My friend Cleopas kept his head down while walking, as if he carried a millstone around his neck. As we talked about the death of Jesus, the sun tormented us, and the air was heavy with sorrow. We had worn our sandals thin to Jerusalem, where our hope that he was the "Messiah" was short lived. Now, we felt every stone prick the bottom of our feet on our way back to the village of Emmaus.
A stranger started walking with us. He must have perceived our sadness, and sensed our troubled spirit. "You seem to be in a deep discussion about something," he said. "What persuades you to walk in this manner?"
We stopped for a moment, suspended in disbelief, our pain now clearly scripted on our faces. Cleopas replied, "you must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn't heard about the dreadful things that happened last week."
"What things?" the stranger asked.
My friend Cleopas motioned with his hands, as if he should paint the sky a picture for this stranger. "The things that happened to Jesus, the Man from Nazareth. He was a prophet who did incredible miracles and was a mighty teacher, highly esteemed by God and man."
I reached out to comfort my friend, and placed a hand to his shoulder as his voice grew louder, but he continued. "The chief priest and our rulers arrested him, and handed him over to the Roman government to be condemned to death, and...and they crucified him!"
My friend wept sore before this man, but the stranger stood in calm silence.
"We had thought he was the Messiah," I said. "Come to rescue Israel."
We continued our journey, and I felt the burden of our silence, until finally the stranger spoke. "Do you find it hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the scriptures? Wasn't it clearly predicted by the prophets that Jesus the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering into glory?"
As we walked together he quoted many passages, expounding on the scriptures as no other man had done before us. Beginning with the book of Genesis, thru the prophet Moses and to our present time, he explained for us passages that had only been a mystery.
By this time we neared Emmaus our village and the end of our journey, but the stranger had made like he would go further against a darkening sky. We begged him to stay the night with us.
As we sat down to eat, he asked God's blessing on the food and then took a small loaf of bread and broke it. Suddenly, as if scales had fallen from our eyes, we knew him! And in that moment he disappeared.
Our hearts were on fire as we ran back to Jerusalem! We found his disciples gathered in an upper room. "HE'S ALIVE! HE'S ALIVE!!"
"Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32 KJV)
I searched the greatest wonders to find the biggest "wow."
To bring it's measured meaning to every culture, every country, here and now.
Like a "holy grail," or an anthem rings, that we the whole world could hail or sing.
Perhaps Mt. Everest would be one big "wow."
Perhaps when my daughter does Shakespeare on Broadway, and takes her final bow?
I thought perhaps it could have been, when man had finally walked the moon?
But soon I traveled further back to an ancient empty tomb.
Days before they made his death, and stone secure, so there would be no schism.
But then I heard the shouts on Resurrection Road, "He's alive! He's free! He's Risen!"
*Biblical narrative: (Luke 24:13-35 Living Bible)
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