In his Gospel, Dr. Luke tells the story of two of Jesus' disciples walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus. It was a 7-mile walk over hilly, sometimes steep, rocky terrain traversing a road subject to the dangers of robbers and thieves. They had timed their trip to have them at their destination while it was still daylight and just in time to be home for supper.
It was Sunday afternoon, a mere 48 hours or so since they had seen their world come to a devastating end. Their beloved Jesus, the One they believed was their long-awaited Messiah, had been crucified and buried in a tomb. With Him was buried everything they had believed was true. They had heard that some of the women had seen Jesus alive that morning, but it all seemed like a cruel joke, or the imaginations of minds overcome with grief. As they walked together, they talked and reflected and wrestled with the implications of their loss.
Somewhere along the way another man came and joined them as they walked--he wondered what they were discussing. Preoccupied with their sadness, they couldn't imagine how anyone could be unaware of the events of the last few days. They recounted their story of who Jesus was, who they had thought He was, and the horrible things that had happened to Him and how His death had crushed all their hopes.
The man gently scolded them for their lack of faith and reminded them of what had been foretold about the Christ having to suffer before He entered His glory. He went on to discuss Scripture after Scripture, explaining what the prophecies meant and how they were fulfilled in their Jesus and confirmed to them that Jesus really was the promised Messiah. The disciples were so drawn to the things this man was sharing with them, that as they reached Emmaus they urged their new friend to stay and share their meal with them. He agreed.
As they sat together at the table, their guest took the role of host and blessed the food and broke the bread and gave it to the disciples . . . maybe it was a characteristic way of breaking the bread, maybe it was the first time that day that the two disciples had looked this man in the eye, or maybe it was that their eyes fell on the nail prints in the hands that gave them bread, but suddenly they recognized Him!! This was Jesus!! Their own precious Jesus!! Alive and real and eating with them, whole and Himself and utterly beautiful!!
As suddenly as Jesus had joined them on the road, He disappeared. The startled, but overjoyed disciples, said, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" Luke 24:32 NIV.
Forgetting their hunger, forgetting their fatigue after their long hike, forgetting that it was now evening and darkness was falling, forgetting everything but the fact that Jesus was ALIVE, they nearly scrambled over each other to get out the door! With no thought to the risk of attack on the dangerous road in the dark, they practically ran back to Jerusalem. Everything they had thought was lost was not only not lost, but had been turned to a victory of indescribable proportions! Jesus was alive!
When it seems everything you've believed in has fallen through, and you're oblivious to everything but what you've lost, there is one event that overturns every hope-crushing moment:
"It is true! The Lord has risen . . ." Luke 24:34 NIV
Do we live on the road to Emmaus--so blinded by our pain, stuck under the apparent hopelessness of circumstances that we can't see the Master walking with us, explaining truth to us? Or do we instead, with eyes opened to the supernatural, seemingly impossible, but very real Presence of Jesus Christ, walk with a sense of urgency, a lightness in our step, an energy that supersedes our fatigue and fear, live on the road back from Emmaus, bearing the news that Jesus, our precious Lord and Savior and Friend is ALIVE?
JESUS IS ALIVE!!
THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING!!
I know which road I want to live on--what about you?