“Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” (Luke 24:18-19)
Thus began one of the strangest recorded encounters following Christ’s resurrection. This was just a little later on the same day, and the person asking the first question was Cleopas, one of the followers of Christ who was close enough to the inner circle to have been present at the crucifixion and was already aware of the stories going around that Jesus was no longer in the tomb and some of the women had seen visions of angels and were claiming that He was alive. The person asking the second question was Jesus playing dumb, making the biggest understatement in the history of the world, “What things?”
Cleopas and his companion were walking from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus, which is about a two- or three-hour hike, when they were joined by a role-playing resurrected Christ, but they were prevented from recognizing Him. [Note: Though this has traditionally been interpreted as two men whom Jesus joined, there is nothing in the narrative that would indicate the gender of the other disciple. Some scholars believe it was Cleopas and his wife, Mary, who was mentioned by name at the crucifixion. If that’s true, this would be another positive stroke for women. Culturally, Cleopas and his wife would have counted as one disciple, not because they were one in marriage, but because you only count the men. Jesus had taught His disciples, by example, to count the women.]
“And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) What would you give to have been in on that conversation? This is one of the replays I’m going to order up when I get to heaven. It’s telling that Jesus didn’t give His version of the current events, or His own authority to back up what He was saying, He used only scripture, and, obviously, the scripture to date which would have been Moses and all the prophets. I can see at least two good reasons for this. First, He wanted to show them how He fulfilled all of the scriptures that had been pointing to these events all along. And second, He wanted them to have a place to turn when He was gone and they were tempted to doubt.
As you may know, the end of their lesson came when they reached Emmaus and invited Jesus to join them for tea time, and when He picked up the bread and broke it, their eyes were opened and they knew who He was, and immediately He vanished.
You mean we’ve been spending the last couple hours in a private discipleship session with the resurrected Christ? Cleopas must have knocked himself in the head.
Thus we fully understand their statement, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32) And won’t our hearts do the same thing today as we look into the exact same scriptures and He talks with us through His Holy Spirit just as if we were walking along with Him?