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“That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.”
In this encounter with the risen Jesus, a disciple named Cleopas and an unnamed companion meet Jesus on the road but they don’t recognize him at first. Luke says this is the “same day,” which implies that this is the afternoon of Easter Sunday.
In verse 15 it says that, “Jesus himself drew near and went with them”. The language of verse 15 is that Jesus “overcame them.” Luke gives us the picture of Jesus actually hurrying up to match their stride as he catches up to walk beside them. I find it interesting that of all the important things Jesus had on his agenda after resurrecting from the dead, walking with two of his downcast followers was near the top. In verse 21 the disciples say, “we had hoped”. Their tone indicates that no hope is left. Luke records that they “stood still.” This gives a picture of paralysis; they were immobilized by their circumstances. These disciples were completely discouraged, deeply broken, and full of fear.
In Mark 16, the women at the tomb were also caught in paralysis, as they were afraid and said nothing. The disciples in John 20:19 are not out in the streets proclaiming a risen Lord but behind “locked doors,” fearing for their lives. Fear and paralysis pervade Christ’s disciples immediately after the resurrection.
Jesus is intentional about coming to people, especially to people in pain and living in fear. Jesus purposely sought out these two disciples because he longs to reveal himself to those living in fear, doubt, and hopelessness. Perhaps, as part of your ongoing Easter celebration, you also can come near to those who are hurting and show that you care. Even if you work with a majority of people who don’t go to church or do not consider Jesus as someone to follow, they will respond to leaders who walk with them in their trials and who show that they care.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever considered that even after Jesus revealed himself as alive, that fear, doubt and confusion still permeated his followers?
Can you think of ways you can appropriately come near to those you lead to show that you care?
Can you name someone in your sphere of influence that you are certain is particularly hurting in this season?
Lord, Jesus, thank you for coming near those that are hurting. Help to encourage others instead of defaulting to small talk or pragmatic items. Use me to create an environment where people feel safe to share their hurts, doubts and fears. I invite your wisdom as I seek to simply reveal the reality of your resurrection life. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
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