“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?”
~ Luke 24:32
Hi James and Ellen,
You just had an experience that . . . it began when you walked from where you lived in the town of Emmaus to the city of Jerusalem to join the celebration of the arrival of a guy who you believed would be your liberator from the domination that guys who were from the city of Rome had over you. After several days of following this humble guy when he was in Jerusalem – during which time you witnessed his incredible power to be heal sick, lame and blind guys, gals and kids and an astounding understanding of the Torah – which is what your people group – the Israelite people group guys and gals, has in it the laws and regulations recorded that made up your beliefs that were God-mandated through Moses, you were dumbfounded and helpless when this temperate guy was callously hauled away as if he was a common criminal, as he was maliciously beaten by Roman guys who were guarding him, as he was taken to Pontius Pilate – the Rome assigned governor of Judah’s land area, as he faced Herod Antipas – the Rome assigned tetrarch over the Galilee and Perea land areas, as Barabbas – a convicted murderer, was the guy picked over him to be freed by misguided Israelite people group compatriots of yours, as he suffered and died on a cross, as Joseph – a rich, prominent Council member who lived in the town of Arimathea, tenderly took the guy off the cross after His humiliating death and as Joseph took the guy to his tomb that had been hollowed out of solid rock. You continued to watch from the distance as a large, heavy hewn stone was rolled in front of the opening of the tomb where the God-empowered guy was entombed, as the tomb was sealed with a signet ring impression in wax and as Roman guards were posted in front of the tomb. You became just as angry, then saddened and then as frightened as every other guy and gal who witnessed this compassionate, gentle guy – who you knew His name as being Jesus, being ramrodded by some of your people group guys into having Roman soldiers hang and nail him to a cross where you watched him die, when you suddenly experienced an earthquake as it violently shook Jerusalem, when you checked out for yourself that the thick, beautiful temple curtain had been ripped in half top to bottom and when you noticed that tombs had been opened and you meet guys and gals walking the streets very much alive who you knew had been holy or righteous believers in the one true God who you knew had died and had been buried.
Instead of going back to your home in Emmaus, you decided to stay for a couple of nights in Jerusalem. You just could not escape the nightmare of having watched a guy Who you had gotten to really respect and Who you had decided was worth given all of your time to follow die in such a horrible way. You had spent your time in Jerusalem with other Jesus-follower guys and gals mauling over what had taken place and what should be done next. You could only wait where you were with every other guy and gal as you and they did not want to desecrate in any way the Sabbath day by doing something that would be perceived as work – which would have been a violation of your belief norms. Just as soon as the morning sky began to light up the day after your Sabbath day rest had ended, some gals – including Mary Magdalene, Joanna and James’ ma – Mary, went to the tomb where the guy – Who you had hoped would become your king and leader, was entombed to embalm Him with spices. You were as flabbergasted as everyone else when these gals returned with the news that the tomb had been opened, that the tomb was empty and that two guys in gleaming clothes had told them that Jesus had arose. You waited for Peter to return when he ran to the tomb to confirm that the tomb really was empty. Peter came back saying that he saw only linen strips lying where Jesus had been laid. When Cleopas – a friend of yours who also lived in Emmaus, told you that he wanted to go back to his home, you decided to head back to Emmaus with him.
When a doctor by the name of Luke talked to you later about what happened during your seven mile walk with Cleopas on the Emmaus Road back to Emmaus from Jerusalem, you were still feeling thunderstruck and elated. You had had this humble teacher and healer – Who you had seen with your own eyes being inhumanly murdered and put in a tomb that had never been used join you as you and Cleopas were walking back to your homes. Even though you had personally seen most everything that had happened that weekend in Jerusalem, even though you had heard Jesus teach a number of times and even though you had discussed the awful events that surrounded Jesus’ death and the unexplainable empty tomb, you had not recognized Jesus until after He joined you and Cleopas for a meal. It was when Jesus reached for bread and after He had prayed a prayer of thanks for the bread, after He broke off pieces of the bread and after He gave you and Cleopas a piece of the bread that your eyes were suddenly open to Who was sitting at your table with you. You told Luke – who included what you told him in Luke 24 in his letter that he sent to his friend Theophilus, that just as soon as you recognized Who was sitting at the table with you, Jesus vanished. Luke wrote in verse 32 the reaction that you and Cleopas had after you and he spent time with Jesus in your house, “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?”’ Even though it was dark, you and Cleopas headed back to Jerusalem to tell Jesus’ disciples about your surprise encounter with Jesus. You were not surprised when Jesus would later suddenly appear in front of His disciples, that He would show them the nail holes that are in His feet and hands and that He would eat a broiled fish. Your grandmaa and grandpaa are very grateful that they encountered Jesus early on their Emmaus life thoroughfare.
Luke 24 (747)