On the Road with Jesus
April 26, 2020
Third Sunday of Easter
Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is no w the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he w as with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Opening Prayer: Lord, I praise you and am so grateful for this prayer time. Thank you that despite my stumbling, you walk beside me and steady me. Open my eyes and ears now.
1. “Jesus...Drew near and Walked with Them”: Jesus walked with the disciples on the way to Emmaus, and he is here now, and walking beside us. When we pause a moment to reflect on this powerful truth and let it penetrate our hearts, no matter what our state of mind is, or what emotions well up, or what situations are confronting us, we can draw strength from Jesus walking beside us. What comfort this realization is! It is and should be our fountain of strength and our shield of protection on the battleground of life.
2. “They Stopped Looking Downcast”: Could the disciples have failed to recognize our Lord because they were looking down? Looking down might indicate their minds were closed and their hearts were turned inward on themselves in sorrow over Jesus’s death, pondering why and how this all could have happened! When the unexpected happens we can get stuck asking the wrong questions too. It is understandable to ask “how” and “why,” but to grow and begin to move forward, it is more helpful instead to ask in prayer, “What do you want me to learn from this, Lord?” When we say this prayer humbly and diligently, our Lord will begin to inspire our hearts with hope and a new direction.
3. “Oh, How Foolish You Are!”: Being called a fool can snap us right out of our navel-gazing, even causing us to momentarily forget our sorrow. It’s possible that the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus because they clung to their interpretation of how Jesus would “redeem” his people and the role they would play. When Jesus reoriented the disciples to understand God’s plan through the Scripture, their despairing hearts began to burn with new hope. When we hold on to our agenda with a prideful, “my way or the highway” attitude, we are being foolish. Going to prayer, even just momentarily acknowledging Jesus as Lord who already knows the answer and who can overcome any difficulty, will help defeat the temptation for control. Recognizing his presence and ultimate control over every situation increases our humility, and prevents rash decisions. We are the Lord’s good servants first. Our greatest desire is his wi ll and acknowledging that Jesus is walking beside us will help us maintain interior peace.
Conversing with Christ: Thank you Lord for encouraging me to focus outward towards you and others. I do desire your will above mine. By surrendering my own desire for control, I can be more open to your gentle leading.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will avoid rash words or actions, pausing to remember I am your good servant first.