Incognito Jesus

The 2 disciples on the Emmaus Road is a fascinating story in the gospel of Luke. It is the 3rd appearance of the risen Christ, following his appearance to Mary Magdalene (who first thought he was the gardener), and his second appearance that included the other women. Peter and John had seen the empty tomb but not the risen Christ.

The road to Emmaus is the 3rd appearance of the risen Christ. It occurs in the afternoon or early evening, just a few hours from the first two appearances. Cleophas and a friend, are walking to the city of Emmaus when they are joined by a stranger, for they did not recognize Jesus, who asked them what was wrong and why they seemed so sad.

They were surprised at the stranger’s seemingly lack of knowledge of the recent events in Jerusalem where a powerful young prophet had been maliciously condemned and crucified. They were heartbroken as so many hopes had been dashed, and a great deal of the Jewish population had suffered the trauma.

But then Jesus, still incognito, with great detail, taught them from Moses through the prophets how this was to be. Here’s a quick snapshot of what Jesus may have covered, in part:

4 O.T. scriptures about Jesus’ suffering:

  • “… then they will look on Me whom they pierced.” – Zechariah 12:10
  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” -Psalm 22:1
  • “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.'” -Psalm 22:7-8
  • “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; … the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53:4-5

So here in our story Jesus shares with them the word, and then at the table here shares the sacrament, the wine and the bread. The last time he had done this was at the last supper. Here Jesus shares the word, and then the sacrament. And if you notice, both parts of the journey to Emmaus are clearly seen our services when we preach the word and celebrate communion. Though they did not first recognize him, these 2 disciples had just encountered the risen Christ, they were some of the first to see him…

In the garden man’s disobedience came in the form of a meal of fruit eaten from a forbidden tree, but here the FIRST MEAL of NEW CREATION is a sign of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ’s body and blood as he breaks the bread and blesses the wine. Afterwards–They asked each other, “Didn’t our hearts kindle within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

The two disciples returned that evening to Jerusalem, and they continue to relate what they had experienced.

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