Tuesday, March 22, 2016
by Linda Goodman, copyright April 20, 2016
Scripture makes it clear that one of the two people on the road to Emmaus was Cleopas. The other person is not referred to by name or gender; only by inclusion in the pronouns “them” and “they.” For purposes of this story, Cleopas is travelling with his sister, Deborah.
(Cleopas and Deborah arrive, both very excited, talking over one another as they try to address the group of eleven disciples and their friends.)
(shaking his head)
Deborah, Deborah, we are talking over one another. Let us stop trying to best one another in the telling of this tale, lest we make no sense at all.
Of course, brother. You tell the tale, and I will offer what commentary I can.
(to the crowd)
My friends, come listen to what we have to tell you. It is an incredible tale! My sister Deborah and I were walking to the village of Emmaus, which is about 7 miles outside of Jerusalem. We were deep in conversation about the death of our Lord, discussing and questioning every last detail. We could not understand why God would allow Jesus to be shamed, disgraced, and murdered – with his own people complicit in the crime. Suddenly we noticed a strange man walking beside us, listening intently to everything we were saying.
I was upset, at first. After all, eavesdropping is disrespectful. But then I noticed how kind this man's face was. And his eyes……his eyes held comfort, peace….even love. Our instincts told us we were in no danger.
He asked us what we were discussing so intently and—
And I asked him, “Good Sir, are you the only one who does not know what has happened to Jerusalem in the past few days?”
And he asked, “What has happened?”
So we started telling him about how Jesus the Nazarene, God’s man, a great prophet, blessed by both man and God, had been unjustly accused and arrested after being betrayed by Judas. And Judas was Jesus' own disciple, a man so trusted that he was made the group’s treasurer!
Who would have guessed that Judas had such evil hidden inside him.
Then we told the man walking beside us about how our high priests and leaders turned on Jesus, getting him sentenced to death by crucifixion.
We told the man that we had had our hopes up so high, that we thought Jesus was the Messiah come to free us from the tyranny of Rome. We told him that today is the third day after Jesus crucifixion, and some woman are making outlandish claims that they went to Jesus tomb early this morning, and it was empty! Angels, they claimed, told them that Jesus was alive. Some of our own friends went to his tomb and verified that it was empty. They did not see Jesus though. What are we to think?”
Then the man chuckled! Yes, you heard me right, the man chuckled! “Why are you so hard-headed?” he laughed. “If you believed what your prophets said, you would have known these things were going to happen; that the Messiah had to suffer before entering into his glory.”
And then this incredible stranger walking at our side began at the Books of Moses and continued on through the prophets, explaining all the scriptures that referred to the Messiah. We could feel a fire burning within us as he explained their meaning.
When we at last arrived at Emmaus, the stranger announced that he would be on his way, but both of us begged him to stay. He had taught us so much! We wanted to know even more. We implored him to have dinner with us. After all, the day was done.
So he did stay, and here is what happened: He sat down at the table, broke and blessed the bread, and gave it to us. At that very moment we recognized him!
Cleopas and Deborah together
It was JESUS!
Jesus himself was sitting at our table, just as alive and you and me! It really happened, just as the women said. Jesus has indeed risen from the dead!
(gasping in awe, pointing ahead)
Look! There Jesus is now, standing among you. See! Now you cannot doubt that we tell the truth! Look and see for yourselves.
(They fall to their knees and extend their arms)
Praise be to God and to Jesus Christ, his only son and our Messiah!
Clopas and Deborah
Praise be to our Lord and Saviour, now and forever more.