By Judy Brandon: Religion Columnist
Jesus had risen and the news had scattered rapidly. If the crucifixion had happened in our time, all major networks would have had special correspondents on the scene to go back over the steps where it all began on the Thursday night of that week. Some media journalist would be assigned to the hill outside Jerusalem to retrace the path Jesus took to his entry into Jerusalem. Likely one correspondent would have reported from the scene of the tomb and anyone who passed by or had any knowledge of the whole ordeal would have been interviewed.
The death of the man from Nazareth was big news and the news had spread quickly all over Jerusalem. The events of the previous few days — the mock trial, the release of Barabbas, the appearance before all those authorities, the crucifixion, the world going dark — that was no doubt the talk of the entire city of Jerusalem.
Yet in Luke 24:13-35, the Bible includes an account about an insignificant walk that turned out to be very revealing. Two men walking down the road to a little town called Emmaus that Sunday after the crucifixion were discussing the events that had just taken place in Jerusalem. The Bible reveals that they were in deep discussion about all the events in Jerusalem the past week. Cleopas was the name of one man but the other is unknown. As they were walking and discussing, a third man, appeared on the road, walking up beside them. He began to listen, and although the two men saw him, they did not recognize him.
“What are you talking about as you walk along?” the stranger asked. Cleopas answered: “You must be the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know what we are talking about. You don’t know what has happened in that city these last few days?”
“No, what has happened in Jerusalem?” the stranger asked.
“I’m talking about the things that have happened to Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet and considered by God and all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. Our chiefs and rulers handed him over to be put to death and he was crucified. Now it has been three days. Some of the women we know went to the tomb and found it empty. His body was not there.”
Jesus answered: “How slow you are to believe everything the prophets said. Didn’t you know that the Messiah had to suffer these things?”
Then Jesus went on to explain to the two men why all the events in Jerusalem had happened. Jesus told them everything that had been said about him in the scriptures. As they came to the village, the men asked Jesus to stay. He went in the house to eat with them. As he took the bread, broke it and blessed it, his mannerisms must have caused them to recognize Jesus immediately. How many times had they seen him do this same thing when they had associated with Jesus. Now they knew and saw him once again.
When the two men recognized him, Jesus disappeared from their sight. They said to one another in amazement: “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he walked with us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” They hurried back to Jerusalem, found the 11 disciples, and gave them the good news that the Lord had risen indeed.
The conversation on the road to Emmaus is hidden until eternity. Yet, imagine yourself on that road in an intimate conversation with Jesus. Maybe that is why the second man was to remain anonymous so that the modern day reader could visualize a personal relationship that day on that dusty road to that little town.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: