Sightings, Part 4

I don’t know about you, but once I get home from a long day of work it is very difficult to get motivated to go out the door again. If my main mode of transportation was traversing by foot, that unwillingness would be increased exponentially. And that’s where we find Cleophas and Mary. They have just finished a seven mile hike from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They have met up with up a stranger. The stranger turns out to be quite the chatty Bible scholar. They invite him in for dinner. The stranger grabs a tasty loaf of bread and breaks it apart. As he is passing it around the table a defining moment of revelation takes place – the stranger is Jesus. The moment Jesus sees that the light has flickered on within his hosts, he disappears – he vanishes. Poof! Now, that would qualify as an event that could motivate a person to head back out the door!

And that’s exactly what we find. With no regard to their fatigue Mary and Cleophas fly out the door: They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. ~Luke 24:33 Nothing is given of the conversation that was taking place in the seven mile trudge, but we can guess that it involved the words, “Hurry up!” And so they arrived: There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. ~Luke 24:33-35

This small band of followers can be forgiven their astonishment. Their emotions had ranged from grief, despair and disillusionment to unanticipated joy. Joy that is unanticipated is the best but it can also makes us guarded. We have a natural suspicion of good news. We are like Benjamin Franklin who once said that he preferred to be a pessimist because it rarely left him disappointed! Low expectations are easy to meet. Gloom is a safe bet. But THIS news – that Jesus was alive and poofing in and out and all about Jerusalem was beyond the reach of their fondest hopes and dreams. And then: While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” ~Luke 24:36 Poof…