Dust on the Emmaus Road

By B.J. Funk –

Two followers of Jesus are walking from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus, engrossed in conversation (Luke 24). Jesus has been resurrected just this morning.  He walks up behind them and initiates the conversation. “What are you discussing?”

Can you see the faces of the two? They stop walking and stand still. They are incredulous, apparently resenting the stranger’s curious question when surely everyone should know! Scripture describes them as being downcast.

“Are you the only person who doesn’t know about the things that have happened?” Though looking straight at him, they do not recognize him. Jesus continues, “What things?”

I can hear the exasperation in the voice of the one named Cleopas.  “The things about Jesus of Nazareth! He was a prophet mighty in deed and word. Our chief priests turned Him over to be crucified.” And then this huge unexpected reason comes forth, the reason for their sadness. “And we thought he would redeem Israel. We had hoped he was the one.”

Seriously? This is your big take away? This is why you are upset?  Even after the events of this morning, you don’t understand? You two are disappointed because he didn’t rid Israel of Rome’s oppression? You are stuck inside the smaller story.

Cleopas continues. “Today is the third day. Some women saw a vision of angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our friends went to the tomb this morning and found it was just as the women had said. But they did not see Jesus.”

I have two questions. Why does Cleopas refer to Jesus as a prophet? Has he not caught on to this unfathomable mystery? What about Savior, Redeemer, Lord, or the Promised one?

And then there’s this total misinterpretation of what the women encountered. A vision of angels? No. Not a vision. There were angels. Actual angels. Luke 24: 4 reads, “…suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.”

As with any huge newsworthy item, facts become compromised as each hour of the day moves on. It was time for Jesus to kick up some dust on the Emmaus Road and bring these two into the bigger story. He begins by calling them “foolish.” Then he adds, “You don’t believe the prophets? Don’t you realize that Messiah had to go through suffering in order to go into glory? In fact, his suffering was necessary.” They get quiet and listen.

As they continued walking, Jesus interprets every Scripture that refers to him. They don’t ask questions. They don’t interrupt. They experience only one thing. They burn inside with the living presence of Jesus. Darkness descends. “Stay with us,” they ask. So, he does. Time to eat. He takes bread, breaks it, blesses the bread and then hands the bread to the two men. A spectacular moment occurs! Their eyes open. They recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. And just like that, he disappears.

This news is too good to keep to themselves. They start running the seven mile trip back to Jerusalem. There, they join other followers who are exclaiming with great joy. “The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Peter!” Then the two told how their eyes were opened when Jesus broke the bread.

I stand in the margins of this Scripture, my heart pierced by the dynamic moment when Jesus is recognized.  I am like these two men. Sometimes, while looking straight at Jesus, I don’t recognize him. Sometimes I miss the big story he is bringing me because I sit inside of the little one. Often, I am disappointed because he didn’t answer my hopes and dreams the way I wanted.

I walk the Emmaus Road every Sunday when I hear a sermon, and I allow doubt to override truth; when my heart attitude is as the dirt under my feet, tightly compressed with no room to expand; when my sad countenance carries with it the overriding possibility of losing a beautiful, spectacular moment with the living Christ.

Lord, forgive. Remove my safe walk to Emmaus. Kick up some dust on my Emmaus Road. Amen.

B.J. Funk is Good News’ long-time devotional columnist and author of  It’s A Good Day for Grace, available on Amazon.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Mailing List!

Click here to sign up to our email lists:

•Perspective Newsletter (weekly)
• Transforming Congregations Newsletter (monthly)
• Renew Newsletter (monthly)

Make a Gift

Global Methodist Church

Is God Calling You For More?


Latest Articles: