Cleopas and his unnamed companion are discussing the events of the past few days. On Friday, the man they believed to the Redeemer of Israel was crucified and buried. On Sunday morning, they heard about the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection. They were, of course, trying to make some sense out of what they believed about the Messiah from Scripture and the reality of their experience. They were confused and sad, no longer knowing what to believe.
As they continued on the road to Emmaus, a stranger asked them what they are talking about. The men told tell the stranger about all that had happened to Jesus. The stranger declared: “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.” (Luke 25:28, NRSV)
At this point, the two travelers still did not know the identity of the “stranger.” It is not clear why they did not recognize Jesus. Perhaps it is because they were not expecting to see him as they walked home. Maybe they did not recognize Jesus because of some sort of Divine blindness and they were unable to recognize Jesus until the time was right. Or maybe their grief, their doubts, their worries clouded their vision.
When the three were about to enter Emmaus, the “stranger” passes on by, apparently continuing on his way until Cleopas and his companion invite him to stay with them. The stranger accepted their invitation. “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.” (Luke 24:30-31)
The Road to Emmaus is one of my favorite biblical stories because I can relate to it. There are times when I am “blind” to the presence of my Lord walking beside me. My doubts, my sorrows, my “busy-ness” blind me to God’s presence. Sometimes I feel like I walk alone, that God has forgotten me. But it is in the breaking of bread, gathered around the Lord’s Table with his people, that I know I can always find him. Without a doubt, my Lord, my Savior, my God is present in the bread and wine. In partaking of Communion, my eyes are opened and I can clearly feel his presence strengthening and comforting me for the journey to Emmaus and beyond.
Good and gracious God, we thank you for your blessed Son who walks with us on the journey of life. Grant that our eyes may be open to see your glory and feel your presence in all circumstances. In the name of Jesus who gave his body and blood for our salvation, we pray. Amen