Luke 24:28-35 (NIV)
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Cleopas and his companion, both disicples of Jesus, although they were both prevented from recognizing Him as He walked with them and taught them on the road to Emmaus, were completely fascinated with what He was teaching about the Messiah directly from the Scriptures. So, when they reached their house in Emmaus, and when Jesus simply said good-bye and started to continue down the road, the two disciples begged Him to stay with them for the night. Such hospitality was common in Israel, and He agreed to stay.
The first order of business was a simple evening meal, bread and vegetables, with maybe a small portion of meat or a cup of soup. They put the food out, then all gathered on cushions around the low table to eat. Before they started, Jesus picked up the bread, lifted it high, and chanted the prayer of thanksgiving. Then He broke the bread in half and gave it Cleopas and his friend.
As he chanted the prayer, the two disciples could feel goosebumps start to rise on their skin. The sound of His voice and the rhythm of the chant were eerily familiar. And when He broke the bread and leaned forward to hand it to them, He looked each directly in the eye for the briefest moment.
Suddenly they both recognized who it was that they had been walking with and talking with. It was like scales had fallen off their eyes so that they could see. They both leaped to their feet while shouting in unison, “Jesus!” And, at that moment, He simply vanished, leaving only a dent in the cushions where He had been sitting.
The room was as silent as a tomb for several seconds as their minds spun rapidly, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Then they looked at each other, each seeing their own dumb-struck wonder reflected in the other’s face. And then, finally, the words came, spilling out all at once: “That was Jesus! It had to be Him! That was why His words had such a powerful effect on us! He really has risen from the dead!”
In seconds they had grabbed their walking sticks and thrown their cloaks across their shoulders. But their sticks never touched the ground as they set off at a dead run in the fading daylight back toward Jerusalem. The others had to know about this!
When they arrived breathless in the city, they headed straight to the upper room, where they found the whole place already abuzz with excitement. Not only had Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), He had appeared to Simon as well! They listened closely as the stories were told, their excitement steadily growing as the ramifications of all this sunk in. Then they shared their own experience with the risen Jesus while the rest of the people in the room sat in silent wonder.
Father, it strikes me as I witness these scenes that none of these men and women had taken an evangelism class, and I’m pretty sure none of them had had advanced theological training either. But when it came to sharing about Jesus, none of that slowed them down a bit! All they did was to share their own experience with the risen Jesus. And, in a very real sense, that’s all that You have called us to do as well. Lord, forgive us for allowing a lack of “credentials” to keep us silent. Our only necessary credential is experience with You. And forgive us for allowing ourselves to be intimidated by the idea of being a witness. We don’t need memorized presentations, lists of verses, and answers to commonly asked questions. All we really need is a life-transforming experience with You that we can share. Help us to just rely on that, and on Your loving presence, to help us. Amen.
For those of you who enjoy my meditations on the Scriptures, I have compiled, updated, and reformatted the meditations on the entire book of Mark in a single volume. Entitled “When We Listen, A Devotional Commentary on Mark,” it is available on Amazon.com (Search for William S. Robertson When We Listen) or on eagerpress.com (no search necessary – it comes up on the front page of the site!).
God bless you all!