Did you know that the first two people Jesus’ appeared to after His resurrection were never mentioned before or after? A small twenty-two verse section in Luke is all that’s recorded of their existence. One of them isn’t even named.
The road they are traveling on was so insignificant it was never even placed on a map. You could visit Israel and a tour guide would show you what might be the Emmaus road, but it would only be a best-guess.
Yet, Jesus makes the effort to show up there first. He doesn’t go to Peter or Mary Magdelene. He goes to the unnamed and insignificant, the ones who are walking away.
“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.” (Luke 24:13-17 NIV)
These two travelers were leaving Jerusalem. Their doubt and grief had clouded them so much that even when a group of women claimed visited by an angel and told Jesus was alive, they still did not believe (Luke 24:11) and they walked away, down a seven-mile road, towards Emmaus.
We all walk away for different reasons – doubt, anger, shame, rebellion. Our emotions trump all. Our patience lacks. So we let go of our hope and faith and leave it all behind. We think we are insignificant and unnoticed by God, but it is the exact opposite.
The travelers walked away, away from the place where the Son of God supposedly was alive, but Jesus came to them anyways. They don’t recognize who Jesus is, but He journeys with them, never abandoning them. Jesus broke the gap between Himself and the two travelers, and He continually breaks the gap to reach us as well.
His love is a love that breaks.
“As they approached the village to which they were going…they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight…They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them…[and they] told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.” (Luke 24:28-35 NIV)
In order for the travelers to recognize Jesus, in order for them to return back from where they came, something had to break. It was when the bread was broken that their eyes could see. It was when the bread was broken that they realized He had been with them all along. It was when the bread was broken that their hopelessness was traded for a faith renewed.
Like the bread, Jesus broke His body on the cross for us. He broke so that we could break – from shame, from death, from self. No longer are we insignificant or unnoticed. No longer are we shackled, enslaved to our sin, but rather renewed, restored, and freed.
His love is a love that breaks. Happy Easter!
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19 NIV)