Two of Jesus’ followers are walking along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  One of them is named Cleopas, some think his companion was his wife?  We know nothing about them except that they were close followers of the Lord, so well known to the disciples that they gained immediate unimpeded access to the upper room.  When they hurried back to Jerusalem to tell their story to the other disciples.

As they walked along utterly dejected, in grief, their lives turned upside down, their futures dead and buried with Jesus, a stranger appears beside them.  This theme of a lack of initial recognition is repeated time and time again.  To even those who knew him best, the risen lord appears as the one who is unknown, as the stranger. 

The risen Lord comes to us, as one unknown to make a change in us that allows us to see things as they really are and indeed as they have been since God created us at the beginning.  Jesus was born into the world to give us the light that reveals what is really there, in contrast to what people have thought they knew.  Jesus has come to show us his Father.  Christ is the key to the Old Testament.  Jesus resurrection appearances are an out pouring of truth.  That truth allows us to interpret everything through the cross.  Paul made this very clear when he wrote “I resolved to know nothing but Christ and especially his death on the cross.”  Luther echoed this with his slogan, “the cross is our only theology.”

Only by re-reading the Old-Testament through the lens of the resurrection can we see where Jesus’ father is and is not.  As with the Emmaus disciples Jesus opens the scriptures for us and causes our hearts to burn with passion.  He gives meaning to what we already know as factoids.

I have always lived out my life within the church but I did not always understand.  My experience is common and is reflected in the gospel stories about Jesus first followers.  Knowledge of Christ is frequently achieved in two phases.  There is a first phase that results in a process from curiosity and sympathy to faith.  The disciple who does not move onto conversion often feels like they have made a mistake and they distance themselves.  If this withdrawal or retreat is not stopped there will be chronic feeling of emptiness.  Yet there is nothing more powerful than a despairing person who is put in contact with the way the truth and the life.  Truth and knowledge are transfiguring.  You can’t do this yourself, Christ must come to you from the outside and overpower what you think you know with what is.

As with the Emmaus disciples, suddenly Christ is walking with us and explaining the scriptures to us.  Jesus explained to the Emmaus disciples what had just happened in Jerusalem and he does it using the whole Old Testament, the prophets and starting with Moses.  He makes available to them a new and unheard interpretation of the scriptures, so that they could find new meaning in their lives and be empowered by what they could now see. 

When we recognize Jesus and interpret the scriptures through his eyes we restructure our own thinking and we begin to reconstruct our world according to God’s original intent.  And it all starts with Jesus letting us see where he is and where he is not.  “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah  should suffer these things and enter into his glory?  And beginning with Moses and all the prophets he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” Luke 24:25-27.

We must read our bible through Jesus’ eyes.  We must interpret every experience through Jesus eyes.  The gift of knowing the risen Christ gives us the key to unlocking God’s creation.  The Son is exactly like the Father.  “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” The Father and son are exactly alike.  Everything we know must be understood in terms of our first knowing Jesus.  And the moment of recognition occurred when Jesus became the host in the disciple’s home.  He blessed the bread, broke it and gave it away, both as a sign of what Jesus did with his own life and of what he calls on us to do with our lives.  At the very moment that the disciples recognized the risen Lord he disappeared.  In no way shape or form can our Lord be contained or restricted or made a servant of our wants and needs.  As in our Lord’s Supper he appears in with and under the elements and the moment that the encounter is over he disappears leaving us filled with the power of his risen life but then no longer in the elements.

In the Lord’s Supper the presence of the crucified and risen Lord overpowers our preconceived notions of God and makes apparent the Word of Truth.  Those see the risen Christ see the forgiveness offered by him as the source of endless life.  It lets us risk entering the brokenness of this world and giving away our lives because we know and trust that in Christ we will receive life back through the endless source of life that is Jesus’ Father.

In meeting Jesus along our own Emmaus Roads we have the entire way in which we see and understand our lives changed, reversed and resurrected.  We have hope.  All because we now read the bible through Jesus’ eyes and we can see through the veil of despair by the light of our risen lord.

1.     What is the difference between the Word and the Text?

2.     Why is it useful to see both the tradition of the Old Testament and our experience through the eyes of Jesus?

3.     Why do you think that Jesus disappeared the moment that the two disciples recognized him?