I never miss the opportunity to share this story each Easter season.
Two men walking on a road, despondent about the events of the last few days in Jerusalem. Joined by a stranger who overcomes any concerns about his intentions by entering into a discussion about their apparent discomfort.
A stranger who seems to play with them at first by pretending he’s oblivious to the recent happenings.
A stranger who becomes somewhat belligerent by calling them dim-witted.
A stranger who insults, but them amazes them with his insight into what has actually happened in Jerusalem. Their own scriptures lay it all out that the Messiah would suffer for the world, not wield a sword for a temporary victory over Rome.
A stranger who again would feign having somewhere else to be until he’s tempted to stay a while for wine and cheese.
A stranger who turns out to be the one they have been discussing all day.
The one who died and is now alive.
A stranger who sends them back to Jerusalem with this great news.
It’s a wonderful story, adding to the wonder of Easter Sunday. Whenever I prepare this message, I can’t help but see the players in my minds eye. See the two men, see Jesus, see their amazement once they recognize the stranger for who he is.
Beyond the great story however, there are lessons to be learned from their experience.
A question often asked in Bible discussions is “why didn’t they recognize Him?” There are a number of answers that would be best discussed when we can meet together again in the Parlour for a study.
A spiritual lesson for all of us might consider how often we walk down this road of life, with Jesus at our side, and we don’t recognize Him.
We’re actually not looking for Him because we have everything under control. We don’t really need Jesus’ help, because we are totally self-sufficient, until we’re not. Then we’re likely to ask where Jesus actually is in our dilemma and anxiety.
Jesus promised to be with us until the very end of the age. (Matthew 28: 20).
We should learn to recognize the presence of God in our lives as we are all facing dilemma and anxiety in this age of Covid-19.
The other interesting lesson is that once Jesus decided to tune these two in, he didn’t get involved in a heavy discourse about the meaning of it all. Instead he as much as said, you guys should know all this. They were Jewish men who would have all been versed from childhood in their scriptures. Therefore, the dim-witted comment. Jesus takes them back through the teachings of the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets that all painted a picture of a suffering Messiah.
We can assume that the truth was beginning to dawn on them. However, it took one more experience to open their eyes. When Jesus took the bread and wine and served it to them it took them back to a time of Worship and then it all came together.
The truth included in our scriptures along with the experience of worship can bring it all together for us. Can open out eyes to the presence of the Eternal One, able to help us through any difficult experience.
I know we don’t have the opportunity to worship together, but the reading of a select passage followed by a time of meditation on is truth can give us that experience even if it is an individual moment of worship.
Finally, you have to love the moment when they get back to the other disciples, unable to hold back the news for even a moment longer that Jesus has risen to have the other disciples say “ya we know, Peter told us already.” Life can have its moments, can’t it.
This story ends with Jesus appearing to them all. Being present in the room when this happened had to make the run back to Jerusalem well worth the effort.