Two of Jesus’ followers are on their way back home to Emmaus, incredibly dismayed about the last few days in Jerusalem. In a perfect storm of events, Jesus was killed, taken to the tomb, and now his body seems to be missing, a conversation no one really wants to have but must. Incidentally, the two bump into a Stranger who begins discussing with them everything Moses and the Prophets said about the coming Messiah and this brings the two a certain peace inside. It’s only when the two were breaking bread with this Stranger that they suddenly realized Jesus was alive and well and sharing a victory meal with them.
A short retelling from Luke 24:13-35.
How does this help me love God better? Jesus, the God of the universe, the one victorious over death, reveals himself to us in the most intimate way possible, by sharing a meal with us. Why God would ever allow us to be in his presence knowing what we’ve caused for him is beyond understanding. But he want’s that and that causes me to love him back.
How does this help me love others better? Serving someone a meal is different than sharing a meal with them. Sharing a meal with the stranger is an image of what God does with us, sharing a meal with a world that can’t possibly know him unless God comes to them. Loving like Jesus loves means a willingness to not only serve a meal but to also share in a meal. It’s a deeper level of care.
Setting Two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, back to their home for the night, reflecting on everything that had happened with Jesus in recent days. A stranger along the road discusses everything with them, and they invite the stranger to spend the night with them in an act of hospitality. The stranger, Jesus, reluctantly agrees, has a meal with them, reveals who he is through the meal, and then disappears. Even though traveling at night wasn’t a good idea, these two followers head back to Jerusalem, 7 miles away, to tell the Eleven what they’ve just seen. The setting is very fluid in this story.
Characters 2 of Jesus’ followers–one of them Cleopas (some believe this was the brother of Joseph making him the uncle of Jesus), the Stranger (Jesus), women who amazed them with the story of the empty tomb, companions who went and checked themselves, the Eleven
Conflict 2 of Jesus followers are walking home, sad about everything that has happened, bordering on the edge of unbelief. They’re were desperately looking forward to the Messiah who would redeem Israel.
Resolution They encounter a Stranger (Jesus) who explains to them what Moses and the Prophets had to say about the Messiah. The Stranger agrees to a meal with them and when he began to break bread and give it to them, Jesus is suddenly revealed
Application How often do we miss Jesus around us? There’s just something about Jesus revealing himself through meals (with sinners, tax collectors, last supper, now the Emmaus Meal). Can we really be with Jesus unless we break bread with Strangers?