For those of you who don’t know Luke intimately, this is one of the stories the good Doctor uses to give evidence of the Resurrection, and it is by far my favourite resurrection story. Two of Jesus’ followers (neither of them part of the 12 apostles) are walking out of Jerusalem to a village nearby on the Sunday morning. Their heads already reeling from the events of Good Friday, they have just heard that the tomb is empty… shocked, confused, probably more-than-a-little afraid, they walk and talk about their recent experiences. And then a stranger joins them…
This is first century Palestine; people are friendly and talking to fellow-travellers, even unknown ones, is probably quite normal. Our two disciples start by describing the recent events in Jerusalem to this new companion, and then are amazed as he goes on to explain the meaning of the recent events to them from the Jewish Scriptures.
Starting with the Torah (the law of Moses) and then proceeding into the Neviim (the Prophets), the stranger explains to them, scripture by scripture, the nature of the Messiah, his mission and how he had to suffer, die and rise again. As they walk the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus these two travellers get the most awesome bible overview possible, because their mysterious travelling companion is none other than Jesus Himself.
At the end of their journey, they get home and invite the stranger in for a meal. He blesses the food exactly as Jesus had in the past (think feeding the 5000). At that moment, as they realise who it is who’s with them, He vanishes. Amazed, they promptly run all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples what they had seen.
I love this story. How amazing it must have been to be walked through the bible by Jesus Himself. There are so many questions, so many confusing stories in the Old Testament, and here is The Author Himself opening up the pages and giving the Definitive bible overview. What I wouldn’t give to be able to listen in on that conversation!
I love the fact that the second thing that Jesus did after the Resurrection (after proving he’s alive!) is give His followers a basis for understanding what was going on. He talked them through the Scriptures to show them that this was actually the plan from the beginning. It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a victory by God’s enemies, but it was the planned and foretold ultimate victory of God Himself. This strange earth-shattering (quite literally, if you read Matthews account) event they were part of was not something new and unforeseen; it was the continuation of YHWH’s covenantal plan for Israel and the world… And it was that basis of understanding that helped the disciples to go from shock and fear through to the praising in the Temple that ends Luke (and begins Acts).
Lord, would you teach me as you taught them. Would you open my eyes to understand your Word and your works. Amen