Cleopas and friend, perhaps husband as they lived together, are walking away from Jerusalem on Easter evening and headed to their home in a town seven miles distant. They were discussing the events of the day. We don’t know if they saw the crucifixion or if they just were caught up in all the stories flying around Jerusalem. The soldiers were saying the body was stolen but the soldiers had not been executed for negligence at their job. And…how could trained soldiers be overwhelmed by fishermen disciples. Perhaps the crowd that cried, “Crucify him!” had changed their mind and stolen the body? Others were saying they had seen Jesus. Mary Magdalene claimed she met him at the tomb but she was a woman and probably confused with grief. Some said that when the earthquake occurred, graves opened and the dead were seen walking in the city. So many stories were circulating in the city and what could it all mean? A third person joined them as they walked to Emmaus and they all started comparing notes.
I wonder if it was not unlike the discussions after the mob overran the US capitol in January. It was so far from what everyone expected that news commentators talked for days about what happened, who might have been involved, who was responsible, who got hurt, and what would happen now. We can imagine the “stay tuned” heart-beat of Cleopas and friend. The surprising element is that the third person who joined them seemed very knowledgeable about Jewish writings and could explain how it all tied together.
How many times does Jesus walk beside us and we just don’t recognize him. Perhaps our eyes are prevented from recognizing him too but he is there in the heart of a friend who listens to our tale. He is there when just the right song comes on the radio and speaks to us. He is there when the phone rings and we receive an unexpected phone call. He is there when we go to the mailbox and find a surprise check. He may even be there in a sunrise, sunset, bird’s song, or child’s hug. So many times Jesus walks with us and we just don’t realize. Jesus cared about these two people who were not part of the “in crowd” and he cared about their confusion. He walked with them and spoke into their dynamic. He walks with you today too. Lord help us to listen and recognize your voice.