It was the third day after the crucifixion of Jesus and two of His disciples were walking the seven miles from Jerusalem to the obscure village of Emmaus.
They were sad and depressed as they discussed what had happened in Jerusalem. They were so pre-occupied with trying to understand the events of the past three days that they did not recognize that the stranger who began to walk along with them was Jesus.
They knew Jesus and yet they did not, really. Their “knowledge” was based on a misunderstanding of who and what Jesus was. To their credit, however, they listened with open hearts as the stranger explained to them the significance of the crucial events in Jerusalem.
Upon approaching Emmaus the stranger acted as though He was going farther but the two disciples – Cleopas and an unnamed one – urged Him strongly, “Stay with us.” They invited the still unrecognized Jesus to their home.
Their invitation was the turning point in their journey. As the stranger sat down and broke the bread they recognized Jesus and felt their hearts burning with them as they listened to Him.
Misinformation and wrong assumptions caused them to be sad and lose hope. Inviting Jesus to stay with them changed all that. Listening to the words of Jesus enlightened their minds and warmed their hearts. Witnessing Jesus break the bread opened their eyes and enabled them to “see” Jesus – the Risen Lord.
These days we need Jesus to stay with us. We want Him to accompany us through our griefs, losses, fears and hopelessness. Oftentimes we are misinformed; we make the wrong assumption that we are alone and without help. But the problem is not His presence; it is our failure to recognize Him as He accompanies us. When we listen to His word; when we partake of His body and blood that goes with the bread and wine; when we spend time with Him in prayer; or when we engage in meaningful fellowship with other believers, then our eyes are opened, and we are able to “see” Him.
Stay with us, dear Jesus and open our eyes that we may see You walking with us as we journey in this life. Amen.
(Bible reading: Luke 24:13-35)