Sunday, November 15, 2009
"We have seen Him! Miriam, it was wonderful. Cleopas and I were walking the road to Emmaus. We just needed some time together to deal with the events of the last few days in Jerusalem. Some small business there provided the opportunity for a quiet journey.
We felt intense heaviness and disappointment. We had heard the Nazarene in the Temple. On the Mount of Olives. Wonderful, frightening words of a coming upheaval followed by a Golden Age. Admonitions to remain vigilant, clean, helpful. Just like the man himself. Surely you had heard, Miriam, of his many deeds of mercy. How he would lighten up a crowd. The many healings. That fellow Lazarus over in Bethany. And such Messiah talk!
But this was the third day. Some women had reported that his body was missing from the tomb. No one knew where he was or who had taken him. Our spirits were heavy. It was hard to let go of the dream. Liberation for our people.
Suddenly we were joined by a pleasant looking man who asked if he might walk with us. He seemed a good listener. For a while he just let us initiate the conversation. Things turned to our disappointment with recent events. The humiliating capture, torture and death of the rabbi Jesus.
That really sparked a note of interest in him. He even rebuked us for our attitude! We then got a lesson from the scriptures on how Messiah would suffer immensely before entering into his glory. Quite impressive.
Soon we were at the village and it seemed right to us to invite this man for dinner and rest for the night at our lodging.
Then something amazing happened at the meal. It was as if he took over the position of host. He took the serving of bread. Offered up a simple but moving prayer. Broke the bread. We took a closer look at those hands. Scar marks. Punctures. A closer look at his face, his eyes. Captivating. Alive! It was Jesus!
As I tried to say something, he disappeared. Gone! Vanished!
Miriam, we have seen great things. Our joy compelled us to take to the road immediately, nightfall notwithstanding. Return to Jerusalem. Seek out his disciples with this good news. He is risen. He is risen indeed."
Note: I have long been fascinated with a famous painting by Robert Zund showing an elevated bird's eye, or God's eye, view of those three men walking the road. Here was the infant Church. Two gathered with Jesus in their midst. The courteous humanity of the visitor. His companionship in travel. His willingness to receive their ministrations. To share the intimacy of a meal and the common blessing of bread. The ever presence of those wounded hands. The arriving of the supernatural so "naturally". The corroboration of all of scripture to his finished work. The warm hearts confirming the awesome yet available comfort and input of deity
The picture which I have shown above has been cropped to give better detail to the three men. The original has a much higher and all-encompassing point of view. As God perhaps would have seen it. I can hear Him saying, "That's right Son. Tell them. Initiate your Church. Just as we saw it from before the foundation of the world."