Summary: When Jesus resurrected the first person he appeared to was Mary Magdalene. We might be familiar with that and the appearance to his disciples, but there was another one between Mary and the Apostles. Let's look at Jesus' encounter with the two on the road to Emmaus.
WALKING WITH THE RESURRECTED JESUS
When Jesus resurrected the first person he appeared to was Mary Magdalene, who thought he was the gardener at first. We might be familiar with that story and the appearance to his disciples, but there was another appearance that took place between him seeing Mary and the Apostles. Today we'll look at Jesus' encounter with the two on the road to Emmaus.
1) "What are you talking about?"
Vs. 13-24, "Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
So here we have these two disciples walking down the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking about everything that had happened. We know one was Cleopas, of whom nothing else is really known. The other person is kept anonymous, although some think it was Luke himself.
They were disciples of Jesus and they knew the apostles as we'll see toward the end of the story. Being very troubled by what had happened and sad that he was gone from them shows they cared very much about Jesus. Jesus makes a connection with them. Why Jesus chose them is not known.
We see that they were kept from being able to recognize Jesus. We learn from Mark's gospel that Jesus' appearance was altered; we'll see why in a little while. Jesus asks them what they were talking about. To put Cleopas' surprised reaction in perspective it would be like you were in NYC just after the events of 9/11 and meeting someone who didn't know what you were talking about; that's how big this was.
So they go on to explain what had been happening. It's interesting that they refer to Jesus as a prophet and not the Savior or the Son of God. They could call Jesus the prophet but they were not yet able to call him the Christ. There are people today who will call Jesus a prophet and a teacher but will not make the leap of faith to call him Savior and Lord.
Nevertheless it was still complimentary of these two to speak of him being powerful in word and deed. Many times throughout the gospels you'll find people being amazed at Jesus' ability to teach with such wisdom and authority as well as being amazed at his miracles.
What about us? Are we amazed at the teachings of Jesus? Do we marvel at how he was able to handle the religious leaders when they tried to trap him? Are we in awe of his courage and passion when he spoke so directly to people? Are we captivated by his wisdom and insight? Are we enamored by his words of love and compassion?
What about his powerful deeds? Not just his miracles, but the way he handled situations? The way he did things according to the direction of the Father instead of the status quo of the world around him. The way he highlighted the deeds of people who would've otherwise gone unnoticed like the poor widow. The way he broke down people's opinions about Samaritans. The way he ministered to women. Have we made the decision to emulate his character and follow his example?
These two recognized Jesus' giftedness and abilities. But it's followed by some despondent words, "we had hoped he was the one". In their mind their hopes were dashed. "To redeem Israel". It's possible they thought what many others did-that Jesus was going to get them out from underneath the Romans and restore Israel to the glorious days of peace Israel had under Solomon.