When I get to heaven, I am hunting down Cleopas. I have some questions for him. He was one of the two disciples who met Jesus right after the resurrection. I’ve envisioned myself in his shoes many times over the encounter he had with Christ as he and a friend were walking on the road to the town of Emmaus. Remember the story?
Jesus had just risen from the grave but had not yet ascended to His Father. He still had Kingdom work to do before His final deploy from this planet. Imagine the surprise when Jesus met these two travelers on the road and Cleopas, not recognizing Him, looked at Jesus with drooped brows and reprimanded, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who’s unaware of the things that have just happened around here?” (As if to say, “You big dummy!”) After all, Jesus’ execution was about the only thing people were talking about in Jerusalem. Gossip was at a fevered pitch. Then Jesus?“the big dummy”?answered Cleopas and began to share Scriptures that had predicted these happenings.
As the sun began to set over the northern sky, they approached the village of Emmaus. Intrigued, Cleopas wasn’t ready to send Jesus on His way so he invited Him to dinner. Then Cleopas, being polite to this mysterious stranger, asked Him to break the bread and bless it. I wonder what that looked like. Can you imagine Jesus sitting at YOUR table getting ready to break the bread? Do you think Cleopas nonchalantly yawned after a hard day’s walk? Do you think all he could think about were the lentils, peas, and beans? Then the miraculous happened.
Luke 24:31 (one of the most stunning verses in Scripture) records that as Jesus was giving them the bread, their eyes were opened. They recognized Him. They gasped, and then… Jesus VANISHED from their sight! DISAPPEARED! BOOM! What were they thinking the very next moment? Maybe I should ask Cleopas one day, “What was it like when you suddenly realized that this man, the ‘big ol’ dummy,’ was the Christ? Did you feel shame? Did you yearn to see Jesus, your beloved friend, one more time and fall at His feet?”
Yet, I can’t help but wonder. Why do you suppose these two travelers were kept from recognizing Christ in the first place? You might have your own thoughts, but I think that their outward ability to recognize Jesus mirrored their inward unbelief of what the Scriptures had already told them about Christ, His resurrection and reappearing. After all, why would Jesus open their physical eyes to experience His presence if their inward eyes did not believe the truth that had already been given to them?
Friend, never before have we needed more to feel Christ’s presence than now in this pandemic. Never before have we been more desperate to know that He is with us, beside us, for us. Never before have we needed more the reassurance that He goes before us in whatever lies ahead. Like Cleopas, He has given us great and precious promises:
I am with you always, Matthew 28:20.
I am in control always, Luke 12:22-16.
I am good always, 1 Chronicles 16:34.
I can be trusted always, Matthew 6:25.
What would happen to our physical eyes if we learned a lesson from Cleopas? Friend, Jesus IS here. Jesus IS near, and He wants to open our eyes to see Him, relax in Him, and trust in Him for the rest of the journey.
I’m ready for the remainder of the walk, are you?
About Pam Kanaly
Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I’d have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.