Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Dark Path

Today's Scripture reading was the story of the road to Emmaus.  If you're not familiar with the story, it takes place on the day of Christ's resurrection.

"That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma′us, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him."

Two of Jesus' followers were leaving Jerusalem.  Hearts broken from seeing their Teacher crucified, they were returning home.  They were discussing it all, probably trying to sort it out.  What would they do, now that the one [they believed to be the Messiah] wad dead?  Yet, the women said He was alive.  What should they make of all this?  And then, He was there.  A man that seemed to be just another traveler.  

"And he said to them, 'What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?' And they stood still, looking sad.  Then one of them, named Cle′opas, answered him, 'Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?' And he said to them, 'What things?' And they said to him, 'Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.'”

Who could He be, this stranger, who had not even heard of Jesus?  How could this man live in this region, yet not know of these terrible happenings?  Ah, but He did know."And he said to them, 'O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ 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."

Now they were even more puzzled!  This man had such wisdom.  He taught as only One other had taught.  He knew the Scriptures.  Even more, He knew the Scriptures regarding the Messiah.  He made everything so clear.  They must hear more!

"So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, 'Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.' So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight." 

They recognized Him when He broke the bread.  The only One this could be?  The One they knew to be crucified, and others now claimed to be alive.  Yes, the women were right! But He had disappeared from their sight. Now, what?

"They said to each other, 'Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?'  And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, 'The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!'  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread."

The day was "far spent," and yet they returned to Jerusalem.  They walked in the dark, with burning hearts, because the message they had to share was worth it.  They could not wait until dawn.  They must make the journey.  Their news was received with joy and confirmation:  He has risen indeed!

Sometimes, we have to walk in the dark for awhile.  We have been with Jesus.  He has opened our hearts and our spiritual eyes to amazing things in the Scripture.  He has spent time imparting Himself to us.  We have a new awakening.  We must share it with others!  Yet...there is that walk in the dark.  Dare we venture out into the gathering mists of night?  Or should we wait a bit longer?  Perhaps wait for the morning light?  The darkness often shrouds the destination from our sight.

The walk in the dark is not pleasant, to be sure.  It is a time of eager anticipation of a return to light.  We have a message to share, you know.  This darkness is an obstacle that we would wish away if we could.  But it is necessary.

Are you walking in a dark time of life?  Does it seem God has put you on a path you do not desire?  Walk through the darkness, my friend.  Let God lead you by the hand to the place He chooses.

For at the end you will know, in an even deeper way:  He has risen indeed!  

*For "the rest of the story," read Luke 24, beginning with verse 36.  I think you'll agree:  the trip through the dark was worth it for them!

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