April 14, 2002

Luke 24:13-35

That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

He asked, "What's this you're discussing so intently as you walk along?"

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn't heard what's happened during the last few days?"

He said, "What has happened?"

They said, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But, now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn't find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn't see Jesus.

Then he said to them, "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can't you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don't you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?" Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: "Stay and have supper with us. It's nearly evening; the day is done." So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

Back and forth they talked. "Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?"

They didn't waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: "It's really happened! The Master has been raised up-Simon saw him!"

Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.

1. What is it about the breaking of the bread that brought recognition? While it could be the taking, the blessing, the breaking, I would posit it is the giving of bread that is the essence of the Jesus story. What would be the equivalent metaphor in your life? -- when I give _____ people recognize the presence of the Spirit of Jesus!

2. Spiritual growth is always a matter of awareness. We get so caught up in the news in our everyday life that we seem to lose track of the importance of the presence of GOD walking alongside. As an Easter spiritual discipline, go without television, radio, or daily paper news during these 50 days. When we are not always responding to the spin and din of reportage, there is a chance to reflect on the more important relationships in our lives.

3. "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can't you simply believe all that the prophets said?" Yep, that's pretty telling.

To work backward -- we believe the prophets when we are heart sensitive to the issues of the common good (these will include but not be limited to the resurgence of nuclear threats, substitution of insurance for community care, and growing the economic class gaps). We believe the prophets when we are "light"-headed - seeing the larger context rather than closing off or self-censoring new thoughts.

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