Cleopas and his friend drop everything and rush back to Jerusalem. The same seven miles, but what a difference!
Excited, they burst into the place where the disciples are staying to find them in an uproar:
“It’s true! The Lord has risen! Simon Peter saw Him!”
The disciples relate the news, then – “Weren’t you two going back to Emmaus?”
Then it’s the turn of the two to relate their story. How Jesus appeared to them as they were walking along, and opened the Scriptures to them, and how they had finally recognised Him when He broke the bread.
And quietly, somewhere in the middle of all the mutual rejoicing, there’s Jesus Himself, right in the middle of them.
One by one, every eye turns to the Master. “Peace be with you”. Shalom alechem. Hi, guys.
They freak out. It’s a ghost!
It’s not quite as crazily double-minded as it sounds. In their world, physical resurrection is a theoretical possibility that God might do, but ghosts are real and far more everyday. “It’s a ghost!”, to their worldview, is far more possible than “It’s the resurrection!”
“Why are you troubled?” Jesus asks them. “Why are you doubting? Look – it’s really Me, and I’m really here! In flesh and blood!”
They’re not convinced, so Jesus makes the one incontrovertible cultural proof of His resurrected physicality:
“Do you have anything to eat?”
Ghosts don’t eat physical food. They get their sustenance from the world of the dead. Even asking would have been a no-no for a ghost as they understood them.
They give Him a piece of roasted fish, and He takes it and eats it in front of them. Yeah, guys. I’m back!
Christ is risen…