Going along Hope Street on the Road to Emmaus

Two weeks after Easter and as we continue on the resurrection journey, today we meet two very downcast disciples. You can read this incident at Luke 24: 13-35.

While we are told that one was called Cleopas, Luke does not identify his companion. Neither does he tell us if they were two of the un-named, original disciples or had become more recent followers.

Regardless, what is clear is that they are totally demoralised and dispirited. Yet, until only recently, everything was well. Jesus had given them hope. Life was good. Now, with his death on the Cross, their dreams and aspirations also died. When they witnessed his burial, all hope was finally extinguished.

The reports that His tomb was empty and that He was alive, only confused them. Their world had collapsed and all they could think about was to get away from Jerusalem and go home. They had had enough.

As they walk and try to make some sort of sense of what happened, they are aware of someone else beside them. The person asks what they are talking about. And so they pour out their sad story to someone so willing to listen and lend a sympathetic ear.

They tell all they know about the man who was Jesus of Nazareth, completely unaware he was beside them.

Then something wonderful happened. As they went on, and as Jesus continued talking to them, they could feel the weariness and disappointment leave them. There was now a spring in their step.

They were so enthralled that instead of saying ‘goodbye’ when they reached Emmaus, they asked him to say with them. They had to hear more and so He went to their home. Spent time with them and shared a meal.

It was at that moment all became clear (24:31), “Their eyes were opened, and they recognised him”. (24:32) “They asked each other ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

These people are excited. They are enthusiastic. The transformation is unbelievable. They are on fire with excitement.

Perhaps like those two on the road to Emmaus there may be times when we can feel overwhelmed by events.

Sometimes we are confused and doubt. Sometimes we feel abandoned and cry. Like them we can lose hope; we may even feel that way today.

When Jesus joined those two disciples on the road, He knew their needs and He knew what was troubling them. But He gave them opportunity to pour out their confusion and disappointment. To talk it through.

He has not changed. We are in the same position as the two disciples were some 2000 years ago. He still draws near to us, alongside us. He invites us to tell him what troubles us and he listens.

But he does more than listen. He offers us a living, burning relationship with Him today, to be re-energised, to be enthused and excited again.

We may not know exactly who the two disciples were or why they couldn’t recognise Jesus at first. These things are not really important. What we do know and learn from their experience, is that Christ walks quietly with us at all times.

It is just that we don’t always see Him. We can be unaware of his presence. We can be so bowed down and weary with cares, worries and concerns, that all we see is the ground before us. We can only see our own two feet and oblivious to everything else around.

Yet, if we would but lift our head up, we would see Christ lives and is with us; right beside us. He comes to us. He comes to us not to remove all life’s difficulties. He comes to accompany us through them and help us overcome the hard times we inevitably have to face in life.

He will walk alongside us, even though we may not recognise him. He will walk with us, empowering us every step of the way.

Let us pray.

Living Lord Jesus,

Although you are with us day by day, faithfully walking alongside, so often we fail to see You; we can sometimes think that we travel alone.

So, when we feel that the events of life, the hardships that come our way and the things that happen threaten to overwhelm us, help us to trust that you are here, where we are.

When our head falls down and our heart sinks through worry or grief, when fears build up and hope collapses, help us feel your presence. Lift up our downcast spirit, open our eyes that we may see your light in our darkness and feel the warmth of your love encouraging and strengthening us to go on.

As we, in renewed and re-invigorated life, journey along with you, may we in turn share your love with others who are struggling by offering kind words of concern, by listening to their worries and by supporting them in prayer. Then, as all your people, may we walk together with you.

And may we all know God’s hope, Christ’s love and the Holy Spirit’s energy this week and always.

Amen, and God bless each one of us.