89. Jesus on the road to Emmaus
Jesus on the road to Emmaus…AFTER that, Jesus appeared in another form unto two of them, that same day, as they walked to Emmaus, a village which was from Jerusalem about three-score furlongs.
While they talked together of all these things which had happened, Jesus himself drew near. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them,
What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
One of them (Cleopas) answering said, Art thou a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? Jesus said,
They answered, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth: and how our rulers have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.
Jesus said unto them,
O fools , and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
And beginning at Moses, he expounded the things in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
¶They drew nigh unto the village whither they went: and Jesus made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening. And he went in to tarry with them.
As he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
The same hour, they returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. They (the two) told what things were done in the way, and how Jesus was known of them in breaking of bread.
¶As they spake, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith,
Peace be unto you.
But they supposed they had seen a spirit, and were affrighted. And he said,
Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
While they wondered, he said,
Have ye here any meat?
They gave him of a fish, and of a honeycomb; and he did eat before them. Then said he to them again,
Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you.
Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.
¶But Thomas was not with them. When the other disciples said unto him, We have seen the Lord, he said, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
After eight days, again the disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, as they sat at meat, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said,
Peace be unto you.
Then saith he to Thomas,
Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
Thomas answered, My Lord and my God. Jesus said unto him,
Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Gospel reading: Mark 16:1-13
Meditation 1 of 1:
On Sunday morning the women went to the tomb to pay their last tribute to a dead body. The disciples thought that everything had finished in tragedy. Neither were ready to see an empty tomb and hear the angel’s message, Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5)? Is it any small wonder that it was the women, rather than the apostles, who first witnessed the empty tomb and the resurrected Lord? Isidore of Seville, a 7th century church father comments on this: “As a woman (Eve) was first to taste death, so a woman (Mary Magdalene) was first to taste life. As a woman was prescient in the fall, so a woman was prescient in beholding the dawning of redemption, thus reversing the curse upon Eve.” The first to testify to the risen Lord was a woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons.
What is the significance of the stone being rolled away? It would have taken several people to roll away such a stone. And besides, the sealed tomb had been guarded by soldiers! This is clearly the first sign of the resurrection. Bede, a church father from the 8th century, comments: “[The angel] rolled back the stone not to throw open a way for our Lord to come forth, but to provide evidence to people that he had already come forth. As the virgin’s womb was closed, so the sepulcher was closed, yet he entered the world through her closed womb, and so he left the world through the closed sepulcher.” (From Homilies on the Gospels 2,7,24) Another church father remarked: “To behold the resurrection, the stone must first be rolled away from our hearts” (Peter Chrysologus, 5th century). Do you know the joy of the resurrection?
It is significant that the disciples had to first deal with the empty tomb before they could come to grips with the fact that scripture had foretold that Jesus would die for our sins and then rise triumphant. They disbelieved until they saw the empty tomb. Bede explains why the Risen Lord revealed himself gradually to the disciples: “Our Lord and redeemer revealed the glory of his resurrection to his disciples gradually and over a period of time, undoubtedly because so great was the virtue of the miracle that the weak hearts of mortals could not grasp [the significance of] this all at once. Thus, he had regard for the frailty of those seeking him. To those who came first to the tomb, both the women who were aflame with love for him and the men, he showed the stone rolled back. Since his body had been carried away, he showed them the linen cloths in which it had been wrapped lying there alone. Then, to the women who were searching eagerly, who were confused in their minds about what they had found out about him, he showed a vision of angels who disclosed evidences of the fact that he had risen again. Thus, with the report of his resurrection already accomplished, going ahead of him, the Lord of hosts and the king of glory himself at length appeared and made clear with what great might he had overcome the death he had temporarily tasted.” (From Homilies on the Gospels 2,9,25)
One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Lord and to know him personally. Do you celebrate the feast of Easter with joy and thanksgiving for the victory which Jesus has won for you over sin and death?
“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won new life for us. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love and power.”