Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26)
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, some women took spices they had prepared and went to the tomb where the Lord Jesus was laid. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered the death, which was the eternal curse and condemnation to all humanity.
That same day, two followers of Jesus were walking down to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along, they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus, the risen Lord, himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Jesus asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
Upon hearing this non-sense question, they suddenly stopped short, and showed their faces full of sadness. While suppressing their emotions, Cleopas, one of the two, slowly opened his mouth and explained, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”
What things?” Jesus asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.”
Their answer was a rational and precise description summarizing the story circulating among the people in Jerusalem at that time, and their personal hope in Jesus as Messiah. They believed Jesus would rescue Israel. However, it turned out to be false because Jesus was simply killed. What a disappointment! Their hearts were sinking. They lost the hope being liberated from the oppression of the Roman empire. All that Jesus did well matched with what was told generation after generation about Messiah. Jesus did miracles, healed the sick, and expelled demons. Even his teaching was not like other teachers or priests. They were always impressed by His wisdom and comforted by His teaching with compassion and love. Unfortunately, this caused a conflict between Jesus and the leading priests and their religious leaders.
They thought that it was a just minor issue, but the conflict was aggravating. Then the religious leaders started pressing on Israelites not to follow Jesus nor to listen to His teaching. However, more and more people were drawn into Jesus because the people were comforted by His message. Additionally, His teaching had an authority that was lacking in teachings of their religious leaders, priests, and teachers. Thus, they followed Jesus, and whenever Jesus taught, people flocked to listen to His powerful but comforting teaching because it touched their hearts. They never had such experience before. Jesus’ message was always full of compassion, love and hope. Although they did not initially noticed, they were slowly and steadily growing inwardly. One night, something unthinkable happened. Their religious leaders with a help from Judas Iscariot, one of the hand-picked twelve disciples, arrested Jesus while He was with His twelve disciples in the garden of Gethsemane.
The twelve disciples faithfully followed Jesus for the last three years, and they were known to be the best among all followers of Jesus. They did miracles of casting out demons as Jesus did, which separated them from other followers including the two. Among the Twelve, Peter was a really action-oriented disciple. He was the one who always wanted to be the first, and actually did. His zeal and energy for Jesus were unmatched. The two also heard about what Peter openly stated: he would follow Jesus even though he had to die. Peter actually carried swords to protect Jesus. They were told others were determined like Peter to protect Jesus.
However, to their surprise, when Jesus was actually arrested by the religious leaders, there was little resistance from the disciples except one: what Peter did. Peter drew his sword that he prepared, and cut off one ear of High Priest’s servant, who came along with others to capture Jesus. However, what really happened next was confusing, which did not make sense at all. Jesus did not approve the Peter’s action. Instead Jesus asked not to use violence by telling “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matt 26:52) Then Jesus healed the servant’s ear by putting it back, which was yet another miracle.
Soon all of the disciples including Peter fled from Jesus. The Eleven (less Judas Iscariot, who sold Jesus) who saw what happened to Jesus, must have thought the same would happen to them also. An enormous fear must have fallen on the Eleven. Especially, Peter, who openly claimed to follow Jesus till death, denied Jesus before a small servant girl and others multiple times. If their memory was correct, Peter denied Jesus three times. In fear, another disciple left his garment, and ran away naked. The Eleven in great fear hid themselves. Of their great confusion, disappointment, and even sadness, the two decided to leave Jerusalem, and go down to Emmaus. They thought they could forget about all these things and especially their sadness of losing the hope of being liberated from the Roman’s occupation. It was not easy to live under the Roman conquerors. They had to constantly please their conquerors. The Roman conquerors dictated everything, and they had to follow what was dictated by the Romans. Together with Jesus’ death their hope was evaporated. The Jesus, whom they believed as their liberator, was miserably crucified on cross. This all happened three days ago.
They were also told about a really strange story. Some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” (Luke 24:22-24) This story was even more confusing. It was wildly circulating in Jerusalem. Thus, they were asking to themselves. Did Jesus actually live again from the death? Was it really possible? They knew nobody could live again after being killed. Thus, they had to completely discount the story, but they were really sad. Their hearts were completely overwhelmed by the confusion and the disappointment of losing the hope.
Jesus, the risen Lord, who came and joined the two, explained: Messiah should suffer all these things before entering His glory. It took a long discourse with Jesus. Jesus patiently explained one by one because their mind and eyes were closed. Finally, Jesus sit down with them, took the bread and blessed it. He broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, the risen Lord.
Are we really different from the two followers of Jesus, who were going down to Emmaus in a great disappointment and sadness? How about our hearts and our eyes? Do we see the truth — Jesus is always with us? “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe.” Is this an exact description about us? Our Father, please open our eyes to see you, and empty our hearts so that we are filled with your love and compassion to others. This is our earnest prayer before you, Our Ever-Loving God.
Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)