Return to Jerusalem

An encounter with the Living Messiah turns our hearts back to Jerusalem and compels us to seek out the fellowship of his disciples.

Supper at Emmaus, 17th century, oil on canvas. (By Matthias Stom, a Dutch golden age painter (fl. 1615–1649) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,

Cleopas and his fellow suddenly realized that the mysterious stranger who had accompanied them all the way from Jerusalem was their Master Yeshua, risen from the dead. Luke says, “He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:35). At that instant of realization, He vanished from their eyes.

They had no doubt; they had seen the Master, walked with Him, and even eaten with Him. They said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). He had reignited their hopes.

They agreed that such an amazing experience should be reported to the rest of the disciples immediately. Though the sun had nearly set already, the two disciples hurried back to Jerusalem, eagerly discussing all that had befallen them as they went.

They did not reach the city until well after dark. “It was evening on that day” (John 20:19). The second day of the week and the second day of the counting of the omer had commenced. The two disciples returned to the safe house where the eleven were staying and meeting. “The doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Judeans” (John 20:19). The authorities wanted to arrest the disciples on the false charges that they were insurrectionists who wanted to burn down the Temple.

A servant unlocked the door for Cleopas and his companion and relocked it behind them. They found the house crowded with disciples, reclining around a late meal. Lamps blazed, and a murmur of excitement filled the room. Before Cleopas and his traveling companion could share their story with the others, they were greeted with the excited report, “The Master has really risen and has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:34).

Simon Peter was present at the table to verify the story. The two from Emmaus added their own story: “They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:35). Some of the disciples voiced their skepticism. “They did not believe them either” (Mark 16:13), but even the skeptics conceded that something miraculous must be afoot.

The two from Emmaus were still describing their experience when the Master suddenly “appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table” (Mark 16:14). He stood in the midst of the triclinium table, saying, “Shalom Aleichem—Peace be to you.” All the disciples leaped to their feet. They cried out with shock and surprise, much as they had done on that stormy night when they saw Him walking on top of the waves:

When they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” (Mark 6:49-50)

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