Road to Emmaus - Who was with Jesus?
The men with Jesus on the road to Emmaus are adequately profiled only in Luke 24:13-35, while Mark 16:12-13 merely mentions them. The one remained unnamed, and Cleopas remains unknown except for his name.
The men with Jesus on the road to Emmaus had experienced a faith-shaking body blow by seeing Christ die. With all other disciples, they couldn't fathom Jesus and death in the same sentence. Indeed, their original high hopes for Christ fell to equally abysmal depths once He died. Returning home that Sunday afternoon proved the finality of their hope, despite the ferment of equal exhilaration and despair circulating among the disciples over news of Christ's resurrection. The men of Emmaus had no doubt: Jesus was gone and that was the end of their confidence. Naturally, they talked as they walked, discussing the "what ifs" of the Final Week in Jerusalem, wondering "why this and that" had happened. Verses 19b-24 unquestionably summarized their discussions.
Their obsession with Christ's failure at Calvary led to their failing to recognize Him when He approached. He hadn't disguised Himself, understand. They simply couldn't recognize Him because they rejected the whole idea of His death. We will only understand Jesus if we see Calvary as a Victory, not a Defeat; as a Conquest, not a Subjugation! Despite their denials, and subsequent inability to recognize Him, He tried to awaken them to His identity and purpose by seeking specific information about the cause of their sadness.
While they couldn't believe that anyone in Jerusalem could be ignorant of the epochal changes in the past week, they faithfully recounted to Him what they knew. As they did, it was obvious they had first-hand information. Everything said was in harmony with Gospel teaching about Jesus. Their references to Christ's possible resurrection are also authentic truth-telling biography. Nothing but confusion could result in those garbled reports, those partial accounts from differing sources. Had instant faith in Christ's resurrection resulted from such accounts, skeptics would have reason to doubt.
The men with Jesus on the road to Emmaus had the unbelievable benefit of Christ's personal tutoring in the meaning of Old Testament Scripture. In what was unquestionably a stern rebuke, delivered in a light-hearted manner, Jesus tied His death and resurrection to prophetic teaching. He explained plainly what generations of their scholars had misunderstood: only through suffering could Jesus gain the victory that equaled His suffering. That offered the real, true meaning of all Old Testament teaching.
The men with Jesus on the road to Emmaus had the added pleasure of inviting Jesus to their home. He would have walked on but for their urgent extension of hospitality. Then, when at the table with them, their respective roles reversed. He, the invited guest, became the host; they, the hosts, became his guests. This aside proves the text's integrity, for it's the very procedure practiced in that culture.
When He broke the bread, they recognized Him, and He vanished-though this was a common meal, not the Lord's Supper. It's very unlikely they had heard about His institution of the Lord's Supper; the minds of all disciples would have been a blizzard of grief too great to surface positive memories. Nevertheless, the two recounted this particular event as the point of recognition. After His departure, they again discussed among themselves, but with the untrammeled excitement of students hearing the Master expound His own word. All fear of night travel gone, and all weariness of body removed, they rushed seven miles to Jerusalem - likely taking up to two hours, and arriving by 9 p.m. There they shared their testimony with others in the Upper Room. They had left Jerusalem for home hours before - deeply mournful. They returned there hours later with no further thought of returning home!
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