“After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.” – Mark 16:12-13 (NKJV)
I was reading an article written in 2019 by Ariel David, on the website Haaretz, where Israeli archaeologists may have found Emmaus, the place Jesus appeared to what the Gospel writer, Mark, would call “two of them”. These archaeologists came to this conclusion after uncovering a 2,200-year-old Hellenistic fortification that may have been built by the guy who defeated Judah the Maccabee, the famed Jewish leader at the center of the Hanukkah story. There was also an honorable nod to the site where the Ark of the Covenant was kept before David took it to Jerusalem. All within walking distance of each other, albeit a few miles in distance.
I didn’t know that the Biblical Emmaus had been erased over time but a lot of villages that got mentioned in the Bible had been covered over, rebuilt and renamed. It’s really cool to read about them being dug up and their stories being retold. It got me thinking about how many times the story about The Road to Emmaus gets kinda “dug up” after Resurrection Sunday and retold in various sermons and devotionals. So, with that, I got my shovel, and in keeping up with TRADITION!!, let’s see about these things that surround the Emmaus story.
So, on the same day that two men with shining garments ask, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”, two men are strolling along the road to Emmaus. Peter is peeking into an empty tomb, possibly stroking his beard and saying to himself, “Christ has risen! Now What?” John’s Gospel will give that answer, “I am going fishing”, any man’s “go to” if you ask me BUT when the rest of the disciples follow him it is as they had become just as apathetic as Peter. Later on, Jesus will deal with Peter, as for the “two of them”, it seems that Jesus will deal with them right now.
“And He said to them, “What words are these that you have with one another as you walk, and are so sad?” — Luke 24:17
The things that Cleopas and his buddy are certain of, is that this Jesus, they had been following, had been handed over by their chief priests to be crucified. “Unbelievable! But He was mighty in word and deed, truly He was a prophet” Cleopas may have said. They may have watched as the Roman soldiers mocked, beat, then hung Jesus on a cross to die. Rome has stooped down to yet another level…not finding fault, caving into the mob, washing your hands of the consequence, indeed. I guess all that’s left to do at this point is to leave this madness, “But He was sent to redeem us, to rule us with righteousness, and to save us all. He’s dead and gone now. All that remains is suffering, fear and hopelessness.” Oh really…
It’s good thing Jesus doesn’t see it like that. The “two of them” first show us what it looks it when all you do is follow. Yes, it is good to follow Jesus, His example and to listen to those who preach Euaggelion (that’s “Good News”) but to have an encounter with Jesus becomes a whole other thing. “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us by the way and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” The second thing we need to see happen is that on this road to Emmaus, Jesus will show the two of them what fellowship with His Holy Spirit not only looks like…but feels like. That, my brothers (and sisters) is divine emotion from above.
The journey to Emmaus is such an important one for all of us to take when all we can say is “Christ has risen. Now what?” It’s in those times when our hearts are sorrowful, when the suffering of it is too much, when we need to walk away from the chaos that has ensued, that Jesus will meet us at our time of need and commune with us. You may say that you haven’t had your encounter yet and your faith is faulty at best. Hmm…
Well then, like they did on the road, open up the Scriptures, get your shovel, and prayerful see what your God wants you to dig up so you can find your Emmaus. Allow the counsel of a Risen Savior to bring you comfort and revitalization. Let your faith be restored, then pick up your cross, face the road ahead and leave Emmaus. Go and tell others about your encounter. Christ has risen! Now what? Proclaim the hope that you have in you, what else? Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “Then it should be remembered that He could not save us by the Cross alone. He must rise from the dead to give validity to His finished work. A dead Christ would be as helpless as the ones He tried to save.” – Aiden Wilson Tozer