Our Savior on the Emmaus Road
Open Your Bible
Luke 24:9-49, Acts 13:32-38
What would you do if you wanted to start a revolution? If you wanted to prove that you were the most powerful person to ever walk the earth? If you wanted to prove that you had in fact just been raised from the dead? What would you do first?
I think I would shoot fireworks from my fingertips. Or maybe go to the people who had tried to kill me, and show them I was alive once again. I think I’d go flying around in the sky shouting from the rooftops.
These final few verses were Luke’s last chance to convince readers that Jesus really did rise from the dead. That He really is the Son of God. As a writer, I cannot fathom a more challenging task. But Luke made a decision. He decided to stick to the facts, and the facts are mind-bogglingly simple.
First, the women. A group of women find the empty tomb and return to their friends babbling in an excited confusion. This in itself should convince us of the veracity of this story. After all, in the first century, women were considered unreliable witnesses; their testimony wasn’t even permitted in a court of law. Tim Keller writes: “If the Christians were making up these stories to get their movement off the ground, they never would have written women into the story as the first eyewitnesses to Jesus’s empty tomb. The only possible reason for the presence of women in these accounts is that they really were present and reported what they saw.”
Second, the walk. While Peter runs to the tomb to determine if what the women said is true, Jesus goes on a walk. Oh, how I love this story! Two disciples I’ve never heard of—Cleopas and a disciple who goes unnamed—are walking and talking, processing recent events, when this stranger sidles up next to them. They recount all the events of the week: “How have you not heard about this?!” And then, still under the guise of a stranger, Jesus begins to teach from the Scriptures, starting from Genesis 1:1. Jesus loves Scripture. He knows it—He is the Word made flesh, after all (John 1:14)—and His teaching sets their hearts aflame. They have a simple meal together, and then just as quickly as He appeared to them, Jesus was gone.
Then, His words. Jesus’s first resurrected words to His gathered disciples were, “Peace be with you” (John 20:21). He knows they are terrified, full of doubt. And again, His first action in their presence is not to perform a miracle, but to perform the mundane. He invites them to touch Him, to see His hands and feet. He takes a bite of fish—at face value, an act not of divine power as much as simple human digestion. He then goes on to bless them and remind them of the meaning of the Scriptures, of what’s true. There is no rush. No hurry. In other words, Jesus acts in resurrection exactly as He had in life. Nothing has changed, and yet absolutely everything has.
Jesus is alive! He really is. And for that reason, I can trust that the rest of my life here on earth is but a shadow of what is to come. Jesus did not hustle. He did not worry. He did not feel threatened by doubt. He simply held up His hands and said, “Here… touch.” He walked alongside His friends, and He walks with you and me, too—even if we do not recognize Him at first.
“The Lord has truly been raised” (Luke 24:34), and we are not the same. So go babble excitedly like the women that first Easter morning. Run to the empty tomb like Peter. Walk at a leisurely pace with your God. Invite Him to teach you through His Word. Break bread. Take a bite of fish. Everything is different now, even the seemingly mundane.