The Road to Emmaus
Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe. (John 20:29)
The Gospels contain multiple stories of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. Of these, the appearance on the road to Emmaus is one of the most detailed. Two of Jesus’ disciples were walking to Emmaus. These two men, one of whom was named Cleopas, were among the extended group of Jesus’ followers but not of the twelve of Jesus’ closest disciples. The location of Emmaus is unknown. Scholars have proposed four possible locations within three to twenty miles of Jerusalem.
It was the first day of the week, the day of Jesus’ resurrection; and as the disciples walked along, they were discussing everything that had happened. Then Jesus joined them, but the men did not recognize him.
When the trio reached Emmaus, Jesus acted as if he were going on. Jesus was following hospitality etiquette of the time. In Near Eastern cultures, a guest was obligated to turn down an invitation of hospitality until it was vigorously repeated. The disciples insisted, and Jesus accepted their offer of hospitality. As they were sharing a meal, Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. These actions were Jesus’ signature; these same verbs are used in the telling of the feeding of the five thousand and in the sharing of the Lord’s Supper. It was through Jesus’ actions rather than his words that the disciples finally recognized him.
• Jesus joined two friends on the walk to Emmaus, but the friends did not recognize Jesus until he broke bread.
• Even though we can’t see Jesus, we believe he is alive.
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