Cleopas watched as his toes came into view with each step. “I still can’t believe He’s gone.”
Barthos watched a flower along the road as they walked past it. “Actually, He might not be gone if you believe the women.”
A third man came up behind them. “What are you two talking about that has you so sad?”
Cleopas stopped. “Are you so new to Jerusalem that you don’t know what’s transpired in the last few days?”
The third man stepped between them. “What might that be?”
Barthos stepped ahead to stay next to the stranger. “About Jesus of Nazareth, nobody spoke like He did–such power and authority. And all the miracles He performed, He had to be the Messiah.”
Cleopas held his hands out. “We were so sure He would establish David’s promised kingdom in Jerusalem at this time. But the chief priests and rulers had Him crucified.”
Barthos held up three fingers. “And what’s more, it’s been three days since that happened. Some women went to the tomb to anoint the body and found the grave empty. They said some angels told them He’s alive. A couple of men checked the tomb and confirmed that He’s gone. We don’t know what to think.”
The third man put a hand on each man’s shoulder. “My friends, haven’t you read the scriptures that foretold all that needed to happen to the Messiah? How He must suffer and die before He could enter His glory. Way back in Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned, do you remember how God pronounced to the serpent–you will bruise His heal, but He will crush your head? And a little later…”
The third man marched His way through the entire known set of scriptures as they walked to Emmaus.
Once on the edge of town Barthos spoke up. “Where are you staying, Friend?”
The third man held a hand in front of Him. “I have farther to travel.”
Cleopas grabbed His sleeve. “We can’t allow you to go on alone. It’ll be dark before you reach the next village. We insist you stay with us tonight.”
The third man smiled. “Very well, I’ll join you.”
Cleopas helped his wife set up a meal for their guest.
As they gathered around to eat, the third man rose to His knees and picked up the unleavened bread. He looked up. “Father, we thank You for our daily bread. Help us to remember the sacrifice Your Son offered with His body on the cross.”
He tore the bread down the center and handed each man a piece. They saw the nail holes in His hands for the first time. When they looked up the hood had fallen off Jesus’s head. The holes from the crown of thorns were clearly visible.
Cleopas gaped at Barthos’s open mouth. When they looked back at Jesus He was gone.
Barthos grabbed Cleopas’s arm. “Don’t tell me you didn’t feel a burning inside while He opened the scriptures to us from His memory alone.”
Cleopas nodded his head vigorously. “We must tell the others… He’s alive! JESUS IS ALIVE!!!”
Cleopas’s wife watched both men try to fit through their small front door at the same time, shouting all the way down the street. “JESUS IS ALIVE! WE’VE SEEN JESUS. HE ISN’T DEAD!”
Have you ever tried to imagine what Cleopas and his friend experienced that day? Here they were totally confused by current events when Jesus surprises them with His presence. Perhaps some of you have experienced such a scenario. Being crushed by life’s events you were brought to the end of yourself and into the presence of the One who’s been waiting for you to come to Him. So much so that He came to you when you least expected it.
He does that sometimes.
A scene out of the movie Forrest Gump struck a chord with me when I saw it on TV. It’s when Forrest comes back into contact with his war buddy Lieutenant Dan. One of the first things Dan asks Forrest is: “Have you found Jesus?”
Forrest gives one of his profoundly simple honest answers. “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for Him.”
That pretty succinctly nails down most people’s existence. They don’t know their need to find the answer Jesus holds for them. They go through life following the crowd instead of finding the hope only Jesus has for them. That’s where we come into the equation. We need to shine His light on their questions for what’s most important.
So, how do we go about doing that? Follow Jesus’s example. The first thing He established is where they stood on their understanding of life issues. Then He used the scriptures that were available to point them to the truth. He didn’t even need the New Testament to accomplish this task (which is good, because they had yet to be written).
Don’t start out by cramming the Bible down their throat. Gain their respect by first listening to them, really listening. Let them tell you their hurts. Encourage them and help them by inserting a dose of what the Bible teaches about what they’re dealing with. Give just enough salt to let them taste the truth for themself. Before long they’ll be ready to hear about this Savior who gave His all for them.
Of course this implies that your knowledge of the Bible is sufficient to fulfill this assignment. You don’t need to be a seminary graduate to do this, just a student. Daily intake of scripture will help you know the Bible and Jesus more intimately. A regular consistent diet of the truth in your own life will overflow to others in a pure way that will impact the lives of those around you.
The other important ingredient here is prayer for the Holy Spirit to open their eyes. Both of these men’s eyes were closed and opened to the truth by the Spirit at His timing.
Remember, you can’t step ahead of God’s will in this assignment.
I’ll see you later. Wade