My heart cries with the joy of the last few days. None of my brethren long for the months of fellowship we had with Jesus. Much as we loved Him, aching in our souls when He was battered, bloodied, and hung on the cursed tree, we would not return to that time, not even to see His face once again. Had we known what we know now, would we have mourned our Lord’s death so grievously?
You see, the Lord chose, while we were yet alive, to fulfill His promise spoken through His prophet Joel.* Such a special gift was first bestowed upon us. I, Cleopas, was not worthy. None were.
I remember leaving Jerusalem with one of my brothers in the days after the crucifixion. Still horrified, we spoke in hushed tones about what we had witnessed. Where was the victory in all that had happened? Where was the promised kingdom of God of which Jesus told us? Neither of us understood. Both of us were terrified that the same men who had carried out the execution of our Lord would slaughter us.
Along the way, a man caught up to us and listened for a few moments before speaking.
“What is this discussion that makes you so sad?” he asked.
I thought everyone in the region had heard of the events in Jerusalem. All Israel had seemed to be there in the city for the Passover. How could this stranger not know?
He insisted that we tell him. My throat tightened over my words more than once in the retelling. The emotional wounds were still raw and painful.
“The tomb was empty! He was gone!” I finished. My brother and I bowed our heads with the weight of our grief.
“O foolish ones,” the stranger said in reproof. “Don’t you remember what the prophets wrote about the suffering that the Christ must endure before entering His glory?”
As we journeyed, I marveled at this man’s grasp of the Holy Scripture. From the books of Moses, through Micah, Isaiah, and each prophet, he explained the passages that foretold the coming of the Christ.
Our trip, though sixty stadia* in length, seemed to end as quickly as it began. The village of Emmaus loomed ahead and we sought shelter and respite for the evening. We convinced our new friend to remain with us. One person could not defend against thieves as well as three, and the night seemed full of menace. We wanted to hear more of this man’s wisdom.
We sat at table. As our friend broke the loaf and prayed, we saw, as if scales had been removed from our eyes, who had accompanied us on our journey. My brother gasped in joy and I leapt to my feet. The rumors of the Resurrection were true! We had walked with the risen Christ! Jesus disappeared from before our eyes, and, our meal forgotten, we hurried back to Jerusalem.
I remember that time only to relate that the best was yet to come. After appearing to all of us once again, He ascended to His Father in heaven. We wondered at His parting promise: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses . . . “
We, who had run cowering when His defining hour had come, would be bold enough to speak of Him to the ends of the earth? Yes, and more than that, much more.
Abundant power came on the Day of Pentecost. As we sat, all of us in union, the sound of a mighty wind filled the house, and heaven-sent tongues of flame danced upon each head. I felt something fill me and I opened my mouth to speak. Each of us began to speak, but our words were foreign to us. We did not understand. There were those in Jerusalem who did. They, hearing the wind and our many voices, came to discover the cause of the commotion. These holy men from several nations were stunned for they heard praises to God, each in his own language. Some accused us of being drunk; others were too amazed for comment. Peter, who had denied his Lord three times, preached a sermon that added many to our number that day.
I can’t contain my joy, for I know that though I may be persecuted, the abundance of the Spirit has been poured out upon me. Through me, the Spirit of the Living Christ shall be dispersed throughout the earth.
Based on the events of Luke 24:18-53 and Acts 2:1-47
*Joel 2:28-29; sixty stadia is about seven miles
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