Reading: Luke 24:13-35 (NRSV)
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiahshould suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
ELCA Book of Faith Devotional Questions:
1. What scares, confuses, or challenges me in this text? What do I have questions about? In this text, I am challenged that the eyes of the disciples were kept from recognizing Jesus. This is not unique among Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances; there is something about Jesus that is different, changed, unrecognizable. Perhaps it is that they never expected to see him again. Indeed, in this text, they even have all the information that they need, they even say that the women saw that the tomb was empty, and they do not yet believe. I think that sometimes our eyes are shut, as well. We cannot see, or believe, without the help of others who come alongside us. Who are your companions on your faith journey?
2. What delights or comforts me in this text? What is my favorite part, and why? I really delight in who Jesus is for the disciples in this text. First, he comes alongside them. Then, he asks questions, “What are you discussing?” and “What things?” and really listens to their answers. Next, he opens their minds to understand the scriptures. He explains to them God’s entire plan of salvation, right down to the moment in which they find themselves, running away from Jerusalem on the Emmaus Road. Finally, he is revealed at the table, in fellowship, in the breaking of the bread. Where do you find delight in this text? What about the risen Jesus is comforting to you?
3. What stories or memories does this text stir up in me? How does this story intersect with my life? As I have walked alongside the Tri-Saints over the past eight years, this story has become a model for pastoral ministry for me. When I arrived, I was a stranger to you. It was my job to ask questions, to hear your stories, to learn which roads of life you were walking along. I have continued to walk alongside you, and have striven to open your minds to the scriptures, to hear your faith stories, and to connect the work of God to your daily work. And we have gathered, in so many and various ways, to break bread together, to find mutual consolation, and to meet Jesus in the Word and the Sacraments. We have been companions on the road for a good long season. What stories would you tell about our past eight years? What memories will you hold onto? Let go of? Treasure?
4. What is God up to in this text? What is God calling me to do or to be because of this message? We have arrived at the point in our mutual ministry where it is time for me to travel on down the road. Through much prayer and discernment, I have discovered that I am being “called to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.” I pray that God will “give us faith to out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (ELW pg. 317)
In Christ, Pastor Breen