Two disciples walk the dusty, rocky path from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Their hearts are heavy. There are many things they don’t understand, and with each step they feel more and more disheartened. Not far into their journey a stranger joins them. They fall into step, expressing the thoughts of their hearts as they go. As they discuss the perplexities of the weekend, the Stranger speaks words that bring hope…..something they have not had for the past several days. They can’t help but think that these are just the words that Christ would have spoken; yet He remains unrecognized.
Had Jesus made Himself known to them, their hearts would have been satisfied. In the fullness of their joy they would have hungered for nothing more.
Jesus explained the true mission of the Messiah. Their expectation of an earthly throne had been misleading, and Christ knew it would interfere with a right understanding of His descent from the highest to the lowest position.
With weary steps and hungry stomachs they finish their 8-mile journey. As the disciples are about to enter their home, the Stranger acts as though He will continue His journey. They invite Him to stay – for they are drawn to this Man. They hunger not only for physical food but also for the words of life that fall from His lips. He does not seem to accept their invitation, but they press it upon Him.
Had the disciples failed to press their invitation, they would not have known that their traveling companion was the risen Lord.
Do we seek Christ with hungry hearts and purpose that won’t give up? Or are we content to know His name but not know Him? Could it be that we won’t come to truly know the risen Lord until we have insisted that He dwell with us?
One look at His hands is all it takes, and the joy that ensues makes it impossible for them to sit still and talk. They set out again on the same path by which they just came. They do not see, they do not know, that they have the protection of Him who has traveled the road with them.
On a dark night several years before, angels had brought glad tidings to a flock of shepherds of the birth of a Savior. This was good news indeed – God came to live among men. But even gladder tidings are carried by these disciples on another dark night, as they carry the greatest message ever given to the world – the message of a risen Savior.
Could it be that the best tidings often come on the darkest nights?
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Rejoice, for the Lord has risen indeed. (Luke 2:14, 24:32)