“That very day, two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, which lay about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were discussing with each other all the various things that had taken place. As they were discussing, and arguing with each other, Jesus himself approached and walked with them. Their eyes, though, were prevented from recognizing him” (Luke 24:13-16, NTE).
The passage speaks of two of Jesus’ disciples– one of whom was named Cleopas– walking down the road toward Emmaus. Somewhere in their journey, the risen Jesus joins them, but they’re kept from recognizing Him. The Bible never says how; it just says that they didn’t know that it was Jesus next to them the whole time.
The irony is that their whole state of mind and conversation centered around the Messiah who had so recently been crucified and buried. It just so happens that the actual Messiah was privy to the conversation.
They were probably some of the most despondent and sad people at the time of their journey. Little did they know that their despair was groundless. All that they had hoped for was walking next to them.
How many times have you and I been in the same place feeling the same kind of sadness and despair? How many have all but given up?
I wonder how many times you and I been unable to recognize Jesus in our midst. I wonder how often our own short-sighted fears and doubts kept us from seeing Him through eyes of faith.
In the story of the two disciples, nothing about their circumstances changed, save that they finally saw Jesus for who He was in their midst. It took the breaking of the bread, hearing Jesus repeat those familiar words: this is my body, broken for you . . . this is my blood, shed for you.
It’s interesting that Jesus took them to the Scriptures first. He spoke about how all the Bible up to that point pointed to the Messiah and all He would endure from the cross to the grave to the resurrection.
Maybe our hope is closer than we think. Maybe what we’ve longed for and dreamed for and hoped for is nearer than our own breath. Maybe the Spirit of Jesus has been with us all this time and we just didn’t know it.