On the road to Emmaus

That afternoon Jesus joined two sorrowful disciples who were walking from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, but they did not recognize him (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-16). When they started to explain their sadness, they expressed surprise that their unknown companion had not heard about the crucifixion of Jesus. Their understanding of Jesus’ mission was not very clear, for they had hoped he would bring national liberation to Israel; but they believed in him nevertheless, and they condemned the leaders of the Jews for crucifying him (Luke 24:17-21). Furthermore, they had heard first-hand reports from those who saw the empty tomb and heard the angels’ announcements of his resurrection (Luke 24:22-24).

Jesus then gave the two disciples a proper understanding of the Messiah and his mission, by referring them to the Scriptures. He showed that the Old Testament consistently pointed to a Saviour-Messiah who had to suffer before he could enter his glory. The death and resurrection of Jesus brought to completion the pattern that God had been working through the history of his people (Luke 24:25-27).

When almost at Emmaus, Jesus and the two disciples stopped for their evening meal. As Jesus gave thanks and broke the bread to begin the meal, the disciples suddenly recognized who he was. He immediately disappeared from their sight, such was the mysterious nature of his resurrection body (Luke 24:28-31). The two disciples were deeply stirred by his teaching and, without waiting to rest their weary bodies, hurried back the twelve kilometres to Jerusalem to tell the apostles and other disciples of their discovery. In the meantime Peter also had met the risen Jesus (Mark 16:13; Luke 24:32-35; cf. 1 Cor 15:5).

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