The journey to Emmaus is a mystery. Along the way we meet a stranger and He explains the Scriptures to us. Then He breaks bread and the mystery is revealed.
Let’s introduce the stranger who accompanies us on life’s journey.
Let’s look at Luke 24:13-35 and the mystery on the road to Emmaus.
Luke 24:13-16 The Road to Emmaus
Luke 24:13 says, “Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.” That road once led west out of Jerusalem through a landscape of trees and fields to a warm spring and a town called Emmaus. The ruins are by Route 1, 40 minutes west of Jerusalem at the Latrun exit inside Canada Park, a national park maintained by a Canadian Jewish fund with beautiful trees and fields. Along the ancient road Jesus met two disciples and their eyes about to be awakened to the resurrection. Do we recognize Jesus on our travels? They did not at first.
Luke 24:15b-16 Jesus the Stranger
On the road to Emmaus we read in Like 24:15b-16 “Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” Two disciples thought Jesus was a stranger. Is He a stranger to us who faithfully attend church? They were well-known to Jesus. As close as they may have been, they did not recognize Him. Sometimes, those who are closest to the Church also do not recognize Jesus. We are distracted by events and material things that take our minds off Him. Yet, in the midst of all the paths life takes us, Jesus is there gently walking alongside of us.
Luke 24:25-27 The Mystery of Jesus
Imagine your pastor preaching, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart” as Jesus did in Luke 24:25. Joining two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus “expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (verse 27) Yet, they failed to recognize Him until later that day. He also talks with our hearts as we hear the Holy Scriptures read. He speaks to us softly through every living thing. He discusses issues with our consciences as we do daily tasks. Yet, often, like the two disciples we see Jesus and don’t recognize Him. Is it because “faith is the … evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)?
Luke 24:28-32 Our Hearts Burn
Along the road to Emmaus two disciples encountered Jesus, but did not recognize Him. He explained the Scriptures to them, but they did not recognize Him. He almost departed from them, but they invited Him to stay. Then, the guest became the host, as Jesus broke the bread at the meal table. “Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:31) Is this a picture of our lives? Does Jesus join us on our journeys? Do our hearts burn? Does He expound the Scriptures to us? Do our hearts burn? Does He then open our eyes at simple events like a meal?
Luke 24:33-35 The Mystery Revealed
An original definition of the word sacrament was simple. It meant “a visible sign of an invisible grace" according to Augustine of Hippo or as many still teach today, “all of life is a sacrament.” Eastern Orthodox call these sacraments mysteries because we see one thing and believe another. Let us pray to see God’s invisible grace in the visible things around us. For instance, communion bread is far more than a mere symbol. It is a sacrament, a visible sign of an invisible grace through which Jesus the Messiah is revealed to us. Has the mystery also been revealed to us that, “The Lord is risen indeed” (Luke 24:34)?
Our lives are a journey to Emmaus. Along the way we meet a stranger who walks with us and opens the Scriptures to our understanding. Then as we partake of the bread do we recognize who that stranger is and the Good News he brings?