Sustained by God’s Word of Hope
Luke 24:13-53: Two disciples meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Not recognizing him, they tell him what had happened the past few days. After sharing a meal with him, they realize he is Jesus raised from the dead. Then they return to Jerusalem and share this good news with others. Jesus then appears to his disciples, promises that they will receive power from above, and is then taken up to heaven.
[Jesus said:] “Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?”
13On that same day two of Jesus' followers were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,14and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened.15As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them;16they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him.17Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?”
They stood still, with sad faces.18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn't know the things that have been happening there these last few days?”
19“What things?” he asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did.20Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified.21And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened.22Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb,23but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive.24Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.”
25Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said!26Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?”27And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.
28As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther;29but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them.30He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them.31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight.32They said to each other, “Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
33They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others34and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!”
35The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.
36While the two were telling them this, suddenly the Lord himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37They were terrified, thinking that they were seeing a ghost.38But he said to them, “Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts coming up in your minds?39Look at my hands and my feet, and see that it is I myself. Feel me, and you will know, for a ghost doesn't have flesh and bones, as you can see I have.”
40He said this and showed them his hands and his feet.41They still could not believe, they were so full of joy and wonder; so he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”42They gave him a piece of cooked fish,43which he took and ate in their presence.
44Then he said to them, “These are the very things I told you about while I was still with you: everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the writings of the prophets, and the Psalms had to come true.”
45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,46and said to them, “This is what is written: the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later,47and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.48You are witnesses of these things.49 And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait in the city until the power from above comes down upon you.”
50 Then he led them out of the city as far as Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them.51 As he was blessing them, he departed from them and was taken up into heaven.52They worshiped him and went back into Jerusalem, filled with great joy,53and spent all their time in the Temple giving thanks to God.
Why didn’t the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus recognize him right away? At what point did they recognize him? Why? How does one recognize Jesus today? How do the disciples respond when Jesus appears to them? What did they do after Jesus ascended into heaven? Reread verse 47. What does this verse teach about the role of Christians today?
Lord Jesus, you are always in our midst—in the smile of a stranger, in the hands of those who work for justice, in arms outstretched in love. Forgive me for the times when I fail to recognize you. Heighten my awareness of your presence, that I may stay attuned to your way. Amen.
Those traveling today
1 Peter 1:1-25: Christians are encouraged to be filled with a living hope.