Easter Sunday

The journey of Cleopas
It is approaching midday as Cleopas and his unnamed friend are preparing to leave Jerusalem.  The Passover and the Sabbath have now passed and things are beginning to calm down around the ancient city.  The crowds are disbursing, returning to their hometowns.  

Cleopas had hoped to leave earlier but was delayed by a rumor that Jesus' body was now missing from the tomb.  Some of the women claimed to have been greeted by angels at the grave site where they were told Jesus had risen.  When the rest of the disciples went to the tomb they found that it was empty, but there were no angels present.

As Cleopas and his friend set out on the seven mile journey to Emmaus, they are greeted by a stranger on the same path.  In these times it was common for people to try to travel in groups due to thieves and bandits along the roadways.  

As expected, Cleopas and his companion are overcome with confusion, disappointment and depression as a result of the events that have taken place the past few days.  They now have very little to live for as their hopes of deliverance for the Jews was stolen away and killed in a matter of a few hours.  

The teaching stranger
At one point the stranger asks them what their conversation is about.  Cleopas immediately assumes that the man must have just arrived in Jerusalem and has no clue what has occurred.  He tells him about Jesus and how they expected Him to be the deliverer of the Jews.  They also express their disappointment at His death.

The stranger then asks them a question, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?"  At this he begins to teach the men of all the things the Scriptures said about the Christ.  This conversation lasts the duration of their journey.  

As the sun is setting into the evening hours, Cleopas and his friend reach their destination.  The stranger continues on by himself but Cleopas pleads with him to stay the night with them.  After some convincing, the stranger decides to stay.  

Jesus breaks bread 
After dinner is prepared the stranger breaks bread and gives thanks to the Lord for the food.  As the bread is broken, both men noticed he prays for food in a way that is strangely familiar.  Suddenly they realize this is no stranger. They are in the presence of Jesus.  As soon as this realization takes place, Jesus disappears.  Even though it is late, the two men immediately begin the journey back to Jerusalem to share the news of what they have just experienced.

And so here we stand today.  We were not there to witness the events of 2,000 years ago. Like Cleopas and his friend, we never saw the empty tomb and all we know of Jesus' resurrection is from what others have told us.  Like Cleopas and his friend, we are now left to walk the road of life in the presence of a Savior we may not always see, resting our faith on a testimony brought to us by ancient stories.  And like Cleopas and his friend, we too have the responsibility to share the news of our experiences with our friends.

It is my hope that this week we have all had the opportunity to grow a little closer to God by taking a little closer look at Jesus' final week.  I love you all and I pray that we will enter this next week compelled to remember that final promise, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  (Matthew 28:18-20). 

Happy Easter!

Luke 24:13-35


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