What Things?


It’s the third day since Jesus died by crucifixion, on a cross, like a murdering thief. Buried in a borrowed tomb.

It’s the third day. But we are not in Jerusalem gathered in the Garden of Gethsemane. We do not find the disciples gathered in the upper room for a Sunrise surprise party— We do not see banners—plastered with gigantic red letters that read—"Welcome back Jesus" stretching across main street in Jerusalem.

It’s the third day…and we find ourselves, with two of Jesus’ disciples on their way out of town…leaving Jerusalem… on the road to Emmaus. It is about 5:00 in the evening as they walk—huddled close together. They talk frantically between themselves in excited, hushed tones about all that has happened in the last few days:

"Did you see? Did you see the way Peter denied ever knowing him?"

"Did you see the way the Master looked at him…that look of knowing….that look of forgiveness…that look of grief…I’ve never seen a look like it. And probably never will again."

"Did you see how they beat him with the whip until his back was nothing more than bloodied, dangling strips of meat?"

"Did you see tears welling up in the eyes of the centurion whose servant Jesus healed?"

"Can you believe how the crowd shouted for Barabbas’ release?"

"Can you believe how they turned on Jesus?"

"Can you believe some of the same faces I know I saw among the 5,000…the same faces shoving fish and bread in their mouths till they had their fill when Jesus was teaching on the hillside—cursing and spitting on him as he struggled up that hill…"

"Did you wince, like I did, every time the hammer struck the nails…piercing through his wrists and the soft tops of his feet….again…and again….and again.

"Did you hear his words," My God , My God, why have you forsaken me?

Maybe it’s true…Maybe he wasn’t the Chosen One… After all, it’s the third day…" The two men are on their way back home. They’ve had enough of this city and the crowds and all that transpired over the last few days. Only last week they were among the crowds’ waving branches and shouting, “Blessed is He who come in the name of the Lord!”

Instead of celebrating they are walking with shoulders slumped, heads down and their hearts broken. Two friends of Jesus heading home. We’re only given one of their names, Cleopas. As we consider that first Easter, I challenge you to take our unnamed disciple’s place as we travel this Emmaus Road. Both of you have had a terrible week. Your friend, your ‘savior’ died on a cross instead of breaking the hold of Rome upon the people of Israel. It’s a sad day, it’s a sad walk! As you and your friend are walking along a stranger joins you on the road. A stranger that seems to be clueless to the transpiring of the week before. The stranger hears them talking and asks, “What are you talking about?" At this they stopped dead in their tracks. Their eyes staring at the ground. “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" Luke 24:18-19. "What rock did you crawl out from under?" Did you just arrive? The whole city is talking about all the things that have happened in the last few days.

Jesus asks simply, "what things?" And this begins their dialogue as they travel down the road. Neither recognizes who it is- the scripture says that God kept them from recognizing Jesus- they certainly weren’t expecting to see Him as they walked home. They believed He was dead and gone- we need to remember there wasn’t any halo over his head, there wasn’t a glow about him- he again appeared as any ordinary man walking down the road.

They had resigned themselves to believe Jesus was just a Prophet…a Prophet gently tucked away into a rich man’s grave. There are many long-faced…despairing…deeply sad people walking around today because they can’t see Jesus walking right there beside them! The truth is: if you don’t recognize him as a living Lord —you won’t recognize Him at all.

Many sad, despairing people now, make the same mistake as those two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They see Jesus as an ancient prophet tucked away into a tomb a long time ago…as an ethics professor…a good teacher from 2000 years ago with a lot of well-meaning ideas and good intentions that just don’t work out in the real world. A good role model… A good man…Just a prophet of old…So they miss the company of the living Lord that longs to have a relationship with them as He walks alongside them each and every day. He is available to any that would call upon His name. In verse 21 it says, they "had hoped" He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. They had hoped He was the Messiah. They had hoped He was going to change their world. And most disturbing of all; "It’s the third day!"

They didn’t recognize the truth, staring them in the face. They had heard the gospel message! They had heard the good news; Jesus is alive! But they weren’t sure.

Walking right alongside them in their disbelief, their disappointment, their doubts; Jesus was there! He was just waiting to be recognized! Just waiting for them to see Him, to recognize Him. Jesus is still here and He is listening with patience to every word waiting for eyes to open wide with realization. You see they knew Jesus the man. The knew Jesus and his words. But they had never known him yet as the risen savior—the resurrected Lord.

Jesus is asked to give the blessing and then he breaks the bread!!! That one action opened their eyes to the reality of who He was! Their eyes were opened! They saw JESUS!

What will it take for your eyes to be opened? Jesus is right here today. This is HIS day!!! He is here. Celebrate His resurrection! His tomb is empty! See Jesus’ heart for you. When you see Him- you make a choice- to follow or to ignore. The choice is yours….