“… until he broke the bread!”
Luke 24. 13-35
—When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ (The entire text for this week is below)
Fueled by those burning hearts, Cleopas and his companion jump up from the table and run the 7 miles back to Jerusalem because they have to tell their story—that Jesus was with them for 3 hours, talking with them, opening the Scriptures to them.
But, they say, “we didn’t know who he was until he broke the bread!”
I don’t know what kept Cleopas and his companion from recognizing Jesus. To be fair, I guess, the idea that Jesus was alive was at best a rumor based on a vision—not the kind of thing you’d stake your life on. And they weren’t exactly important people. This is the first, and the last, we hear of them in the gospel story. And they are on the road going away from Jerusalem—away from all the action and back to their everyday lives.
If the eleven remaining disciples were the core of Jesus’ followers, Cleopas and his friend were on the outer, outer ring—out there on the edge.
So they could be forgiven for never, in their wildest imagination, thinking they might be the people Jesus would seek out—if indeed he was alive at all.
But Jesus always goes to the edges.
Remember that. That’s important.
It’s the afternoon of the first Easter; the first day of a new world. Everything has changed. Everything is more strange than anyone could have imagined.
And where do we find Jesus?
Not heading for the halls of power to get even with his enemies.
And not with his closest friends—you remember, the ones who ran away and now are in hiding.
No. He shows up on a country road taking a three hour stroll on a pleasant Sunday afternoon with two acquaintances.
That’s the first thing to take from this story. Jesus thinks ordinary people are worth talking to. People like them; and people like you and me. People who want to understand, who want to hear what God is up to—we are worth three hours of Jesus’ time on the most important day since God said, “Let there be light!”
So don’t be afraid to wonder and imagine and ask your questions. Don’t be afraid to look deep into your own heart or the heart of God. Don’t be afraid to open yourself to the gentle promptings of the Spirit.
Because when you do, Jesus will come along side to be your guide. This is the promise of this story.
Prayer: Walk beside us, Faithful God, to teach us and guide us—to grow us into disciples who follow your will and love your world. Amen.
Luke 24. 13-35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.