THE STRANGER WARMED OUR HEARTS (Lk.24: 13-35)
Cleopas and I (Simon) were dashed in our hearts and spirits, as we walked back home to Emmaus. While we shared our disappointments, a stranger joined us and asked why we were so dejected? His question surprised us and Cleopas asked Him, whether He was the only one living in Jerusalem who had not heard what had taken place during these days? “What things?” asked the stranger. Then, we told Him what our leaders had done to Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet, who was mighty in words and deeds before God and the people. We thought that He was our Deliverer; but, our leaders and the Romans killed Him. On top of it all, we are being troubled by rumors that someone had snatched His body. Some of our women claimed to have seen angels telling them that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found it to be empty. No one seems to know what has happened to our Jesus?
Next, we were listening to the stranger’s version of what had happened to Jesus. He said nothing new. We had heard it all before. Yet, in the midst of confusion and disappointment, we had forgotten what our Scriptures said about our Messiah. Now this stranger told us that we were foolish and slow of heart not to believe Moses and the Prophets. Then we, too, began to recall that Jesus Himself had told us that His way to glory was through suffering, dying and the rising from the dead. We should have been lecturing to the stranger, instead He was telling us what we should believe. What was very unusual was that we did not mind being called foolish and slow to grasp. We liked what He was doing to us. He helped us to remember what Jesus had told us.
Our time, with the stranger, passed very quickly. We had reached Emmaus at the end of the day and the stranger began to turn away from us. We liked Him and we did not want Him to go on alone at night and invited Him to stay with us and have supper. It pleased Him and He came home with us. The women expected us and had supper ready. According to our custom, guests were asked to say the blessing. And the stranger did what Jesus used to do. He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and handed the bread to us. There in front of our eyes was the missing Jesus. He was never missing. We were to blind to recognize Him when He was with us. He walked with us from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a stretch of seven miles, and we did not recognize Him. He even lectured us on the Scriptures and we still did not know who He was. We were so absorbed with worrying over what had happened to Jesus, that we lost our memory of what He had taught us in the first place. We were trying to find Jesus; instead, He had found us and opened our minds.
A very special thing happened around our supper table. Jesus, Himself, opened our eyes. We were the first of the disciples to see and fellowship with the Risen Lord. He had supper with us. He had walked beside us, as He had promised never to leave or forsake us. He kept His promise. We were the ones who had doubted and ended up worrying over Him. We also began to understand, that unless the Lord opens our eyes, we would have remained blind toward God and the Scriptures. It was in the way He broke the bread, blessed it and shared it that we recognized Him to be our Lord. Without His help, we would never have recognized Him. For that reason we understand if people do not see Jesus the way we did. He told us once that unless heaven draws us, we could not see the Risen Lord as our Deliverer. It is our prayer that we invite a Stranger into our homes and have supper with Him because He might be Jesus Himself.
Once we had recognized Jesus, He vanished from our sight. We had learned, that we do not have to see Him, to know that He was with us. He had entered our hearts, when He had joined us on the road. We were strangely warmed; but, did not know what it meant. He was in our hearts and we did not know it. We had allowed our doubts and worries to block Him out. It also was when the Stranger used the Scriptures that our hearts had melted and we were receptive to His message. The Scriptures had something to do with us believing in Him. Without the Scriptures, Jesus Himself could not have explained the reason for His presence in our lives. It became clear to us, that Jesus and the Scriptures go hand in hand. That is why we do believe the Scriptures (Jn.5: 39). They kept our minds open.