Cleopas and his friend left Jerusalem. For them it was a city filled with sorrow. Everywhere they went there were memories of Jesus. They had planned to celebrate Passover with Him, but now the empty cross stood in the shadows of their memories. The gruesome execution tool of the Roman government lined the roads leading out of town. Where could they go to escape the memories?
There was no corner of Jerusalem that they could escape the rumors and the graphic reminders of the execution of their Friend. Strangers stopped them and questioned them about Jesus, but in their grief they became disoriented and disengaged from all that was swirling around them. They didn’t want to talk about it, and the silo of pilgrims in Jerusalem began to choke them. So they escaped the place that held captive their horrified memories. There were several roads that led out of Jerusalem. Some were lined with execution crosses. They chose not to go toward Golgotha.
They had to get away from the rubble of their shattered dreams. They had to leave behind what might have been. They thought Jesus was their long awaited Messiah. He was suppose to be the One who would rid them of the cruel Roman rule. There was nothing left for them now in Jerusalem. They take the road west to Emmaus. It’s about seven miles from Jerusalem. Seven – a number of completeness and they wanted to completely forget the horror of the last few days.
We’ve all been there. We’ve dreamed and planned and hoped for certain futures only to see our best laid plans become a wasteland. Life is hard and hoped for futures die out. So we escape. We head west. Emmaus becomes the road we all take when the path of life leads to a dead end. Emmaus is the road we take to escape our heartache and the reality of broken dreams.
And Emmaus is the road where Jesus intersects our sorrow and brings joy.
“As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if He were going farther. But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24 28-32.
The road to Emmaus – It’s the road where Jesus breaks into our heartbreak.
The village of Emmaus – It’s the place where we strongly urge and invite Jesus to stay with us in our despair.
The table in Emmaus – It’s the place where Jesus breaks open the Bread of Life. He begins to replace brokenness with completeness, loss with abundance, and death with life. At this table Jesus brings revelation of who He is and the truth of His Ressurection to our heartbreak. Our hearts begin to burn again with the flames of everlasting life.