“…And He made as though He would’ve gone further. But they constrained Him, saying, Abide with us…”–Luke 24:28-29
After His death, burial, and resurrection, we find Jesus in the company of two of His former followers journeying to Emmaus, some 7 miles from Jerusalem. The two travelers are unaware that it is indeed their Master on the road with them and thus begin a conversation that may have went something like this:
Cleopas: I don’t know what to think of it all.
His traveling companion just shook his head, seeming to be lost in thought as well. The events the last few days had shaken the faith of all His disciples. Maybe that was the real reason they traveled to Emmaus this day: to clear their heads and get away from it all. It wasn’t safe to be a follower of Jesus in Jerusalem anymore; Caiaphas and his pharisaical minions had Roman soldiers on a short leash to hunt them down like wolves.
Cleopas: I believed in Him, I really did. But it was all a lie or a hoax? …No. He was a great man and a great prophet of God.
Cleopas battled doubt and disbelief as every step pounding the dust to the ground steeled his heart against what he had once believed to be true. How could this have happened? He was meant to lead them out of the roman oppression. He was their Savior…
Other Traveler: Do you believe the story of the women?
Cleopas wasn’t sure he’d made up his mind about this. Several of the women in the company of Christ’s followers had visited his tomb and reportedly saw it empty. What’s more, they claimed to have seen angels guarding the door which told them personally the Jesus had risen from the dead.
Cleopas: I wouldn’t trust the account of a woman for such a serious matter. Peter visited the grave and it was indeed empty: that I do believe. But he made no mention of angels… or resurrections.
Other Traveler: Meaning…?
Cleopas: Meaning…. meaning, I don’t know what I believe anymore.
Cleopas looked at the ground where his dusty feet plodded along purposelessly. He recalled the day, not unlike this one, when He had met Jesus and been forever changed. He was elated and overjoyed, this man gave so much hope and peace to Cleopas’s life. But, now look at him; he was back at square one: kicking the dust of humanity off his feet only to cover them in it again and again.
Stranger: Of what are you speaking friends? And why is your countenance sorrowful?
Cleopas and his friend had been so engrossed in their own woes and thoughts that they hadn’t taken notice of another traveler on the road to Emmaus this day.
Other Traveler: You are coming from Jerusalem. How is it possible that you do not know of the events which have transpired their these last days? How that Jesus of Nazareth, a great prophet of God, was crucified and buried. We were his followers, those who believed he was the Messiah… Now we fear for our lives and hide away for Caiaphas and the Romans. Besides all of this, it is the third day since He was crucified.
Stranger: Could you possibly have missed it?
Both Cleopas and his friend turned to look at the stranger in confusion.
Stranger: All of these events were foretold by the prophets. Was it not expedient and necessary for Christ to suffer and die, and then to be resurrected and enter into glory? Why do you doubt?
They continued to speak of these things until night began to fall and they entered into the city.
Stranger: Well, I must continue on.
Cleopas: No. It is growing dark and the roads of Palestine are not safe after nightfall. Would you stay and break bread with us? You can continue your journey tomorrow. There is much we would ask of you.
The stranger agreed to stay and dine with them that night. As He blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to His hosts, suddenly they recognized Him. Instantly He vanished. The were bewildered by what they had witness, but then it all made sense. Everything He told them on the road, about the prophets, about Christ’s death and resurrection. They had to tell the others.
Nightfall was of no consequence anymore, this was too important to belay. It was seven miles back to Jerusalem. But the distance was not as great as the burden that burned within them. They had seen Jesus, alive!
(Note: what you have just read was a fictional dramatization of a biblical account of the actual events of history after the death of Jesus Christ. I do not profess any of that to be accurate or inspired, but if it helped you see things differently, more personally, it did what it was intended.)
What’s the point I’m trying to make? Was all this just to get you to read a familiar passage of Scripture in a new way? No, there is a greater point and purpose here. The two followers of Jesus did not know Him for who He was until after they invited Him into their lodging to stay. “He made as though He would have gone further”, this is purely conjecture, but I believe He would’ve gone on and never been revealed to those two men as the risen Christ if they had not asked Him in.
Do I even need to spell out the application here? You can be walking with Christ and not know it. (Wow. Did you catch that?) What blinded their eyes to the Master all along the road? The hand of God, a lack of faith? Who knows? What we do know is that until they decided to let Him into their lives and offered Him the gift of a friend and not a stranger, they knew not to whom they spoke; nor were the mysteries of His words revealed.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist