Last week during a bible study with one of my friends, I came across a passage in the book of Luke detailing an experience that two of Jesus’ twelve disciples had while travelling to Emmaus, an city that existed in ancient Israel.
This encounter took place three days after Jesus had been crucified.
The passage reads:
13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
This passage really affected me because it reminded me of how quickly we can become despondent when we feel that God is not answering our prayers in a “suitable” amount of time.
Cleopas and the other disciple were so downcast because although they had heard Jesus speak of His resurrection (Matthew 16:21), and they knew it would come to pass, it had already been three days since His death.
At this point, they knew that some of the women that had followed Jesus had visited His tomb, found it empty and were told by angels that He was alive (Mark 16:2-6).
But this information only gave them a small amount of comfort.
Why did they seem so hopeless when they had numerous signs showing them Jesus was keeping His word regarding His resurrection?
Was it because they had not seen Him yet with their own eyes? Was their faith waning?
I often find myself in the same position as these two disciples.
No matter how many signs I see showing me that yes, God will keep His promise – I still find myself becoming discontent and impatient.
When I read the above passage, I feel that Jesus chose to meet them in that moment to convey the message that sometimes all it takes is just a little more waiting to see that God’s promises will come to fruition.
Just as those disciples started to lose faith, the very One who had given them their faith in the first place approached them and walked with them down the road to Emmaus.
And even then, they didn’t know it was Him.
It wasn’t until later that evening when He sat with them and broke bread in their midst that they realized that the blessing they had been hoping for had come.
And from that moment on, they were amazed.
Suddenly everything seemed crystal clear.
Of course this man was Jesus!
Just the way He had spoken to them of the scriptures was proof enough, but now, having just seen Him bless and break bread in a way that only Jesus could – all their doubts were cast aside.
And they came away from that encounter shouting the most blessed phrase that has ever been spoken on this earth, “The Lord is risen indeed”.