It truly was the saddest season of my life. Everything had come crashing down. We had believed in Jesus. We had followed Jesus. We loved him! We knew that He would bring peace to Jerusalem and to our people. And yet, he died. He was brutally murdered.
My name is Cleopas. My friend Thadeous and I had just left Jerusalem for Emmaus. We were talking about the past seven days. Last Sunday we were cheering and rejoicing over the Nazarene as he rode into the city on the back of a donkey. A week later, with the afternoon sun casting long shadows along the rocky path, we argued back and forth about a very bleak future without Jesus. Our shoulders were slumped. Our gait was slow. We kicked up the dust as we shuffled along.
A stranger approached us as we walked west among the rolling foothills. He asked what we were talking about. I looked at my friend Thadeous as if this man was crazy. He encouraged me with his eyes and so I queried the outsider: “Are you the only man alive in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what just happened?” His blank stare in reply prompted a nervous babbling. “Surely you know,” I stammered. “About Jesus. The prophet. He did many miracles. With great power. We believed he would free Israel. But our leaders handed him over to be killed. And now it’s the third day…”
“Calm down,” he motioned to me with his hands. Then starting with Moses and all the prophets, this very ordinary looking man patiently explained everything ever written in the Ancient Text about the Messiah and how he must suffer.
We invited the man home for supper. He asked if He might offer the blessing. He lifted his eyes to heaven, broke the bread and began to pray. “Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.” Praised are you, Lord God, King of the universe, who brings froth bread from the earth.
We took a piece. And at that very moment we realized it was the Master. Jesus! The loaf fell to the table as he vanished.
Oh, how our hearts burned inside us as He explained the scriptures. He was so graceful, so patient. It showed His great love for us.
The Story IS true. It has happened indeed, just as it was written in the Canticles of old.
Some of the words, actions and thoughts perhaps of Cleopas and Jesus, from Luke 24.
Corrie ten Boom used to say, “When the train goes through a tunnel and the world gets dark, do you jump out? Of course not. You sit still and trust the engineer to get you through.” Why did Jesus tell the story to Cleopas and his friend? So they’d know the Word is true. They could trust that God is in control. He says: “I’ve got you.”
You can trust Him, too.
Once they realized it was Jesus, the two ran back to Jerusalem. Knowing the story changed everything! Knowing that Jesus was alive, just as He said, meant every other promise in the Word is true! They lifted up those slumping shoulders and their slow gait became a sprint.
How about you?
Whenever you meet Jesus, your heart will change.