Our scripture for Sunday, April 28 is Luke 24:13-35. This is the story of two of Jesus’s disciples as they walk with heavy hearts toward a village called Emmaus. Along the way a stranger begins to walk with them. The stranger is actually Jesus, but the disciples are kept from recognizing him. They share about the events of Jesus’s arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection; but rather than feeling comforted by the resurrection, they feel scared and disoriented. Jesus walks with them, allowing them to voice their sadness, but he also reveals how everything from Moses to the prophets actually point to him!
When the disciples and Jesus near Emmaus, Jesus continues to go on, but the disciples urge him to stay with them that night. As the three sit down to a meal, Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, and broke it with them. Then the disciples eyes are opened, and they recognize Jesus! With incredible joy they reflect, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?” (vs. 32)
N.T. Wright reflects of this text when he writes, “The road to Emmaus is just the beginning. Hearing Jesus’s voice in scripture, knowing him in the breaking of bread, is the way. Welcome to God’s new world” (Luke for Everyone, 298). In other words, perhaps we can only recognize Jesus when we learn to see him within the story of God, the First Testament accounts of Israel, throughout the poetry of the Bible, and in the Gospels in which we can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the stories of Jesus’s life and ministry.
We are each on our own road to Emmaus, wrestling with questions, and agonizing over our life of discipleship to Jesus. But Jesus walks beside us, whether we recognize him or not. Jesus, our key to scripture and our friend at the table.