Common English Bible (CEB)
On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him.
He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast.
The one named Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?”
He said to them, “What things?”
They said to him, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. But there’s more: Some women from our group have left us stunned. They went to the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body. They came to us saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who told them he is alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women said. They didn’t see him.”
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets.
When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”
They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread.
But Emmaus is one of these cities we will never find on a map. No historian has been able to locate its existence. This scripture in Luke tells us it is approximately seven miles outside of Jerusalem and that is all we have to go on.
A distance of seven miles would probably take these two disciples about two hours to complete. They start off on this journey talking about the past few days' events. I'm sure they were confused, sad, and unsure of their future.
Somewhere along the way, a "stranger" joins them on their walk and they talk to him about all of these confusing events.
Jesus comes to them as a stranger. The past is blurred and the future is bleak because these men cannot see past their immediate sorrow. They cannot even see the one they called Rabbi and taught them the ways of God as he walks beside them.
As they come to Emmaus, Jesus begins to walk on but the disciples take this opportunity to invite this stranger to join them for the evening.
It is during a common meal when the disciples' eyes are opened and they recognize their friend and companion.
Maybe we don't need to find Emmaus on a map to picture this event in our minds. Maybe Emmaus isn't meant to be found in one exact spot.
Maybe events like this one at Emmaus happen every single day of our lives. Maybe, if we open our eyes, we might find Jesus in the stranger who crosses our paths.
Maybe searching for Emmaus isn't the right approach?
Join us on Sunday morning at 10:30 and let's contemplate this Emmaus road encounter and what it might mean in our own lives.