who slept around.  Cleo and I always enjoyed being with him at the table as he would smile, laugh and ask such thoughtful questions.  He was always genuine whether he was talking just to you or to the large crowds that had begun to follow him around from place to place. He could bring to light the truth of the Scriptures in ways that even baffled the temple leaders.”

“On top of all that, Jesus of Nazareth did so many extraordinary things. He helped some of our fisherman friends get their largest catch ever. He took a young boy’s sack lunch and multiplied it to feed thousands of people. He helped a paralyzed man walk again, and a blind man to see and even relieved several people from evil spirits. Through his amazing healing power, a 12 year-old girl was saved from dying.  Just a few weeks ago, we heard from Mary and Martha that their brother and one of Jesus’ own friends was brought back to life after having died from sickness.  Wow…what a guy!”

“Even though Jesus did so many amazing things and was such an amazing man of God, he and his influence threatened our religious leaders.  Our leaders handed him over to the Roman government for treason, as one who claimed to be a king.  Jesus was sentenced to death and executed immediately after being sentenced. It all happened so quickly. It all started on Thursday late in the evening and Jesus was dead on Friday.  It was a brutal death, by crucifixion, unfair and uncivil in so many ways.”

“Both Cleo and I had hoped that Jesus was the One—the Messiah—that has been promised for years and years to our Jewish ancestors.  So much of what he did matches what the Messiah would be like. We were hoping that Jesus would be the One, but that hope was dashed by his death on Friday.”

“Our hope has continued to evaporate over these three days. There is something strange going on though. A few of our friends went to the grave early this morning but didn’t find his body. These women then came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the grave as well and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

“Sir, I’m sorry to overwhelm you with all of this, but Cleo and I have been really depressed as we have been processing all of this as we are walking back to our village. You did ask us, ‘What things were going on?’ as you joined our conversation on the road.”

The Road to Emmaus by Daniel Bonnell
The Road to Emmaus by Daniel Bonnell

The man who had just recently joined them on their walk toward the village, challenged them boldly:

“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”[1]

“Remember back to what the prophet Micah said ‘But you, city of Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.’[2] Wasn’t this Jesus of Nazareth actually born in the modest town of Bethlehem?”

“Didn’t Yahweh, our God actually tell our forefather Moses these words, ‘ I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.’[3] Moses received God’s forecast of the Messiah being like Moses and being a common man—a countryman if you will, but with all of the word of God.”

“And the prophet Isaiah spoke many things about the Messiah parallel the life of Jesus.

Isaiah wrote that the Messiah: ‘He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.’[4] Does this sound like what happened to Jesus?

Isaiah went on:

‘Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God,
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.’[5]

“This sounds like the Messiah would suffer! Isaiah goes on by saying, ‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’[6]

“Don’t you see that the Messiah would deliver you and he had to suffer to actually fulfill what the prophets said?!”

Cleo and his friend were listening intently to all that this very learned man was saying.  It was like he had inside information on how all of this stuff for the Messiah fit together.  He had to be some sort of a rabbi or teacher they assumed.

This conversation carried on as they walked together. Soon they were approaching their village and it was getting to be late in the afternoon.  Cleo and his friend invited the man to have dinner with them.  It seemed like the teacher was heading further passed the village, but Cleo convinced him to join us finally by joking with him that “You gotta eat somewhere before you can keep going farther.”

The three strolled into the village of Emmaus and then up to Cleo’s house. Relieved from walking in the heat, they washed up from their journey and sat down to recoup their energy at dinner.

At the table, Cleo said to the teacher, “Would you bless this meal in prayer for us?” and the teacher graciously did.  After they prayed the teacher picked up the basket of bread and started to pass it around the table. Cleo and his friend were looking intently at the teacher and all of a sudden they recognized the teacher actually looked JUST LIKE Jesus. They turned and looked at each other with excitement and said, “That’s Jesus!” Looking back toward where the teacher was seated, they saw him no longer there.

They jumped up from the table and scurried around to find him. They checked the house and then ran out to the street yelling his name trying to call him back to the table. Jesus was no where to be found! He had vanished!

“Cleo, that was Jesus! As we were walking side-by-side down the road, I guess I never looked at him very closely.  I don’t know how I didn’t recognize him, but that was Him! Who else could explain the Scriptures like that! We’ve got to get back to the rest of the disciples in Jerusalem and tell them that we’ve seen Jesus too!”

Cleo joked back, “Well, we were at the table, and we gotta eat before we can go again!”

They quickly shoved some sustenance in their mouths and headed quickly back to Jerusalem to tell the others they had seen Jesus.

[The rest of the story continues in Luke 24:33 and following]

 

Download/Print the Entire Story (PDF)


A Retelling of the Walk on the Road to Emmaus – Luke 24:13-33
By Mike Jentes © 2013
Written for Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013 at Los Altos Grace Brethren Church LAGBC.org
An audio recording of the message available

ENDNOTES


[1] Luke 24:25-26

[2] Micah 5:2

[3] Deuteronomy 18:15,18

[4] Isaiah 53:3

[5] Isaiah 53:4-5

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