Wednesday, April 15, 2009

They Recognized Him In The Breaking Of The Bread

Later that Sunday moning, two of Jesus' disciples, Cleophas and a companion, were going up to Emmaus, a village on the opposite side of the Kedron valley, about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked, they were discussing the events that had occurred in Jerusalem that weekend. A man they didn't recognize came along, and started walking with them.

"What have you been talking about?" he asked.

They stopped, and lowered their eyes, mournfully. Cleophas then asked, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn't heard what has been happening there over the past few days?"

What things?

The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth. What he said and did showed people that he was a powerful prophet, pleasing to God and to the people. But the chief priests and the leaders had him arrested and sentenced to death by crucifixion. We were hoping that he would be the one to set Israel free.

Early this morning, some women in our group went to the tomb, but his body was gone. They came back and told us they had seen angels who said he was alive. Then a few of the men went to the tomb, and found it just as the women said. They didn't see Jesus, either.

What don't you understand? How can you be so slow to believe what the prophets have said? Didn't you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before entering into his glory?" He went on to explain everything written in the Scriptures about the Messiah, starting with the Law and the Prophets.

Arriving at Emmaus, the stranger gave the impression he was going farther, but Cleophas asked him to stay and share a meal with them. "It's late, and the sun is going down." He agreed, and went into the house with them.

When they sat down at table, the stranger took a round of bread, blessed it, and broke it. Then he gave it to each of them. Now, they realized that it was Jesus, but he had vanished. "While he was talking with us about the Scriptures, didn't that warm our hearts?"

They got right up and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven apostles and other disciples gathered together. They were told that they Lord was truly alive, and that he had appeared to Peter. Then the Emmaus disciples told the others what had happened on the road, and how they recognized the Lord in the breaking of the bread.


Two men with heavy hearts are walking away from Jerusalem, headed in the wrong direction. Jesus appears and walks with them, explaining the Scriptures concerning the Messiah. But they don't see who he is.

This incident on the road to Emmaus reminds me of how some folks read the Scriptures. They are able to quote chapter and verses, from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, and everything in between. But they don't find Jesus in the words.

There is a better way to read God's holy word. It begins by being aware that Jesus is present as we are reading, and that he has a particular message for us, if we simply pay attention.

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