Sometime later that same morning. Cleopas and another disciple are on the road, heading out the seven miles to Cleopas’ home in Emmaus. Fighting the crowds thronging in to Jerusalem for the rest of the Passover festival, the “wrong way” of their physical orientation a metaphor for the way their lives felt right now.
But someone is going the same way they are. Their muffled conversation is interrupted with a friendly question: “What are you talking about as you travel along?”
They stop, staring. “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem that doesn’t know what’s been going on?” Are you really that clueless?
Apparently so. “What? No, I haven’t heard. What’s been going on?”
“About Jesus, from Nazareth. He was a great prophet, He did all kinds of miraculous signs, He spoke like we’ve never heard before. But our feckless rulers and the chief priests handed Him over to the Romans, and they crucified Him.
That was three days ago.
“What’s more, this morning some of our women amazed us with a tale of having been at the tomb to find the stone rolled away!
“They told us an astounding story about having seen angels who told them He was alive! Some of our men went up to the tomb and found it as they had described it, but Him they did not see.
“And we had hoped that He was going to be the One to save us…”
Now it’s the Stranger’s turn to stare. “You foolish men! How slow you are to believe what was written in the Scriptures! Isn’t it written that the Messiah had to suffer?”
You think I’m clueless? You’re the clueless ones! It’s all written in the Scriptures; you ought to have expected this!
And the Stranger takes them through the whole Bible, Torah and Prophets, beginning with Genesis, explaining what had been written about the Promised One.
They reach Emmaus, but the Stranger acts like He’s going further. Bye, guys.
But according to the custom they press Him to stay. Hospitality is a big deal, but you’re supposed to refuse a couple of times to let them show how much they really want you to stay by inviting you over and over. And the Stranger allows Himself to be pressed into staying.
The host would normally break the bread, but the Stranger reaches out His hands and takes the bread to break it.
And all of a sudden their eyes are opened and they recognise the Stranger for who He is: Jesus. And then He’s gone. Vanished. But they know the truth.
Christ is risen…