“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened…” – Luke 24:13-14
There they are–two of Christ’s followers–trudging the old dirt road leading to Emmaus. Kicking pebbles here and there, they keep their arms folded, their eyes downcast. They talk in despairing voices. How could they have killed Jesus? Did they not hear his teachings? Did they not see the miracles? Why did God let it happen? His own son! With the Savior dead and buried, what hope does Israel have now? And Judas! Don’t even get me started on Judas!
They’re so into their discussion they don’t even see the stranger now walking beside them. “What are you talking about?” He asks. Can’t you just see the twinkle in His eye? They stop walking; but they just can’t bring themselves to look up. The question doesn’t even merit a response. Don’t you know? The stranger shrugs, shakes his head, inquires further, and the floodgates open. They tell it all. Every wretched detail–His name was Jesus, they begin. They tell of his signs and wonders–how despite all His great words and deeds, their own rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death. Only three days earlier, they explain, He was crucified on an old wooden cross. He died and was buried, along with their hope for salvation. Then, to top it all off, the women went to His tomb, found it empty, and now claim He has risen from the dead.
All this and Jesus was right before their eyes. How could they have missed Him?
How could we?
We know He rose from the dead–we’ve read the scriptures, heard the sermons, and sang the songs. Yet when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of life, we often live as though He were dead. We focus on our despair, we try to fix things ourselves, we try to carry the burden alone. All this when the one who walked before us–the one who understands the burden of this world more than anyone–who laughed and cried, who felt the joy of friendship and the pang of betrayal, who felt misunderstood, alone, and abandoned–He is not dead. He is risen; and He walks right beside us.
Tell me, He says. All we have to do is look up.